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This is a discussion on AI? within the Horse Breeding forums, part of the Horse Breeds, Breeding, and Genetics category

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    04-28-2008, 06:04 PM

How does it all work (AI) from the mare's end?

What does the vet do?
What does the mare owner do?
What about when the semen is shipped a long way? (Florida to Alaska)
What are the success rates on the first try? Second try? At all?

I am basically wondering what I should know. We are planning on breeding our mare back this year (if she ever foals :) ) using shipped semen...I have never done it, so really want to know what to expect.

Also, I know that breeding back to back can take a toll on a mare (she will get a break for a while after this breeding!)....what things can we do to ensure she is in the best health possible while carrying a foal a second year in a row?

She is currently a week overdue, and while she looks quite large, she looks very healthy. We exercised her the first few months last year, but fell off when she got more pregnant. This year, we are hoping to keep her in a bit more regular exercise schedule.

Thanks in advance
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    04-29-2008, 12:47 AM
AI is when the vet/owner of the horse inserts the semen into the mares uterus. The semen is frozen so the sperm don't die. After the implantation the foal should grow normally so the owner should treat the mare the same as they would when she is in foal the normal way.
    04-29-2008, 01:18 AM
Yes, but I have heard things about hormone suppression therepy and such. It just seems very complicated. When do I ask the stallion owner to send -when she shows first signs of heat? A day or so in?

And again...

What is the vet's role?
Success rates?
Etc.?...all info is helpful

We are running into a time crunch here because our mare still has not foaled, and the stallion is taken for showing on June 15th (no more semen collections at that point) - they did say they will flex slightly on that date to accommodate us. I am not sure when our mare will go into heat after foaling, and we may only get one shot at it, which makes me nervous.
    04-29-2008, 08:47 PM
Started friend has never used any sort of hormone therapy for her mares (aside from the one who needs regu-mate to keep from slipping her foals AFTER she's pregnant).

When your mare first starts showing heat (yay, teaser horse!), your vet will have to ultrasound her once or twice a day to monitor her cycle so you can pinpoint actual ovulation as closely as possible. My friend keeps her mares at home; but some people just send them to stay with the vet for a week.

After ovulation, you have a very small window (like a day) when they mare is most likely to get pregnant, so it can be quite a juggling act with the stallion manager and the shipping company. Deliver semen +mare to the vet, vet inseminates mare, hopefully you get a baby.

Of course, its only that hectic if you are using chilled semen, which actually has a shelf life...frozen is somewhat less hectic but chancier unless the stallion is very fertile and freezes well.

The only problems she has had have been related to:
- semen quality (notoriously bad in friesians)
- poor semen preparation (like a whole batch was bad: none of the mares caught)
- shipping company mix-up (this only happened once and it was Fed-Ex)

I am thinking a lot of quarter horses probably have better-quality semen, and that is really the biggest factor. Good semen and a good stallion manager. I would definitely hook up with an experienced vet, that can make a huge difference on your end.

Ed. I forgot to add, chilled semen is good for about 2 days.
    04-29-2008, 08:55 PM
Thanks sara!

Do you know what the "shelf life" for cooled semen what point duirng heat is best to contact the stallion owner to ship?

For some reason, I am thinking that frozen semen is available for the stallion we chose, but I might have to go check...and see if he freezes well.

I wondered about the hormone therapy when someone had mentioned doing that to their mare...Maybe there was some issue with that particular horse.

Luckily our mare is pretty obvious about her cycles, and we can use my stallion to tease her (I am sure he will appreciate being faked out like that :) )

When they ship, do they usually send just one "dose" (for lack of a better word), or is there enough for a couple of different days worth?

I should see if our vet offers the option for her to stay there for a couple of days - that seems easiest!
    04-29-2008, 10:04 PM
Originally Posted by AKPaintLover
Do you know what the "shelf life" for cooled semen what point duirng heat is best to contact the stallion owner to ship?
2 days, give or take. As for when to contact the owner...that kind of depends on how they like to do things. Your best bet would be to ask them. Ovulation is predicted by the size of the follicle, but I honestly don't remember the number your vet looks for off the top of my head.

Originally Posted by AKPaintLover
For some reason, I am thinking that frozen semen is available for the stallion we chose, but I might have to go check...and see if he freezes well.
If he freezes well, that's great: that stuff pretty much lasts forever and you won't be driving to the airport at 5am to pick up a styrofoam crate of horse semen. We always get funny looks about that:P

Originally Posted by AKPaintLover
When they ship, do they usually send just one "dose" (for lack of a better word), or is there enough for a couple of different days worth?
Well, for chilled, its a moot point, so you just get the one dose, but most managers will send you more if you request it (you just have to pay another collection fee, not the stud fee). My friend hasn't done any frozen, but I'm pretty sure you pay for each dose (especially if the stallion is dead).
    04-30-2008, 06:41 PM
So, they do freeze his semen, but our vet does not have the equipment to handle frozen. The good news is that the vet said she could probably coordinate to take our mare at her place during the period of ultra-sounding!

I guess I just have to get the forms in and wait now. :)
    04-30-2008, 07:03 PM
Good luck :)

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