There are few occurrences in the equine world more frustrating and disappointing than to breed for that foal of your dreams and have the mare come up empty. Unfortunately, this happens frequently and the reasons are many and varied–ranging all the way from an infertile stallion to a mare with serious reproductive problems.

Modern technology and research have helped solve the problem–also in a variety of ways. Solutions include embryo transfer, oocyte transfer, gamete intrafallopian tube transfer (GIFT), injection of a single cell into an egg, the use of drugs such as Ovuplant and Regumate…the list goes on.

Unfortunately, some of these procedures are still in the developmental stages and others, which are utilized with some frequency, are expensive. Embryo transfer is an example. Its use is just short of being commonplace at major breeding establishments, but it is on the expensive side for the backyard breeder. A foal at weaning time, it has been estimated, should be worth between $10,000-$15,000 to justify utilization of the procedure. That can be a bit high for the person who just wants to breed on a favorite bloodline for a future trail riding horse.

So, one might ask, what is the average breeder to do to ensure a pregnancy and resultant foal? There are a couple of basics that almost all equine practitioners will espouse. Make certain to the best of the veterinarian’s ability that the mare is reproductively healthy. Second, make certain that the stallion is fertile and, if shipped cooled semen is to be used, that his semen can withstand the rigors of cooling and shipping.

With those two basics out of the way, it i