Breeding Explained

Greenacres Stud



Covering at home or at the stud?

The safest and most popular option is a stay at the stud, in the hands of experts who will be around if there are problems.

The new arrival has 24 hrs to settle in before teasing commences the next day.

1. Teasing. This the process whereby the mare is tested for being in-season. A stallion is put in her presence and if she holds her tail up and to one side this is the mating posture. Teasing takes place everyday until the mare is ready for covering.

2. Vet Inspection. A cervical swab is taken by the vet as soon as the mare comes into season to check for infections which, if present, are treated by antibiotics.

3. Covering. This is done either naturally or by A1 and some mares may need covering twice in one season to ensure they conceive.

4. Out-of-season Scan. Your mare, once she is out of season, is scanned 16 days after her last service to check she's pregnant. If positive, your mare may go home. But, you may prefer to keep the horse at stud until your vet can do the 28-day scan, a much more certain check on pregnancy; and it has the added bonus of it being safer for your mare to travel. A second covering only takes place if your mare comes back into season or is not pregnant after the first scan.

5. Walk In, Walk Out. Thoroughbred breeders often prefer this. The mare, when in season, travels to the stud, is covered, and returns home immediately thus avoiding stud fees. But, if the mare doesn't conceive she has to return for a second covering. This 'quicky' procedure is much more stressful for the mare.

6. Home 'Covering' and at A1 Centre. Availability of frozen or chilled semen, gives horse owners two further options: home covering and covering at A1 Centre or Stud. Both methods employ artificial insemination using frozen or chilled semen from the stallion of your choice. The semen is obtained from the stallion using an artificial vagina. The semen is then mixed with nutrient under the beady eye of a laboratory technician and if everything is deemed OK it is either put straight into the mare if she is in season or chilled to 4C and sent to the recipient vet or A1 Centre. Or it might conceivably be frozen to 196C and stored until required.

Home covering is now quite popular. The cost of the semen is generally the same as the stud fees but you have to allow for vet's fees and the costs of collecting and packaging the semen. The other alternative, A1, allows you to take your mare to a centre where she is inseminated thus cutting down on travel. Sexually transmitted diseases are avoided because the mare and stallion don't meet; and conception rates are similar to natural covering.

7. Surrogate Mother. Owners of competition mares often use surrogate mothers so the the mares can go on competing. This is what happens. The fertilized egg or embryo is removed from the mare seven days after insemination and transferred to a surrogate mother which carries the foal until birth. The Thoroughbred industry forbids artificial insemination or embryo transfer.

8.Pre-Stud Check. Get your vet to make a pre-stud check if this is your mare's first time breeding. Plan well in advance of the spring breeding season. You will need to supply the stud with a vaccination certificate for flu and tetanus and proof she is free from infectious diseases, like Equine Herpes, Equine Viral Arteritis and Contagious Equine Metritis. As mares tend to live out at stud make sure yours is roughed off before you take her to stud. Some studs may also ask you to remove the hind shoes.

9. No Results No Fee. Find out from the stud what terms they offer if there is no foal by October 1st.A full or partial refund of the stud fee is one option used, the other no foal, free return whereby you are offered a free covering with the same stallion the next year. In both cases you will be expected to provide a vet's certificate to prove the mare isn't in foal.


     Index Page The Decisions Covering Mare Workload Foaling





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