Horse Breeding

Horse-Breeding Chemistry

October 24, 2014

Sometimes, synthetic progestins that are used on mares are also used on unruly stallions to calm their demeanor. Does this affect their performance in the breeding shed?

Horse owners and trainers should use caution and discretion when contemplating the use of altrenogest in young performance stallions destined for a future reproduction career. Journal photo

Horse owners and trainers should use caution and discretion when contemplating the use of altrenogest in young performance stallions destined for a future reproduction career. Journal photo

By Dr. Patrick McCue in The American Quarter Horse Journal

Regumate or altrenogest, a synthetic progestin approved for suppression of estrus in mares, is also used to help maintain pregnancy in mares determined to be at high risk.

Regumate is occasionally administered off-label to stallions to suppress undesirable male behavioral characteristics that interfere with the horse’s training or athletic performance. In horses, products can be used off label if there is a valid veterinary-client-patient relationship and there is no licensed product on the market that treats the condition you’re trying to treat. Any liability for the product’s safety and efficacy lies with the prescribing veterinarian.

So does Regumate have adverse effects on reproductive performance in stallions? Progestins are known to inhibit pituitary luteinizing hormone secretion. In the male, LH stimulates Leydig cells of the testes to produce testosterone for spermatogenesis and libido. Read the rest of this entry »

Horse-Breeding History: Wilywood

October 17, 2014

This descendant of Driftwood sired classy and talented ranch and rodeo horses with great dispositions.

Robert Eliason, 17, ropes a calf on Wilywood without a bridle. Photo courtesy of Tom Eliason

Robert Eliason, 17, ropes a calf on Wilywood without a bridle. Photo courtesy of Tom Eliason

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

“Wilywood promoted himself,” Tom Eliason said with a smile. “Joann and I had eight children, and feeding the kids was always ahead of showing a horse. But the things Wilywood did for our family are beyond any numbers or statistics. Nobody can ever tell me he was just another horse.”

Tom would know. He was training horses professionally before he finished high school, and has bred Quarter Horses for four decades. He trained and rode Mr Flintrock, the 1977 AQHA world champion heeling horse, and debuted Two Eyed Jack in reining (they won). Read the rest of this entry »

Horse-Breeding Compatibility

October 10, 2014

Some pairings just don’t work, and that seemingly perfect mare-stallion combination fails to result in pregnancy.

unhappy mare

Sometimes a typically easily bred mare and a usually very fertile stallion just don’t have the right genetic mixture. Journal photo

By Dr. Patrick McCue in The American Quarter Horse Journal

The 12-year-old mare had already successfully carried four foals to term. She was known as an easy breeder because she always settled on either the first or second cycle. The mare had conceived in previous years after having been bred with either frozen semen or cooled semen.

This year, the owner wanted to breed her to a local stallion of known good fertility and get her pregnant early in the season. Nice and simple. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen that way.

The previous fall, we suggested the mare be put under lights. Beginning about December 1, we had recommended that the mare be housed at night in a stall and allowed daily outdoor turnout. Read the rest of this entry »

A Horse-Breeding Problem

October 3, 2014

Some mares have trouble getting in foal and staying in foal. Dr. Patrick McCue sheds light on the situation with some options to help your problem mares.

mare without foal

Problem mares need to be managed as individuals. If your mare has trouble getting in foal and staying in foal, she might be a problem mare that needs to be evaluated by a veterinarian. Journal photo

By Dr. Patrick McCue in The American Quarter Horse Journal

Everyone involved in the equine breeding industry would prefer to have every mare become pregnant and stay pregnant, but that isn’t realistic. It has been estimated that end-of-season pregnancy rates on well-managed farms should approach and may exceed 90 percent. The rate of pregnancy loss is usually 5-10 percent.

The most accurate measurement of fertility in mares is pregnancy rate per cycle. General factors that may decrease pregnancy rate per cycle include abnormalities of the reproductive tract, age-related reproductive changes, obstetrical injuries, poor quality semen and poor management. Overall, pregnancy rate per cycle typically averages 50 percent. Read the rest of this entry »

A Horse-Breeding Matriarch

September 26, 2014

Pretty, versatile and talented, Chubby Time could’ve been a poster girl for the American Quarter Horse breed.

Scotch Bar Time

Chubby Time is credited for the versatile, good-minded offspring of her Hall of Fame colt, Scotch Bar Time, pictured here. AQHA file photo.

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

Even if she didn’t have one of the best names ever, Chubby Time (by Spot Time and out of Hat Eight Two by Chubby’s Red Bud) would be remembered for her versatility, accomplishment and good nature, in other words, for what makes the American Quarter Horse so beloved today.

A 1964 model, she earned her performance Register of Merit at the age of 6 and her AQHA Champion title at the age of 20. In between, Chubby Time earned points in open halter, western pleasure, western riding and tie-down roping, and gently provided an AQHA director with his first show pen experience. She also produced four offspring, including Scotch Bar Time, an inductee in both the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame and the National Snaffle Bit Association Hall of Fame. Read the rest of this entry »

Horse-Breeding History: Kaweah Bar

September 22, 2014

The “Palomino Express” was ornery, but he could run.

kaweah bar race

Kaweah Bar, lovingly known as the “Palomino Express,” was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 1998. Photo by Milt Martinez.

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

Kaweah Bar won his first start, at Bay Meadows in 1968, by 3 1/2 lengths. That was just a sign of things to come from the “Palomino Express,” the darling of the $2 bettors.

The 1966 gelding didn’t look like your typical racehorse. He wasn’t the lean, trim type, but he also wasn’t the blocky, bulldog cow horse. Kaweah Bar was somewhere in between, but he could run.

Kaweah Bar won 21 stakes races, 12 of which are now graded events, and 38 races overall in his nine-year career. He’s the only horse to repeat as world champion without doing it back to back. All told, he won 12 racing championships and earned $386,516 in his career. Read the rest of this entry »

Anticipating Coat Color

September 12, 2014

Learn how to make an educated guess on what color your foal will be.

gray mare graying foal

AQHA Equine Color Specialist Lisa Covey explains that to make an educated guess on a foal’s color, you must know the base color of his or her parents. Journal photo.

From America’s Horse

After breeding a mare, it will take 11 long months for her foal – your highly anticipated foal – to be born. While your mare is out grazing the fields, you’re left with a lot of time to dream: what top conformational and temperament qualities the foal will receive from its sire and its dam, what sex, and what color and markings it might end up having.

We can’t help you forecast for blue or pink balloons, but we can help remove some of the mystery of color.

AQHA Equine Color Specialist Lisa Covey works with AQHA members every day to help them get their horses registered correctly. Read the rest of this entry »

Caslick 101

September 5, 2014

This tiny surgery can be a big fix for some broodmares.

broodmare

In a Caslick surgery, the vulva is numbed with lidocaine, and a thin rim of flesh is trimmed from the edges of the top two-thirds of the vulvar lips to prevent contamination and infection. Journal photo.

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

One of the most successful veterinary procedures in the field of assisted equine reproduction is one of the oldest – the Caslick surgery.

In the 1930s, American veterinarian Dr. E.A. Caslick first performed his simple surgical procedure to correct “pneumovagina,” or vaginal wind-sucking, in broodmares. He had observed that certain mares had an abnormal reproductive conformation that allowed air into the reproductive tract through the vulva. In addition, those mares were notorious “poor breeders,” unable to either get in foal or maintain a pregnancy due to repeated uterine infections. Read the rest of this entry »

Horse-Breeding History: Royal King

August 29, 2014

Royal King, as his name suggests, had Quarter Horse royalty in his bloodlines. But he was a commoner at heart.

Royal King, by King P-234 and out of Rocket Laning, sired some great performance horses. AQHA file photo

Royal King, by King P-234 and out of Rocket Laning, sired some great performance horses. AQHA file photo

From America’s Horse

Earl Albin startled his wife one evening in 1944 when he announced he’d finally found what he’d been looking for.

“He’d been looking for something?” she wondered.

The Albins raised sheep and cattle – in addition to kids – on their 3,000 acres southwest of Fort Worth in Comanche, Texas. In a little more than a year, the Albin family had grown by twin daughters and a son. Now it appeared they were adopting a horse. Read the rest of this entry »

Home-Bred Halter Horses

August 22, 2014

Get some expert horse-breeding tips on how to raise your own halter futurity winner.

The breeding decision begins with evaluating your mare There are a lot of people who will keep breeding a mare when they really might need to sell her and get a better broodmare says breeder James Kifer Journal photo

The breeding decision begins with evaluating your mare. “There are a lot of people who will keep breeding a mare when they really might need to sell her and get a better broodmare,” says breeder James Kifer. Journal photo

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

So you’ve decided to raise a foal and aim it toward a halter futurity as a weanling or yearling. Now the fun begins – you’ve got to pick the parents.

You might have a mare already and need to find a stallion. Or maybe you want to lease a mare. Or maybe you’re looking for a mare in foal to the stallion of your choice. There are a lot of possibilities out there. Read the rest of this entry »

Foaling Fundamentals

August 15, 2014

Prepare for horse-breeding season with this top10 list of foaling tips and care.

Make sure you are prepared for your next foaling with these 10 fundamental tips. Journal photo

Make sure you are prepared for your next foaling with these 10 fundamental tips. Journal photo

By Patrick M. McCue in The American Quarter Horse Journal

Are your prepared for your next foaling? Here are a few tips for recognizing the big day and knowing what to do after your mare foals.

  1. Gestation length (length of pregnancy) of a horse is approximately 340-345 days. The length of pregnancy is about 7-10 days longer for mares foaling in the winter than mares foaling in late spring or summer. Mares maintained under lights during the last few months of pregnancy will have a shorter gestation length. Factor in season and light exposure when calculating expected foaling dates. Pregnant mares should be vaccinated one month prior to the due date to increase antibody levels in the colostrum. Vaccinations administered depend on geographical location, potential exposure and management practices. If the mare has had a Caslick procedure performed, the sutured vulva should be opened approximately two weeks prior to the expected foaling date, or earlier if needed. Read the rest of this entry »

Chemical Ejaculation in Horse Breeding

August 8, 2014

Learn what to do when standard semen collection techniques fail.

Chemical ejaculation is a technique that has been used to obtain semen from stallions when traditional semen collection methods either fail or are not applicable. Journal photo

Chemical ejaculation is a technique that has been used to obtain semen from stallions when traditional semen collection methods either fail or are not applicable. Journal photo

By Dr. Patrick McCue in The American Quarter Horse Journal

A 20-year-old American Quarter Horse stallion was brought into the clinic with a history of penile dysfunction secondary to an acute case of severe colic and profuse hemorrhagic diarrhea. The owner wanted to determine if the horse could still be used as a breeding stallion.

The stallion was presented to a mare in estrus, and he displayed excellent libido. However, it was immediately apparent that he had lost erectile function of his penis, as well as sensitivity to both the glans and shaft of the penis.

As a consequence, it was determined that semen could not be collected by traditional means using an artificial vagina. The owners elected to pursue chemical ejaculation as a means of obtaining semen from the horse. Read the rest of this entry »