Breeding horses can be both exhilarating and devastating. Wrapped up in the process are hopes, dreams, and visions of future greatness and glory. The hopes and dreams begin with the selection of a stallion for your special mare. You assess her strengths and weaknesses, then select that “just right” stallion to complement her. Even before the mating occurs, you can envision the foal which will be the product of this union. It will be the best one you’ve ever bred!

Then there is that tense time after the mating occurs, either via artificial insemination or by natural cover. Will she settle? Anxiously, you wait the required time period, then call for the veterinarian to do an ultrasound examination at or shortly after Day 16.

The veterinarian carefully inserts the transducer rectally to scan the uterus. You wait, and wait, and wait while the vet maneuvers the instrument, all the while keeping an eye on the ultrasound screen.

Then, the magic moment and the words you hoped for. “She’s pregnant.”

This is an exhilarating moment whether one has been involved in the breeding of one mare or hundreds. The miracle of nature has occurred once again. A tiny egg and an even tinier sperm have united. A new life is on the way.

Unfortunately, there are times where that exhilaration turns to despair.

Here’s a possible scenario. The mare is bred. She is examined via ultrasound and declared to be in foal. You turn her out with a mixed group and one day, several weeks or more later, you glance over and see a gelding nuzzling the mare. She, in turn, is squatting and urinating, her tail cranked up and to one side, her vulva winking.

You quickly call the veterinarian. Another ultrasound exam. This time the news is not good tidings. “Nothing there. She lost it.”

Questions assail your mind. Why? What happened? When did it happen? Will it happen again if she is re