Preparing a Stallion for Collection
By Dr. Juan C. Samper, DVM, PHD, DIPL. ACT
Q: I have a new stallion that I hope to offer cooled and frozen semen from. What do I need to do to prepare him for collection?
A: Starting a stallion is perhaps the most important aspect of breeding management. The first few experiences the stallion has will determine what he will be like later on. There are many stallions that become unruly and dangerous for breeding and housing due to mistakes that were made at the very beginning.
The first exposures to a tease mare and to a dummy mount will teach the stallion what is wrong, what is right, and what he can get away with. Teaching him that he needs to be patient and to accept being washed is critical.
Once those lessons are taught and reinforced, the stallion’s semen should be evaluated to determine how many sperm he has and how many are alive. In addition, we examine how long the sperm live and if his semen is suitable for shipping or cooling. Some stallions produce a lot of sperm on a daily basis but they do not get rid of it because they do not breed on a regular basis. The capacity of the stallion to store sperm for long periods of time varies between stallions. In some, the first collection might be very good while with others it could be very “rusty” and of poor quality, so the evaluation of the stallion must be done when the “rusty load” has been eliminated.
This article was originally published in the April 2011 issue of Canadian Horse Journal.