Stallions who produce exceptional competition horses often have their semen frozen. They want to preserve their genetics so that they can continue to breed outstanding horses.
Stallion semen is emitted in a series of 4-7 pulsatile “jets”. The first jet is sperm-poor, and the following 3 are sperm-rich.
Cool-shipped semen can be delivered to mares locally or shipped overnight, so location is not a limitation. However, it can cost more than fresh semen.
Stallion owners who wish to breed their mares with a certain horse for a large return on investment often choose to freeze the stallion’s semen. This allows the stallion to be used in any part of the world and is a great way to get the best genetics from the horse. This process requires special equipment, and the cost of the procedure will depend on how much you want to store.
To collect the sperm, a stallion is mounted on a dummy mare and semen is collected in an artificial vagina (AV). The AV simulates the natural reproductive system of the female and allows for more accurate analysis of the spermatozoa for motility and concentration.
The sperm is then analyzed to determine its viability and then placed in liquid or frozen form. Frozen semen is stored in liquid nitrogen and can be kept indefinitely. This type of semen is also known as “cryopreservation.”
It is important to freeze the sperm correctly so that it has a high success rate when used for insemination. This is because the freezing process removes seminal plasma from the sperm cells, which can lead to a delayed uterine reaction and reduce pregnancy rates. To avoid this, your veterinarian should make sure that the frozen semen is diluted with a sufficient amount of extender to preserve seminal plasma.
Stallions with outstanding performance records are often frozen to preserve their genetic line. This helps ensure that they continue to produce outstanding horses in the future. This process can also help to prevent certain breeds from going extinct. It can also make it easier for stallions to impregnate mares.
The process involves freezing horse semen in liquid nitrogen to prevent deterioration. The semen is filtered to separate the gel-fraction and then mixed with a special freezing extender to increase longevity. The mixture is then placed into straws and frozen in liquid nitrogen using a specific method. Once the sperm is frozen, it can be stored indefinitely and used at any time.
It is important to note that the success rate of AI in horses can vary depending on the type of semen and the mare. Cooled semen requires more careful monitoring by a veterinarian to inseminate the mare at the correct time of ovulation. It can also have a higher incidence of uterine reactions that lead to decreased pregnancy rates.
The main advantage of frozen semen is that it eliminates the need to rely on stallion location and adhering to a breeding schedule. Frozen semen also allows a stallion to inseminate more mares at once through artificial insemination. This can improve the breeding profitability of a stud farm.
The quality of a stallion’s semen will determine the success of artificial inseminations. A high-quality stallion can be expected to achieve a per-cycle pregnancy rate of 60% or higher. The stallion’s fertility will be evaluated before he is deemed suitable to sell fresh semen. Several factors are taken into consideration when determining the success of fresh semen, including the stallion’s health and breeding history, the stallion’s sperm count and motility on arrival and the type of insemination used.
The best time to collect fresh semen is within 24 hours of a mare’s projected ovulation date. This window can be determined by the veterinarian through repeated ultrasound evaluations of the mare’s ovaries. The semen is collected through a lubricated, pre-warmed artificial vagina (AV) following stimulation of the stallion.
The sperm collected is immediately separated into two aliquots. One is used for testing sperm motility, viability, and mitochondrial activity and the other for seminal plasma. The latter is up to 98% of the voluminous ejaculate and contains several chemical components that can affect the quality of the sperm.
Frozen semen is a valuable tool for horse breeders who want to maximize their chances of success with artificial insemination (AI). This technique allows a stallion to impregnate many mares at once and gives them the opportunity to be successful even if they cannot physically reach the mares. This also helps horse breeders save money on travel expenses and time away from the farm.
To prepare frozen semen, the sperm is collected and centrifuged. The resulting concentrate is then divided into straws and frozen in liquid nitrogen. The straws can be kept in the freezer indefinitely and used when needed. The frozen straws are often more expensive than fresh semen, but the extra expense may be worthwhile if you want to increase your chances of success with AI.
Whether frozen or fresh, cooled or uncooled, the quality of the sperm and the methods of insemination are crucial to success rates with AI. The sperm needs to be carefully handled and transported to prevent any damage or loss during transport. It is essential to ensure that the sperm is delivered within an optimal window of insemination, which is usually 24 hours before the mare is expected to ovulate. This window can be predicted by a veterinarian through repeated ultrasound evaluations of the mare’s follicles. This will allow the vet to recommend a collection schedule and order the semen from the stallion before ovulation is projected.