Has all this "mucking around" improved the odds at all??? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 05-07-2009, 09:29 AM Thread Starter
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Has all this "mucking around" improved the odds at all???

When I first got into breeding - YEARS ago - I remember my vet telling me that through the years, the standard conception / successful foaling rate was 60%. And if you took the last 50-60-70 years, there might be some blips above or below that but on average based on mares bred and live foals born, east coast, west coast, north and south, WB's, TB's, Quarter Horses, big breeders, backyard breeders, etc it has stayed constant at 60%

So ... that is also going back to the days when you "stuck that mare in with that there stallion and let 'im have a go at 'er a few times", before ultrasounds, before P&E protocols, forget about oxytocin or Regumate or checking progesterone levels. No such thing as fresh cooled semen, let alone frozen. If you couldnt ship your mare to the stallion or he didnt come and visit your mare, she didnt get bred - it was that simple ...

If you were lucky, that cow vet up the road could stick his arm up there and feel around and tell you if he thought she was pregnant as well

With all of our advancements and new fangled protocols and drugs and equipment at our disposal, I would venture to say that we are STILL at that median 60% success rate and have not deviated from it one iota

Are any statistics kept on something like this? Does anyone feel that it has actually increased at all as we approach breeding in a more scientific and structured manner or by doing so, have we actually DECREASED the conception rates as we are trying to micromanage something that should really be very very simple instead ...

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post #2 of 5 Old 05-07-2009, 10:03 AM
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Thats an interesting question, I don't have an answer. Its one of those is technology helping or hurting us dilemmas. I'll be interested to read your responses.

"Until one has loved an animal, part of one's soul remains unawakened..."
- Anatole France
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post #3 of 5 Old 05-09-2009, 06:11 PM
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Whats wrong with the natural way?

Originally Posted by TrueColours View Post
With all of our advancements and new fangled protocols and drugs and equipment at our disposal, I would venture to say that we are STILL at that median 60% success rate and have not deviated from it one iota

Does anyone feel that it has actually increased at all as we approach breeding in a more scientific and structured manner or by doing so, have we actually DECREASED the conception rates as we are trying to micromanage something that should really be very very simple instead ...
I do not use any artificial means of reproduction around here.
I hand breed my stud to my mares & mares brought to him.
I prefer "natural " methods.

I have a better than 60% success rate. It is around 85% live foal & all these foals have survived to adulthood. I got these figures by looking at my breeding book for the last 6 years.

The fillys that brought this rate down were just that, fillys & probally not really mature enough yet, even though they were coming into full heat. I suspect one of them has fertility issues, as I have breed Raven twice & she was pregnant. She slipped one at 6 months & apparently absorbed the other. The other is a high strung rescue QH/TB Filly from the race track. Motherhood has calmed down a few of my girls & I hoped this would help her as she loves the babies.

Yes, I believe many are attempting to "micromanage something that should really be very very simple instead".

Are these people really wanting a horse?
Or are they looking for a status symbol?
Or is it just a case of vanity?

A horse can have the some of the greatest sire & dam there are & still be a idiot.
I won one. If I said the names most here would know them.
That doesnt make their offspring anything special automatically.

"If your gonna act like a turd...go lay in the yard."
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post #4 of 5 Old 05-09-2009, 07:52 PM
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When it comes to breeding I think that if you have quality genes in a stallion, a proven producer, there is nothing wrong with the methods that you use. Adding to that, if you have the proper facilities and the means to promote your stallion that would be a contributing factor. I have seen time and time again how people basically breed from their backyard with a stallion they are just trying to make a buck off of. The stallion, and the mares included, standing knee deep in mud and manure. The foals being born in the same conditions rather than in a nice clean stall or paddock with some kind of bedding put down for them.

If someone is breeding just to breed it isn't necessary. If you have specific goals in mind and you truly believe you are bringing something to the table, "bettering the breed," then you are doing a great thing.

As far as vanity or a status symbol, if you have a champion horse, a very sought after bloodline, or anything marketable at all about your stallion people will come to you. Nobody is putting a gun to anyone's head. If you KNOW you have something special there is NOTHING wrong with being proud of yourself and your animal(s). This is, again, given the fact that you are doing the right thing.

It is true that you may get a complete idiot out of the best of the best. It happens. Look at the Impressive line. You could get a big beautiful horse that is an absolute whack job. I know someone who bought an Impressive filly that was HYPP Pos - the dumb thing would stand at the fence and BITE the hot wire and hang on to it. She did all kinds of weird stuff like that. It may not have anything to do with HYPP, but that is my belief.

Responsible breeders who have a good program and are much respected obviously have reason that they are.

Back to question at hand... Natural vs other methods - I don't think it matters. In the end Mother Nature will prevail and that's all there is to it. As far as micro-managing goes, I don't think that is the right term for it. A serious breeder just knows what and when to expect things and to act on them - that is their job.
I forgot about the percentage thing. I am not aware of any studies or statistics. My mom is good friends with the director of UC Davis Equine and I will be more than happy to have her ask if he knows of anything new.

Last edited by Shawneen; 05-09-2009 at 07:58 PM.
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post #5 of 5 Old 05-09-2009, 09:10 PM
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I read that its at about 66% the past 10 years but really thats going to vary widely depending on many factors the least of which is the horses age and how many horses you've bred. I once had someone tell me after 3 years of breeding they didn't see anything hard about it they had a 100% foaling record. 9 foals from 9 breedings all horses involved were under 10 years old. Not exactly anything I thought was impressive. Come tell me the record after 100 foals using mares in their 20's with a stud that is also. I have a 27 year old stallion thats dropped off to right at 50% the past 3 seasons with 1/3 of those mares being in their 20's also.

I use AI from shipped semen on a few mares over the years with 100% success rate but I'm very selective which mares I use and check them out first. I've also used ET and had a 75% success rate doing that.
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