More and more breed associations are permitting artificial insemination. The negative attitudes and regulations by the breed registries are starting to decline. This is a big reason why the technology of artificial insemination in the horse has lagged behind other farm animal species.
What is artificial insemination? The term “artificial insemination,” commonly called A.I., is the deposition of spermatozoa into the female’s reproductive tract by artificial instruments rather than by natural service involving the stallion. It is a tool, which when used correctly can maximize reproductive efficiency and enhance the genetic progress of any breed. A.I. of cooled or frozen transported semen broadens the options of the mare owner for a desired mating.
A.I. is an option that benefits the stallion, mare and owners by:
- Reducing the possibility of injury to the mare and (or) stallion.
- Aiding in identification of reproductive problems.
- Permitting abdormal mares to be bred that can not be bred by using natural service.
- Allowing more mares to be bred to the same stallion on a given day.
- Enabling mares to be bred at the most opportune time for maximum chance of conception.
- Permitting more effective use of older, more valuable stallions.
- Preventing the overuse of a stallion at anytime during the breeding season.
- Permitting evaluation of semen at each collection and immediate diagnosis of minor changes in seminal quality.
- Permitting the use of stallions that have developed poor breeding habits or have been injured.
The down side to A.I. is that it is labor intensive and requires commitment and good communication by the stallion owner, mare owner and veterinarian. The chosen stallion should be proven or tested for seminal quality, fertility and the ability to withstand extending and handling (i.e. cooled transported semen). The mare prior to breeding should be cultured and (or) biopsied to make sure she has the potential to conceive and carry a foal to term.
A.I. is an option and tool which when used correctly can benefit the horse industry. To further investigate A.I. contact your breed association or registry, stallion owner or veterinarian. In order to maximize the success rate of A.I. it requires an understanding of the costs and commitment of all parties involved.