Breeding The Problem Mare With AI

“In my opinion, a mare that fails to become pregnant by AI with good semen quality and does so by natural cover without human intervention is an example of poor or inadequate breeding management by the personnel performing the AI,” said Samper.
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Achieving pregnancy via artificial insemination (AI) of a problem mare can be a challenging endeavor, said Juan Samper, DVM, MSc, PhD, Dipl. ACT, of Langley, British Columbia, in his presentation at the 2008 American Association of Equine Practitioners convention, held Dec. 6-10 in San Diego, Calif. However, he added, if the proper diagnostic and treatment approaches are taken, the chances for success can be improved.

The solution for a problem mare is rarely natural cover either by hand breeding or pasture breeding, he said. "In my opinion, a mare that fails to become pregnant by AI with good semen quality and does so by natural cover without human intervention is an example of poor or inadequate breeding management by the personnel performing the AI," said Samper.

Proper breeding management involves three basic fundamentals:

  • Diagnostic procedures to determine the soundness of both male and female.
  • Necessary therapies both before and after breeding.
  • Determination of the optimal time of insemination.

Often overlooked when breeding a problem mare by AI, Samper said, is the stallion. Mare owners often study pedigree and performance in depth when selecting a stallion, but they often pay little or no attention to the horse’s semen quality. Research has shown there is a great range in the fertility of stallions with cooled or frozen semen. In addition, he added, AI breeding should be approached under the assumption that one is dealing with semen that is of mediocre or poor quality. It is highly important that insemination of the problem mare be performed only once and as close to ovulation as possible

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Les Sellnow was a prolific freelance writer based near Riverton, Wyoming. He specialized in articles on equine research, and operated a ranch where he raised horses and livestock. He authored several fiction and nonfiction books, including Understanding Equine Lameness and Understanding The Young Horse. He died in 2023.

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