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Mare Care: Breeding Tips

July 3, 2012

Learn the steps for preparing your mare for breeding and get the facts on receiving shipped semen.

So, you’re ready to breed your mare. What steps do you need to take to breed her with shipped semen?

Learn the ropes from equine veterinarian Racquel Rodeheaver of Fort Collins, Colorado. In AQHA’s FREE Mare Care report, Dr. Rodeheaver explains the process of preparing your mare, targeting a breeding date, ordering semen, inducing a follicle to ovulate, receiving and evaluating semen and much more.

For instance, did you know that you should never leave a semen shipping container in the sun? Although shippers are designed to maintain a constant internal temperature through a variety of weather conditions, it’s best to keep it in a cool spot.

Did you know that you should NOT warm up the breeding dose? The semen should go straight from the shipper to the mare.

The Mare Care report is a perfect resource for beginning breeders wanting to breed their first mare.

“First things first,”┬áDr. Rodeheaver┬ásays. “You’ll need a breeding soundness evaluation on the mare to understand exactly what your expectations are going to be for her reproductive health. If you can find out previous breeding history, it’s helpful just to know if she’s ever had problems becoming pregnant or how she has performed reproductively. If a history isn’t available, then that’s all the more reason to do a breeding soundness evaluation.”

Dr. Rodeheaver offers advice for mare owners approaching their target breeding date:

“I look at breeding through a couple of different avenues,” she says. “When you’re dealing with fresh semen, the viability and longevity of the semen is longer. Therefore, your time of breeding and your time to ovulation can be a broader window. Usually, you want your time of ovulation to be within 48 horse of your time of breeding with fresh semen. With shipped, cooled semen you have to narrow that window. You want your breeding time to be within 24 hours prior to ovulation. With frozen semen, it’s even narrower. Because that window becomes narrower, and we’re having to time insemination so closely to ovulation, it requires more intensive management of the mare.

“A normal cycling mare has a three-week cycle: two weeks they’re out of heat, one week they’re in heat. When you see that mare come into heat, that’s when we want to be checking her via ultrasound. I monitor the developing follicle. I check the mare initially every other day, and then at least every day as we get nearer to the time of breeding.”

Get more helpful tips in AQHA’s FREE Mare Care report. Download it today, and share it with your friends!

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