Whilst artificial insemination is not a cheap option there is a general agreement that it possesses a number of distinct advantages over natural breeding.

The main advantage is that the best stallion for your mare can be used irrespective of location. Progressive breeders like to make full use of sires that have proven themselves able to pass on desirable characteristics to their progeny. Mares that cannot travel or have a foal at foot, or mares with an injury not detrimental to foaling but that prevents them from supporting a natural covering can all benefit from AI. More importantly the use of AI can prevent the transmission of infection and lessen the risk of injury to both the stallion and the mare.
Within the UK chilled semen is most commonly used. This involves the semen being collected from the stallion, extended and placed in an Equitainer to be sent to the mare for immediate insemination.

The Equitainer is designed to allow the semen to cool down whilst in transit thus wasting no time. The semen can remain viable for up to 72 hours if kept in this container. Monitoring the mare whilst she is in season is vital to ensure that the insemination is timed correctly. When using chilled semen constant contact with the stallion owner is of great importance as this helps ensure that the semen arrives with the mare for insemination at the optimum time.

By making chilled semen available from a stallion it is possible for the stud to make their stallion accessible to mares based some distance from them. Thus a stallion in John O'Groats can provide semen for a mare in Lands End!

Before despatching chilled semen it is essential that the quality of the semen is checked. For many mare owners the use of chilled or frozen semen can open up a whole new genetic base not previously available to them thus helping to improve their existing stock. In some of the minority breeds where there are very few stallions available to choose from the use of imported semen becomes an option which requires careful consideration.

This article is kindly provided by the AI Centre.
For further information please visit their website -click here

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Updated: October 2005.