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