Here at County Vets, we are able to carry out a full range of stud-work. From advice on breeding your mare to Artificial Insemination with chilled or frozen semen, pregnancy scanning, health tests and certifications and post foaling checks and advice.
A mare is pregnant for on average 330 to 345 days so it is a long time to wait from the time of conception to the time of foaling and it is not without risk to both the mare and the foal. For this reason, it is important to weigh up the pros and cons before embarking on a breeding program.
There are several things to consider before breeding with your mare:
Temperament – is your mare of a good temperament likely to be passed onto her foals. Is she going to be easy to handle after foaling and allow you to handle her foal for vet-checks, foot trimming, halter training etc.
Conformation – only mares with good conformation should be bred with as any conformational defects are likely to be passed onto her offspring
Health – mares with ongoing health problems should not be bred with as the condition may be hereditary or the added stress of carrying a foal may exacerbate the problem and pose a risk to both mare and foal. Speak to one of our vets if you have any doubts about breeding from your mare.
Suitability – does the stallion match up well with your mare, do his strengths counteract your mare’s weaknesses and vice versa. Also check pedigrees and compare with your mares’ as in-breeding is never good!
Temperament – a hot-headed stallion over a fiery mare is likely to lead to a hard to handle youngster so think carefully about what you are aiming to breed and do your homework before choosing a stallion for his looks or pedigree.
Availability – this depends on whether you are using natural service or AI. Some stallions only stand at stud for short periods of time between competitions so this will affect the availability of natural coverage or chilled AI. Less of a problem if using frozen semen as it is stored and usually available at any time in the breeding season. It can be tricky co-ordinating the timing of your mare coming in season with the availability of chilled semen so working closely with your vet and with the stud is vital.
For AI programs, do you have facilities to allow safe rectal ultrasound examination and insemination of your mare (stocks are preferable but we can usually do it over a low stable door, the mare may have to be sedated or twitched for the safety of all involved). If you do not have suitable facilities on your yard or your mare is of a highly strung nature, we may ask you to bring her to the clinic to our stocks.
Do you have the facilities to keep a pregnant mare over the winter. If the foal is due early in the spring, do you have the facilities to foal the mare inside and a large enough loose-box for the mare and foal to stay in.
Do you have secure turn-out facilities (it is very important for the development on the foal to have access to regular, good quality turn-out).
Do you have the ability and assistance to handle the foal from a young age to get it accustomed to being worked with – halter trained, foot care etc.
There is more than just the stud fee to take into consideration when calculating the cost of breeding with your mare. Many studs now operate a “no foal, no fee” policy which means if your mare does not concieve the first season, you will get a free return the following year but the stud fee does have to be paid the first year. Be aware that many of the European studs only give you a half return the following year so you will have to fork out more should you wish to try again.
Veterinary fees can become considerable depending on the type of service/semen you are using. A mare being covered by natural service will need fewer scans than a mare being Artificially Inseminated but will need more tests to check for infectious diseases before going to the stallion.
Speak to one of our vets to discuss the best option for you and our mare and to get an idea of the costs involved.