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Breeding / Reproduction

Beyond Genetics: The Importance of Foetal Nutrition

July 2018

When horses are bred to be ‘genetic superstars’, but fail to live up to their owners’ and trainers’ expectations, the questions that often arise are:   Did I choose the best bloodlines? Am I feeding my equine athlete all the recommended feeds and micro nutrients they require?  Have I got the best trainer, farrier, vet?  Do I need to have my horse regularly massaged or acupunctured?  The reality, however, is that it might be too late for your equine superstar... 

Embryo Transfer: Playing God or Employing Good Science?

June 2018

The practice of embryo transfer is becoming more and more accessible to breeders as a way of obtaining offspring from mares who might be compromised through age, fertility problems or injury in their ability to produce a healthy foal, or from those who still have an active competition career and can’t afford the ‘time off’ for active pregnancy. It is also becoming an important ‘life raft’ in the preservation of rare breeds.

Mare and Foal Nutrition Impacts Lifelong Health

July 2018

Problems associated with excess body condition are well known among horse owners and include insulin resistance, laminitis, osteoarthritis and exercise intolerance. Recent research also shows the health of offspring of overweight mares may also be compromised. Studies show, for example, excess maternal nutrition during pregnancy can alter glucose and lipid (fat) metabolism in foals until 160 days of age, and another study reported a higher incidence of osteochondrosis (OC) in foals born to dams that were fed concentrates during gestation, rather than forage only.

Breeding for the Better

September 2017

Breeding a foal is a decision that requires careful planning and should never be taken lightly. The first question to seriously consider is: Why do you want to breed a foal?  Unfortunately, even with the best intentions and hopes, many breeders worldwide are simply contributing to the horse overpopluation reflected by the large number of horses that are ‘unwanted’ or considered ‘wastage’ of the various horse industries. 

The Ups and Downs of Horse Breeding

August 2017

Breeding your own horses is an option many horse owners aim to try at some stage. Most owners have a mare that they want to breed from. However, very few owners decide to manage and educate a stallion with the prospect of using him as a sire. This article answers many frequently asked questions that relate to both the mare owner and the future stallion owner. 

Series: Managing your Broodmare


Caring for the Mare After Foaling

August 2016

Every breeding season, there are a multitude of articles written focusing on the health and wellbeing of the foal, but what about the mare? As Dr Katelyn McNicol from WestVETS Animal Hospital and Equine Reproduction Centre explains, there are just as many potential health concerns surrounding the mare post-foaling, some of which can be rapidly fatal. My mare has just foaled, do I need to call a vet? 

Foaling Emergencies

January 2016

Having a foal on the way is very exciting and, although most foalings go ahead without a hitch, it is vital to be able to recognise a problem early. It is important to understand the normal foaling process, recognise problems and know when to contact your veterinarian for assistance. This could mean the difference between saving the mare and foal, or losing one or both.

Equine Castration

January 2016

Gelding; the fastest way to loose two stone that you, or indeed your colt, will never put back on! The list of jokes associated with this common procedure is long and varies from a ‘Dad-joke’ level to the utterly unprintable. 

The Importance of the Dam Line in Horse Breeding

December 2015

New research shows that, as well as performance, the dam line influences gestation length and the filly to colt ratio. The findings could help breeders choose and better manage their broodmares.  Many horse breeders place great importance on the stallion when establishing a breeding line, but often, it is the maternal lineage or dam line that plays a crucial role. While other studies have shown the influence of the dam’s line on the offspring’s performance in racing and other sports, there had been no research into how it affects the reproductive traits of mares. 


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