There is nothing wrong with AI to my knowledge, but I prefer pasture breeding mine. Perhaps it is irrational, but I strongly believe in keeping things as natural as reasonably possible - pasture breeding and pasture foaling with the herd. My horses are all extremely content, mild mannered, healthy, and have excellent dispostions, and although I cannot prove anything scientifically, I feel much of that has to do with letting them be horses and following their instincts instead of undergoing the man-induced stress of confinement...
I prefer live cover. Its typically cheaper and easier to deal with.
AI usually involves hauling mare to vet, numerous ultrasounds to find where she is in her cycle, more vet fees, hauling her home. Keep in mind, you want a vet that specializes in equine reproduction too!
I tried breeding Chilly 7 years ago thought AI. She never took and I was out $1500 between stud fee, collection, shipping and vet fees. It was very hard to track her cycle because she was a silent heat type of mare back then.
Chilly was bred in April 2012, was with the stud for 4 days, and she conceived without even trying. LoL
Overall, I prefer live cover mainly due to the cost and simplicity of it. As long as your dealing with capable owners and a nicely trained stud.
But...When I breed Rumor, she'll be bred to a stallion that is half way across the country. So, AI it is...But this stallion is worth it. Posted via Mobile Device
Frozen semen is only 65% percent viable, whereas live cover semen are 80% - 90% viable.
But some of those statistics are because stallions with lower viable sperm are used in AI programs to increase their fertility rates. If they were allowed to live cover, they're rates would be even lower. (did that make sense?) Referring to fresh not frozen.
There is even one mare on the farm that will not conceive unless pasture bred, at home. She has been sent away for live cover at another barn, bred several times and would not conceive. Put her in the stallions pastureon the farm and she catches first try, every time.
After working on a Warmblood breeding operation, I say AI. Pasture breeding is great if you actually maintain your own herd. When bringing in outside mares, it's just not feasible - the risk of injury is too great to mix a bunch of unknown horses together in a pasture during breeding time. In hand live cover can be stressful and dangerous if you're unsure how the mare may react.
Collecting live semen means more mares bred that day. We had close to 100% success rate by using a teaser gelding, collecting from the stallion and immediately distributing the fresh semen to the mares in heat that day. Often only required 1 or 2 inseminations to take.
I think ultimately the answer is - depends on your individual situation. For large scale breeding operations handling expensive horses, AI is just safest. I would prefer pasture cover second. In hand live cover last because I think it creates the most risks and danger for both horses and handlers to have NO ability to act out a natural breeding encounter. Posted via Mobile Device