Select Breeders Services (SBS) can assist stallion owners with their equine frozen semen needs whether the semen required is for domestic use, to be qualified for export, needed to breed a handful of mares or hundreds of doses for storage. As the world’s largest provider of equine frozen semen services, we are continuously adding new stallions to the list of more than 3,500 stallions already frozen within the SBS Affiliate Network. Discussed in this article will be questions we ask about stallions prior to their arrival, disease testing required prior to entry, what happens after he arrives, our storage and distribution program as well as how our customer service extends well beyond the stallion’s departure from our facility.
SBS prides itself on providing quality customer service to their stallion owners. We want to help the stallion owner/agent achieve the goals they have set for their stallion’s breeding program. This begins from the original contact about bringing the stallion to us for freezing. We like to be as prepared as possible prior to the stallion’s arrival. One way we prepare is by obtaining some general information about the stallion which includes but is not limited to the following questions:
- Is the stallion trained to the phantom?
- When was the last time he was collected?
- Has he been frozen before?
- Has he been shown recently?
- Has the stallion been on any medications within the previous 60 days prior to arrival?
- Has he suffered a fever within the 60 days prior to arriving at our facility?
- Any previous issues with semen quality?
- Are we freezing for domestic or export? If for export, which countries?
- How many doses or mares are to be bred with the frozen semen?
The answers to the above questions are vital for the SBS staff to be prepared when he steps off the trailer.
Disease Testing – Export or Domestic
A large percentage of the frozen semen processed by SBS is intended for export to foreign countries. Each stallion, regardless of whether the semen is to be used domestically or qualified for export, is required to have testing performed to ensure he is negative for certain disease. These diseases include Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA), Equine Viral Arteritis (EVA), Contagious Equine Metritis (CEM) as well Vesicular Stomatitis (VS).
Once a stallion is scheduled to arrive we verify his disease test results. It is imperative the disease testing for export qualified semen be performed correctly and most importantly, be negative. Most countries require the same type of disease testing (EVA, EIA, CEM, VS) yet the timing and frequencies of the tests vary from country to country. Some foreign countries require testing based upon when the stallion enters the collection center, the stallion’s residency, or the actual collection date. Additional information about export testing and the export shipment process can be found in our FAQs (Does my stallion have to be tested against any disease before entering your facility?, Is it possible to export semen to a another country?) or in our article Exporting Frozen Semen From the United States.
Even though there are no disease restrictions on the use of equine frozen semen within the United States, we do require a stallion have the negative disease test results prior to his arrival. The USDA requires documentation of all stallions that enter an approved collection facility but we also require these in order to protect our stallion owners and their stallions. We take all necessary precautions to ensure the stallions which enter our facilities are disease free and that they leave in the same manner. In recent years, SBS has seen how disease outbreaks such as CEM, EVA, and VS can negatively impact the equine reproduction industry and we are committed to doing our part to prevent such events in the future. We keep all of the disease testing and health information on file for many years after the stallion has been frozen.
Once the stallion arrives at SBS we communicate directly with the client as to how we will proceed with the collection and freezing process. If he is a young or competition stallion which has not been collected before we will first train him to collect off the phantom. Additional information on how we go about this process can be found in our article, Collecting Semen from the Young Stallion. Our goal is to obtain an ejaculate from the stallion on his first mount on the phantom. We do so because there is Value in Collecting Semen on One Mount as described in the article.
The SBS staff will schedule clean out collections (if not performed prior to his arrival), additional disease testing if required, and the test freeze. The client will be informed of the test freeze results and the collection schedule for subsequent freezes. Typically, we collect stallions for freezing on an every other day schedule so they have one day of sexual rest between each collection. However, we will customize a stallion’s collection schedule as needed to accommodate each individual stallion. For example, if a stallion comes to our facility Monday we will schedule at least three clean out collections. One collection will be performed on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of that first week. The stallion will then have sexual rest on Thursday and the test freeze will be performed on Friday. For additional information about the test freezing process see our blog article, The Test Freeze – The First Freeze Performed on a Stallion’s Semen.
At the end of each collection week we provide inventory reports for the semen that was frozen that week. Some stallion owners have a specific number of doses they need to reach while others have a specific dollar amount they wish to spend on semen freezing services. On average a stallion will produce 7-8 doses of frozen semen per ejaculate. If the client would like to reach 50 doses of frozen semen, it will take approximately 2-3 weeks to reach that goal. For more in depth information about a timeframe please see our FAQ, How long does it take to produce enough doses to breed 10 mares? Our staff meets on a regular basis to discuss the ongoing freeze work and any issue regarding the stallions at our facilities so that everyone knows the plan and is working toward the same goals.
Communication with owners
Communication with the stallion owner or agent is one of the key principles of SBS. We want to keep the stallion owner informed of the stallion’s freezing progress as well as the stallion himself during his stay with us. We view SBS, the stallion owner/agent and the stallion as a team working together to achieve the set objectives.
Stallion owners are always welcome to visit their stallion while he is a guest at one of our facilities. We are also more than happy to show a client’s stallion to potential mare owners because we believe a client of the stallion owner is a client of SBS. However, we have a strict confidentially policy with our stallion owners in that we do not share vital information regarding their stallion to anyone without specific authorization from the owner. This includes collection information, semen quality, temperament, etc.
A stallion’s health and well-being is our main concern while he is at SBS. Our staff is more than happy to assist with scheduling farrier services, equine dentists, veterinarian appointments or any other services needed. Unauthorized access to our collection centers are prohibited, so owners/agents may rest assured that no outside visitors have contact with their stallion.
A stallion owner can have confidence in the care their stallion receives while at our facility. The SBS staff is well experienced in handling and processing a variety of stallions from most all breeds and disciplines. At SBS we have an extensive Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) program for all reproductive services provided by us. The SBS procedures range from cleaning/disinfecting collection equipment to properly handling and loading a frozen semen shipment. Each freeze technician goes through extensive training prior to collecting or freezing a stallion. Our quality control program is the foundation of SBS itself as we want to ensure we produce and distribute a quality product for the equine reproduction community. For more information about our quality control program see our blog article, Quality Control is at the Core of the SBS Difference.
Once we have completed freeze work on a stallion there is still work to be done regarding the semen that has been frozen. Certain countries have different post collection requirements that must be met for the semen to qualify for export. For instance, a country might require the stallion to remain a resident of the collection center after collection, or additional disease testing may be necessary. The SBS export coordinator will create a post collection testing schedule for the stallion to insure the testing is performed on the correct date.
The majority of frozen semen processed by SBS remains in storage at our facilities. The SBS storage and distribution program has the largest bank of equine frozen genetics in the world with over 120,000 doses of equine frozen semen in storage. Also, we send over 2,000 shipments domestically and internationally each year. Our distribution protocols are designed to be as proficient and simple for the stallion owner, mare owner and veterinarian.
The SBS staff is available to answer any questions the stallion owner might have about the semen quality or storage after the semen is frozen. We can assist with breeding contract questions, distribution to mare owners, export shipping, thawing procedures or any other inquires a client might have. The high standard of SBS customer service does not end when the stallion leaves one of our facilities.
Please feel free to contact us for additional information about our services via phone (410-658-3202) or email.