Reproduction in all species borders on the miraculous. How else can one describe a process where two infinitesimal entities, one from the male, the other from the female, join forces to produce living, breathing offspring?
Reproductive capability or success varies by species. Mice and rabbits, for example, are prolific producers of offspring. Horses, on the other hand, fall into a category where it is much more chancy.
When horses ran wild, this wasn’t a serious problem. There were so many of them that their numbers continued to expand even though birth rate often was dictated by the availability of food and water. Once the horse was domesticated, however, organized reproduction became the order of the day. Stables that depend on selling the offspring of stallions and mares have an economic stake in breeding success. Yet, the process continues to be less than perfect, with success rates hovering in the 65-70% range, and sometimes lower.
In this article on reproductive anatomy, we’ll take a look at the reproductive organs of both the mare and the stallion and discuss just how they function in their effort to produce another “miracle.” Once again, sources are too numerous to mention, other than to say that much of the basic information on reproduction available today stems from research at such institutions as Colorado State University, Texas A&M University, and the University of Minnesota. There are many others involved in reproductive research, but much of the information utilized in this article emanated from those three institutions.
We’ll begin with the mare because her role in the reproductive p