Horse breeding: the different breeding techniques.

Horse breeding: the different breeding techniques.

There are 5 distinct breeding techniques (in addition to embryo transfer): frozen semen, chilled semen, fresh semen, hand breeding, and pasture breeding. Depending on the availability of a stallion, or the fertility of the mare, but also on the regulations of the stud books, breeders will have different possibilities concerning the techniques to be used.

The different breeding conditions:

Frozen semen:

In that case, the semen of the stallion is collected and then frozen in liquid nitrogen at -196°C. When the semen is frozen,  0.5 mL straws with 100 million sperm per mL are created.


Chilled semen:

For a mare to be inseminated in chilled semen, semen is collected from the dummy. The semen is then filtered and diluted into doses. Each dose of 10 to 20 mL contains 200 million sperm. Once diluted, the doses are cooled to 4°C. They cannot be kept for more than 48 hours. The chilled semen can be transported (locally, within the country or even abroad) within 48 hours of harvesting.



Fresh semen:

The process is the same as for chilled semen, with one detail: the doses are not refrigerated. They remain at room temperature and must be used immediately after harvest.


Hand breeding:

As the name suggests, hand breeding does not include artificial insemination. Here the mare and stallion meet and mate. However, both horses are held in hand.


Pasture breeding:

This is practiced in complete freedom, mostly in the meadow, and humans are not involved in the process.


The choice of breeding techniques:

According to a table drawn up by the IFCE (Institut Français du Cheval et de l'Équitation), the fertility of a breeding technique is an element to be taken into account. Indeed :

- the fertility per cycle is 60 to 70% for pasture breeding

- it is 61% for hand breeding

- it is 58% when using fresh semen

- 54% when using chilled semen (12 hours after harvest) and 46% (24 hours after harvest)

- it is 47% when using frozen semen.


The availability of a stallion will have an impact on the breeding technique you use. A stallion for which sport will be a priority will certainly not be available in fresh, chilled semen. In this case, it is likely that only frozen semen will be available. In addition, sport stallions are rarely available for hand and pasture breeding, for reasons of availability but also to protect them from the risks associated with these techniques.


Now you just have to choose the stallions that will meet your expectations on FoalR!