Breeding Soundness Exams for Stallions

A stallion must be in good physical condition and not overweight at the start of the breeding season.
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With breeding season fast approaching, stallions should undergo breeding soundness exams before starting to breed mares, whether via artificial insemination or live cover.

Because overall health is critical to a stallion’s reproductive success, a stallion must be in good physical condition and not overweight at the start of the season. Stallions carrying too much extra weight might show decreased sperm quality. Like all horses, they need exercise to maintain mental sharpness and a healthy body condition.

"It’s not good for the stallion to be fat," said Ed Squires, PhD, Dipl. ACT (hon.), director of University of Kentucky (UK) Ag Equine Programs and executive director of the UK Gluck Equine Research Foundation. "The problem … is that fat in the scrotum insulates the testicles, which increases the temperature which, in turn, affects sperm production and quality."

Squires points out that in the Thoroughbred industry, stallions are rarely fat. They generally are turned out in a paddock, able to exercise freely, or they are in a sophisticated exercise program. But in the show horse industry, more stallions are overweight. Part of this is management: The non-Thoroughbred world doesn’t always have access to the same type of housing and turnout as the Thoroughbred world; they rely on alternatives such as hot walkers and hand walking

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