One of the best opportunities that frozen semen offers is the National and international stallions available to breed your mare to. Stallions that may be otherwise unavailable due to distance can now be potential sires. With frozen semen we do need to closely monitor your mare, our vet would scan her approximately every 6 hours to pinpoint as closely as possible her time of ovulation . Because frozen semen may only remain viable for up to six hours after thawing timing of insemination as close to ovulation as possible is essential.
The internationally accepted conception rate is 30% - at AEI we aim to achieve conception rates greater than 75% using frozen semen by carefully monitoring development of the mare's follicles for ovulation time.
FREEZING SEMEN FROM YOUR STALLION
In the last 20 years technology has adapted to allow frozen semen to become a very useful tool in the breeding process. Prior to these advances freezing equine semen was a difficult and uncertain process. Once semen is frozen and stored in liquid nitrogen it will remain viable for many years. This gives the stallion owner and breeder many management options.
What are the Positives of using frozen semen?
- If the stallion is being completed, then his training schedule does not need to be altered for him to be able to have his semen collected and frozen.
- Giving owners interested in breeding an almost worldwide range of stallions to choose from, as distance is no longer a huge issue.
- With horse/horse breeding there are risks of the mare or indeed the stallion being injured, this limits those possibilities.
- Ease of timing, including weekends or public holidays when collection / transportation of chilled semen may not be available.
- Lower risk of disease introduction, with minimal horse/horse contact.
- Ability to protect the genetics of a stallion from being eliminated by injury, illness resulting in sterility or even death.
- The use of frozen semen affords protection from sexually transmitted diseases.
What are some drawbacks to frozen Semen?
One third of stallions do not have semen that can survive the freezing process. A stallion can be fertile in a paddock, but be unable to produce semen of a quality that is able to survive the freezing process.
Assuming that the semen is of high quality and freezes well, when thawed it still has a shorter survival time in the mare’s uterus than good quality fresh or chilled semen.
At the same time as this, the choice of mare is equally as important. The best quality frozen semen is not worthwhile to use in a mare that has reproductive issues. Frozen semen after being thawed is less viable which means the
mare is best inseminated as close as possible to ovulation. To pinpoint the time of ovulation as accurately as possible she would need to be monitored via ultrasound
Will my mare conceive using frozen semen?
There are many different factors that will determine whether the venture is successful for the mare. The monitoring of the cycle of the mare plays a huge part, which comes down to the veterinarian in charge of this. As frozen semen is only viable for up to 6 hours timing is crucial.
Even with optimal timing and good semen quality the internationally accepted conception rate per cycle is still only in the order of 30 – 40%. The fertility of the semen and how well it has responded to the freezing and thawing process also determines the viability of the pregnancy and of course how the mare is managed and how fertile she is..
Is my stallion a Suitable age for freezing Semen?
Age is a factor that needs to be considered when thinking about freezing semen from your Stallion. The quality of Semen does decrease with age (as a general rule) there are always exceptions, to find out if a stallion is suitable is to do a test freeze and thaw to assess semen quality.
How can I choose the optimal time for freezing?
Reproductive performance of a stallion tends to peak in the longer days towards the end of summer which makes these days the best time to collect semen for freezing.
In the cooler months a stallion would have decreased libido, which may make it difficult achieve a collection.
For stallions that are in competition, be aware that prolonged elevated body temperatures can affect the production and viability of semen. For this reason freezing should not be done during a time of peak competition.
How can I prepare my Stallion preparation prior to semen collection for freezing?
Prior to collection, the stallion must deplete the testicles of old or damaged semen. This can be done at home by serving mares. It could also be done at a breeding centre using a phantom mare or artificial vagina. After this the stallion should have a rest of 3 days, which will allow a reserve of fresh semen to build up
Each stallion has a favored freezing method, to ensure you get the best results possible a test freeze and full appraisal of the semen is desirable. This means freezing one or more ejaculates to find the favored freezing method for this stallion, and then thawing the semen to assess its resulting viability.