Q: It’s getting close to the breeding season. What are some tips on getting my stallion, my crew, and myself ready for the onslaught?

A: How you get a stallion ready for the breeding season depends on many things, but basically you can break it down into getting new stallions introduced into the breeding routine, and a refresher course for experienced stallions. With either kind, it’s important to remember the basic health aspect of the horse. You want the stallion to go into the season in the best shape possible.

Look at the physical condition of the stallion. Is he overweight, or underweight? Is he getting out and getting exercise? It’s good for a stallion to get out as much as possible not only for exercise, but for his overall well-being. Make sure his teeth are okay. He should be on a regular vaccination schedule, including equine viral arteritis for Thoroughbred stallions in Kentucky. All of his vaccinations should be given 60 days before the breeding season starts. That way, if he has a reaction to the vaccination and gets sick or has a fever, it won’t affect his breeding ability. In general, avoid vaccinating stallions in the middle of the breeding season because a high fever can affect sperm production, and sperm take about 60 days to mature in the stallion. Vaccination for vector-borne diseases might make it necessary to vaccinate during the breeding season, however.

Also make sure the stallion has been on a good deworming program. If you have an older stallion, keep an eye on him during the season. He might need some medication for his normal aches and pains.