Breeding a Performance Mare

October 3, 2005 (published) | December 15, 2015 (revised)

If you have a performance mare who is doing well and you would like a foal out of her, you can decide to lay her off a year for the pregnancy, but most folks do not want to do that. An option is embryo transfer in which you breed the mare, and then one week after breeding, flush the embryo out and place it in a recipient mare to carry the pregnancy. This procedure still may require a few weeks off training because exercising mares in a warm environment seems to decrease fertility. The other downside of embryo transfer is the cost, as it usually runs about $5000; this is a lot more than a normal breeding but if the mare is really good and you don’t want to miss a performance season, then embryo transfer may be an option. .

Another option, even if your mare has a problem with her uterus or ovaries, is called oocyte transfer. This technique is used in mares that cannot ovulate, have a blockage of the oviduct so the egg cannot enter the uterus, or in cases in which the mare has a severe uterine infection or uterine damage. In this technique, the egg or oocyte is removed from the ovary with a needle prior to the time of ovulation. The mare that is to receive the egg is bred and the egg is surgically placed in her oviduct. This technique is obviously not inexpensive and is usually around $10,000. So if you have a performance mare that you would like to breed but do not want to miss a performance season, these are two viable options.

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