For years breeders of larger sized horse breeds have taken advantage of using artificial insemination for their horse breeding farms. Unfortunately, breeders of small equine have mistakenly been told that AI is not effective in Miniature Horses and ponies.
I recently had the opportunity to do an interview with Sally Shaffer on the effectiveness of AI in small equine. Shaffer owns an equine reproduction facility named Autumn Lane Farm in Thornville Ohio.
Shaffer reports that AI is very effective in getting Miniature Horses and Shetland pony mares in foal. The key to success is having a knowledgeable veterinarian or horse person that can inseminate the mare on the right day of her cycle. When the mare is correctly inseminated the average success rate is the same as the rate in large equine. Another key point is to collect the stallion and ship the semen at the appropriate time so that it arrives in sync with the mare’s cycle.
The success rate also depends on the fertility of the stallion and how his semen reacts to the extender used to store the semen. I recently had Shaffer collect and test my American Shetland stallion to see if he was a viable candidate for AI. His test results were very good with high motility even at day three after collection.
Artificial Insemination Benefits
Using AI can open up new avenues to breeders of small equine to easily introduce new bloodlines to their herds, without the hassle of transporting a mare or purchasing a new stallion. When the cost of maintaining a stallion or transporting a mare across country is taken into consideration, the price of AI is actually quite reasonable.
Another benefit of using AI is that the mare and stallion never meet which excludes injuries that can occur to either the stallion or mare, during a live breeding.
For stallion and mare owners, utilizing AI can insure that neither the stallion nor mare becomes infected by a hidden reproductive disease such as equine Herpes.
Lastly, one stallion collection can result in enough semen to breed an average of 8 mares in a live breeding or 4 mares by shipped artificial insemination.
AI costs in my area run about $100.00 to collect and test a stallion, $35.00 to inseminate a mare and $50.00 for semen picked up at facility. Shipping the semen FedEx next day delivery is approximately $125.00. Added to that is the actual cost of the stallion breeding fee. These prices can vary according to location and facilities used to collect the stallion and inseminate the mare.
Many people mistakenly think that AI can only be done by a veterinarian. There are now many equine facilities that have on site stallion collection and mare insemination which can cut down on the cost of implementing an AI program for your farm.