Basic Broodmare Management

A healthy, frolicking foal is the result of a well-designed broodmare management program. Although many other factors are involved in the total breeding program, without basic broodmare care and management, conception is much more difficult. By following the discussed broodmare management practices, your chances of producing a live, healthy foal are significantly increased.
Volumes of material have been written on broodmare management. However, much of the material is extremely detailed and is of little use to the average horse owner

The Stallion: Breeding Soundness Examination and Reproductive Anatomy

Stallion owners or potential owners, must be critical of the stallions they use for breeding, taking into account their physical conformation, reproductive anatomy and semen quality in order to continue to introduce and produce the highest quality horses. The following article discusses breeding soundness examinations of the stallion and their importance.


Evaluate your stallion to be sure he is physically ready for the breeding season.

A breeding soundness exam of a stallion includes not only examination of various seminal …

Why Won’t My Mare Get Pregnant? – Webinar

Learn about common problems in the breeding barn and how to increase the chances of getting a mare in foal. Join us in this FREE webcast provided by My Horse University and eXtension HorseQuest.


Mares and foal in pasture

A mare’s fertility can be influenced by a variety of factors including her health, age, and reproductive anatomy. In addition, stallion fertility and technician skills all play an important role in successfully breeding the mare.

Dr. Kathy Anderson, University of Nebraska, presents information on fertility …

Stallion Reproduction

Basically, the role of a breeding stallion is to impregnate mares. This means producing semen containing adequate quality and numbers of spermatozoa to fertilize a mare’s ovum. Spermatozoa are produced daily in the seminiferous tubules of the stallion’s testes. The testes are housed in the protective covering of the scrotum, which functions to regulate the temperature of the testes. Temperature regulation is important because abnormal rises in temperature — such as those caused by injury or infection — will decrease …

Manipulation of the Mare’s Reproductive Cycle

There are several management tools used to bring about the onset of the breeding season or to alter the estrous cycle itself. The most reliable method used to induce the ovulatory season is the use of artificial lights to alter the mare’s perception of day length. The easiest light management program is to use lights at the end of the day to extend the perceived day length (or photoperiod) to 16 hours. This practice entails turning on an artificial light …

Mare Seasonality

The mare is a seasonal breeder with a series of estrous cycle normally occurring the breeding season which coincides with long day lengths. The longest day of the year is June 22 and the shortest is December 22. Therefore mares should reach a peak in their reproductive activity around June 22 and be the least reproductively active in late December.

Anestrous period

The period in which the mare is the least reproductively active is termed the “anestrus” period and typically …

Pasture Breeding Horses


While total conception rates are no less with pasture breeding, most mare owners require specific breeding dates so that expected foaling dates can be accurately calculated. Some breed registries, most notably The Jockey Club, require natural cover. In addition to requirements imposed by registries, some managers prefer natural service because of lower investments in labor and equipment. Conversely, natural matings can be more dangerous because of the differences in mares’ acceptance to a stallion and the stallion’s conduct around them. …

Breeding Horses

The vast majority of stallions are hand-mated naturally or collected for artificial insemination. While total conception rates are no less with pasture breeding, most mare owners require specific breeding dates so that expected foaling dates can be accurately calculated.

Mating Management 

Conception rates are highest when mares with reasonably good fertility are mated to stallions which meet high fertility standards (semen volume, sperm concentration, and percentage of live sperm).

Mares with unknown or poor reproductive histories should be evaluated by …

Evaluation of Stallion Semen

Evaluating Semen Quality 


Keep all equipment used in semen evaluation at 37°C and free of any spermicidal agents. Evaluate each ejaculate to assure the maximum number of normal, progressively motile spermatozoa. The following criteria are used to determine semen quality, total sperm output and insemination dose: volume, concentration, motility and morphology.


Volume is simply the total amount of gel-free semen in a single ejaculate and is usually measured in milliliters.


Concentration is determined by using a hemocytometer or …

Processed Stallion Semen

As reproductive technologies increase, the use of cooled or processed stallion semen is becoming more prominent. However use of processed semen requires certain management procedures. This article discusses the process of using cooled stallion semen, the potential problems, and certain breed restrictions.
Using cooled semen in a breeding program is becoming a much more viable option for many horse producers. It does involve more coordination and organization between mare owner, stallion manager and veterinarian. However, it is a fairly simple