For the past several years, Select Breeders Services has had the honor of assisting the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) in the fulfillment of grants they have been awarded through a USDA supported program called the Quality Samples Program (QSP). This program assists in providing monetary support for the export of livestock genetics from the United States to international markets. Rather than exporting live animals, the export of frozen semen allows for a much larger impact in the genetic pool of foreign countries. Most recently, the destination was the Czech Republic in Eastern Europe. Frozen semen from several stallions was processed at the 6666 Ranch, an SBS Affiliate Laboratory, then exported by Select Breeders Southwest (SBSW) in Aubrey, TX to the Czech Republic. Though there have been many frozen semen shipments of American Quarter Horse stallions to Western Europe, this was the first request from the 6666 Ranch for an Eastern European country and the first shipment SBSW has facilitated to the Czech Republic.
Knowing and keeping track of the concentration, or the number of sperm per milliliter, of each ejaculate for a stallion is very important for a variety of reasons. The concentration of his semen, along with the volume of his ejaculate, is used to determine the total number of sperm he produces in a given collection. These two numbers (volume and concentration) are used to calculate insemination doses. Also, keeping a record of each number can help stallion managers recognize if there are any changes in the reproductive health of the stallion. Slight variations are likely nothing to be concerned about. However, if the number of sperm in the ejaculate varies drastically, from collection to collection or a steady decrease in his total number of sperm over time, one may begin to ask what is causing the change. This information is valuable so that any concerns can be addressed as soon as they arise.