artificial insemination - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 02-23-2013, 12:41 AM Thread Starter
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Question artificial insemination

Has anyone here used AI? Are there any special considerations to think about? I've looked at two Welsh studs on line and both farms do live cover or AI. I figure with AI the advantage is no risk of injury to the mare.With both farms the foal is registerable with WPCSA. My mare, Star is a Shetland and I would like to produce a larger pony that in the 3yrs it would take to be born and mature that my granddaughter who would by then be 8 and old enough to really listen and learn could then work with as a 4H project. Star is a gorgeous girl, 5yrs old, and I think by breeding to a Welsh we could get a larger and very good quality pony. Both are very nice studs, I'm leaning toward a goldenbuckskin, dappled, chocolate points, carries silver and is recognized, certified by the American Sport Pony Association. I know this is a long term project and I am looking to produce a very nice quality pony.
I don't know anything about AI though. It seems to me that you eliminate the risk of physical injury during the mating process, also the need to transport and board the mare away from home. The up front difference costwise is. $100. I haven't checked yet on the vet cost on this end, what it cost to insert the semen. I know costs vary around the country but anyone have a rough estimate? Like 200 or 1000 ? Anything I really need to know about AI versus live cover, other than of course Star won't get to go to the dance? Thanks for any information, just wanted to get some feedback from someone who's gone this way.
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post #2 of 14 Old 02-23-2013, 12:48 AM
Green Broke
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Breeding a mare is very difficult.... the ovum only lives for 12 hours and so you have to really understand your mare's cycles to be able to insert the semen earlier than 48 hours before she ovulates.

Will you have an expert do the insertion?

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post #3 of 14 Old 02-23-2013, 01:11 AM
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AI is tricky for those who have never done it or unexperienced. Finding her ovulation and timing is the hard part for some mares. With my mare last year, I spent over $1000 from a different stallion in Vet and Shipping Fees with two attempts until I had enough and just bred her to my own stallion. She was in foal with in a few couple days live cover. It's safer to AI a mare because of the safety of both mare and stallion. It's unpredicable what can happen in the breeding shed. Have a good repo vet to do the job.

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post #4 of 14 Old 02-23-2013, 02:07 AM Thread Starter
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Hi, yes of course I'd have a vet do the insertion. I'll have to check with mine and see if she's done this before. If not I am located within 50 miles of the NC State Vet school, they may be of assistance don't know. Of course with the live cover they also tease her with the stallion. I'm just trying to figure out the best way to go here. Also the studs are 2-3 hands taller than she is so do I need to take that into consideration when deciding AI or live cover? They do say live foal guarantee.
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post #5 of 14 Old 02-23-2013, 04:02 AM
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Originally Posted by oobiedoo View Post
Hi, yes of course I'd have a vet do the insertion. I'll have to check with mine and see if she's done this before. If not I am located within 50 miles of the NC State Vet school, they may be of assistance don't know.
The NC State Vet school is excellent and does have a reproduction clinic that does AI Equine Reproduction Clinic :: Equine Health Center at Southern Pines :: North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine

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post #6 of 14 Old 02-23-2013, 11:41 AM
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You lose most of your money on the shipping, especially if she doesn't take the first time. The best situation we've found is to find a vet close enough to the stud owner so that you can have fresh cooled semen instead of frozen shipped. The fresh cooled is more potent, and costs significantly less to ship. Sometimes the stud owner can even provide AI if you keep your mare on site with the stud. We did that with our mare, the owner could tease the mares with her stallion, collect when needed, then inseminate the mares and not worry about injuring either party.

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post #7 of 14 Old 02-23-2013, 07:35 PM
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We have done AI numerous times. Its great for the safety of the mare and stallion handlers. I also think there is a benefit to having to do the frequent ultrasounds. This allows you to get an idea
safety of mare/stallion
ability to monitor mare's cycle
cost - you need to board them with someone who can do the insemination, stud farm is the better way.
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post #8 of 14 Old 02-23-2013, 09:07 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for all the good info.
I have no intentions of trying to monitor her cycle and do it myself. I know I don't have the experience and knowledge to attempt this myself.
Rookie, I was just thinking on what you had to say. The farm thats closest to me and has the stud I like the best does live cover for $400 , $8/day for mare care and said she can arrange AI collection and insertion there if live cover is a problem. She did say he has covered mares from 12 hands to over 15 hands but none as small as my mare. My mare is 10 hands, the stud is 13.1. Do you think this would be a problem? She is a hefty girl, probably needs to lose some weight at this point. But the height difference is the biggest reason I was looking at AI.
Other than the obvious up front costs, stud fee, mare care, transportation to and from farm,2-3 hr drive each way and having a vet out during or after foaling, are there other not so obvious costs I need to take into account?
Another question more along the genetics line? It seems that horses like cats are two basic colors, red and black, everything else is a dilute or pattern expression? So dumb as it sounds I'll ask, can I assume my black mare is black? Theres the tiniest white star on forehead, otherwise she is black with only other color at any season is if she gets some sun induced red hair in her tail. The stud is a golden dappled buckskin with chocolate points and carries silver.
Thanks again for all your help.
If anyone would like to see the stallion their website is and he is Rosmel's Golden Wonder.
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post #9 of 14 Old 02-23-2013, 09:29 PM
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The biggest difference between shipped, cooled semen, AI and live cover is efficacy. I rarely have to re-breed a mare I live cover with my stallion. Mind you, I only live cover my own mares, so any risk of injury to mare or stallion is all on me. If someone sent me a mare to cover, I would actually collect the stallion and then inseminate the mare with the fresh collected semen.

I don't know about other breeds but Arabian stallions in high demand tend to extend the semen too much, IMO. Rarely do I hear of a mare catching and settling on the first insemination. That can add up pretty quickly.

Cost comparison to do live cover vs shipped & AI:

Stud fee: $1500, no matter whether live or AI
Collection, handling and shipping: $500 (so if you need 3 shipments, $1500)
Shipping container deposit: $250
Vet costs to palpate, ultra sound, inseminate, and routine drugs: $400 PER CYCLE, (so multiply that times however many times you have to try before she is pregnant)

That's just the basic charges.

Live Cover:
Mare care $8/day dry and $10/day wet, or $250/mo & 300/mo if the mare stays more than just a few days

Chute fee or handling fee: $200 (no matter how many times I collect the stallion and inseminate the mare)

Insemination materials: $100 per cycle

There can be a few extra charges for live cover, for instance if you ship me the mare in the end of Feb in preparation for breeding in March, I'll add a teasing fee of $100 for the entire stay.

With either, you will have to haul the mare to the stallion for a certain amount, or you'll haul to the vet. Or, if the vet will come out and do it at your place (if you don't have good solid breeding stocks, they might not), you're looking at a trip fee or farm call on top of the cost to do the insemination.

Some vets don't do an all inclusive rate like mine does. You can be looking at $60 per ultrasound, $30 per palpation, $200 per insemination, $20-40 per injection if they routinely use hormones or oxytocin when AI-ing the mare. Mine charges around $400 and it includes EVERYTHING for routine exam and insemination. There would be extra charges if they discovered the mare was dirty, for instance. I always culture my mares prior to breeding, so I don't get any surprises there.

For me, I've found I prefer to use live cover. So, drop off the mare for about 1 week to 10 days, if she's showing heat the day you drop her off. Go back and pick her up when she goes out of heat, have the vet check her at 17-20 days from the last time she was bred and see if she took. A LOT less hassle.

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post #10 of 14 Old 02-23-2013, 11:12 PM
Green Broke
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Good post ^ and I don't think height would be a problem, not too much difference.
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Horses are scared of two things... Things that move and things that don't.
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