Hastening the Onset of the Breeding Season

November 20, 2012

Posted by Julie Skaife in Mare Management

The horse is a seasonal breeder meaning that natural mating occurs during certain times of the year to ensure that the timing of birth is optimal for survival with regard to ambient temperature, food and water availability, and even changes in the predation behaviors of other species. Alternative breeding behaviors used by animals include opportunistic breeders that mate whenever the conditions of their environment become favorable and continuous breeders that mate year-round. Seasonal breeders are controlled by the length of daylight, i.e. the photoperiod, and can be divided into long day breeders, e.g. the horse, that start cycling when the days get longer (spring) and short day breeders, e.g. deer, that start cycling when the days get shorter (fall). The length of photoperiod can be manipulated in order to hasten the onset of the breeding season. This is a popular management technique used in Thoroughbred breeding, so foals can be born as close to the standardized January 1st birth date as possible. It is also common with show or halter horses, with the goal being to maximize maturity for age determined competition.

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A Review of Reports for Reproductive Efficiency

August 30, 2012

Posted by Julie Skaife in Stallion Management

Last month we discussed the importance of tracking measures of reproductive efficiency, as promised this month we review some of the reported literature on reproductive success in various commercial programs. This is not intended as an exhaustive review of all the available literature on the subject. Rather, we have used specific references to illustrate various concepts related to reports of equine fertility.

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Measuring Reproductive Efficiency

July 25, 2012

Posted by Julie Skaife in Stallion Management

Keeping good breeding records is one of the cornerstone principles of sound reproductive management. For many of you the breeding season is now coming to a close, whether you are a stallion owner reviewing the conception rates for the mares that were bred to your stallion, or a breeder reviewing the reproductive performance of your mare herd, now is a great time to start compiling the data. Best to do it now whilst your experiences are still fresh in your mind and you can readily lay your hands on the paperwork. Plus as a stallion owner it may take some time to get the feedback you need from your mare owners. In this blog article we discuss the importance of keeping detailed accurate breeding records and what parameters you should calculate and follow.

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Not All Frozen Semen is Created Equally

June 20, 2012

Posted by Julie Skaife in Frozen Semen

Following up on our Blog article of last month Should the US Adopt Stricter Controls on Cooled and Frozen Semen Production Facilities, we thought it might be interesting to present some data to demonstrate the variability in the quality of frozen semen being imported into the US. For the purposes of this blog article we combined the data from client samples submitted for post-thaw analysis in the last 1-3 yrs. A post-thaw analysis is one of the services we offer to our clients importing frozen semen; we evaluate post-thaw motility by computer assisted sperm analysis (CASA), sperm concentration using the Nucleocounter and we perform a bacterial culture of the semen to check for mare pathogens.

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Contract Considerations for Stallion Owners

February 16, 2012

Posted by Julie Skaife in Contract Considerations

Breeding season is upon us and hopefully the phone has been ringing off the hook with mare owners interested in breeding to your stallion. Now is a great time to review and update your frozen semen contracts. We are here to make it easier for you! We have prepared contract templates for either selling frozen semen by the dose or for a frozen semen breeding agreement, both templates are accompanied by detailed notes you can refer to for guidance when formulating your own agreements. Follow this link to download your Free Contract Guide and Templates. In this Blog article we answer commonly asked questions related to structuring your breeding agreement.

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Frozen Semen - Sell by the Dose or as a Breeding

February 16, 2012

Posted by Julie Skaife in Contract Considerations

For some breeds of horses, the most popular choice for marketing frozen semen is to sell by the dose. The mare owner pays in advance for each dose of semen and typically there is no live foal guarantee.This is often the case for imported frozen semen from Warmblood sport horse stallions standing in Europe. However, other breeds use their frozen semen as part of a breeding contract with a life foal guarantee. Much of the Standardbred and Quarter Horse semen we export to Europe and Australia is sold in this manner. At Select Breeders we feel the risk associated with breeding horses, by any means, should be shared by both the stallion and mare owner. Therefore our recommendation has always been to sell frozen semen with a guaranteed contract. We review the pros and cons of both options below and welcome your comments and discussion.

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The Hidden Value of Frozen Semen

February 16, 2012

Posted by Julie Skaife in Frozen Semen

You know the value of your stallion…X amount of dollars, your broodmares…X amount of dollars, and your stallion’s offspring…X amount of dollars. But if asked the value of your stallion’s frozen semen you may answer “I don’t know” or “Priceless.” Why do you need to know the value of your stallion’s frozen semen? Unfortunately, stallions pass away, partnerships dissolve due to sales or divorce, bankruptcies are filed, semen is exported, etc. and in these cases you need to be prepared to handle your frozen semen as an asset. The value of frozen semen can be determined either by the cost of production or the number of breedings that potentially could be sold.

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Three Ways Stallion Owners Can Prevent Unapproved Use of Frozen Semen

August 29, 2011

Posted by Julie Skaife in Contract Considerations

As breeding season is coming to a close, many of you may be wondering what you should do about unused doses of frozen semen that remain in the possession of your mare owners and what you should do with returned semen. Stallion owners often express concern that if frozen semen is sold as part of a breeding contract, unused doses of semen remaining after the original mare becomes pregnant may be sold to a 3rd party or used to inseminate another mare without payment of any additional stud fees. But, if frozen semen is returned, how can you know if the semen quality has been compromised and what should you do with it? Here we offer some advice on how to minimize the amount of unused frozen semen that is outstanding at the end of the breeding season and how to handle the fate of this frozen semen in your breeding contracts and if it gets returned.

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Please Note - photos used in these news articles are available in the public domain, have been purchased through istockphoto or (when referencing breeders or horses) have been submitted to Select Breeders Services Inc. by the breeding farm or horse owner. Photo credit has been provided where applicable. If at anytime you see something that needs to be addressed please feel free to contact us directly.