Quarter Horse Industry Breeding Seminar

Deanna Buschert Photography

Breeding the Fastest Horse, an industry seminar to be hosted by the Quarter Horse Racing Industry Development Program (QHRIDP) has been rescheduled to Saturday, November 26th at the Ajax Convention Centre.

“The Program has received very positive feedback on the seminar agenda and the guest speakers who will be presenting,” said Program Coordinator Sandy Anthony. “We are very pleased to have as a speaker Dan Lucas, the leading Quarter Horse breeder in North America.” The date and location of the seminar has been changed in order to maximize attendance, both from breeders within the Quarter Horse racing industry and from breeders new to, or curious about, breeding for the Quarter Horse programs.

Seminar will be held at: Ajax Convention Centre
550 Beck Cres Ajax, ON L1Z 1C9

Date: Saturday, November 26th, 2011
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Topics will include:

· Planned breeding, herd improvement and crosses that work for racing;
· Herd management practices to improve conception and increase the chances of full-term pregnancy;
· Factors affecting fertility and early conception in the broodmare;
· Herd management practices to improve the chance of full-term pregnancy
· Marketing stallions
· Breeding racehorses for the Ontario racing programs.

The Quarter Horse Racing Industry Development Program is administered by the Ontario Racing Commission. For information on other initiatives supported by the Program, please visit the Quarter Horse section of the Ontario Racing Commission website at www.ontarioracingcommission.ca

A full agenda for the seminar is available upon request. Registration for the seminar is required. The cost to attend is $39.00. To register please contact:
Sandy Anthony
Program Coordinator

Breed for Speed

A seminar on horse breeding practices is on the agenda next week in Fort Erie. The seminar will be of benefit to all interested horse breeders, particularly those with an interest in Quarter Horses. The session will be held:

Friday, October 7, 2011
1:00 p.m.
Bridgewater Country Club
700 Gilmore Road
Fort Erie, ON L2A 5M4

Topics will include:

· Planned breeding, herd improvement and crosses that work for racing;
· Herd management practices to improve conception and increase the chances of full-term pregnancy;
· Factors affecting fertility and early conception in the broodmare;
· Marketing stallions; and,
· Breeding racehorses for the Ontario racing programs.

Keynote speakers:

· Dan Lucas of Lucas Racing Inc. in Newmarket, Maryland, USA
· Dr. Keith Betteridge, Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Guelph

The seminar will be followed by a social and dinner. Tickets for the event are $69.00 and include the seminar and dinner. Pre-registration is required through the Quarter Horse Racing Industry Development Program at 416-213-0520.

The following day, Saturday, October 8th, is opening day for the October Quarter Horse meet at Fort Erie Race Track and will feature the $150,000 added Ontario Jackpot Futurity and the $150,000 added Ontario Jackpot Derby.

The Quarter Horse Racing Industry Development Program is administered by the Ontario Racing Commission. For information on other initiatives supported by the Program, please visit the Quarter Horse section of the Ontario Racing Commission website at www.ontarioracingcommission.ca or by contacting:

Sandy Anthony
Program Coordinator

Enhance Your Stud’s Repro-Efficiency

Today, guest blogger, Mandy Paul, from Breeders Choice helps maximize your stallion’s reproductive efficiency with advice on lubricants. Breeders Choice is a great source for equine breeding equipment and supplies and is renown in the equine breeding industry as a recognized expert in equine semen collection, processing and shipping, both cooled and frozen.

So without further adieu, I’ll let Mandy take it away…


Breeding horses can be frustrating when you think you are doing everything right and you still can’t seem to get some mares pregnant. As stallion owners know, fertility is everything. Some stallions are born with super sperm – so good in fact, if you left it on the counter for a day and put it into a 20-year-old mare, she would get pregnant. But then there are those stallions that need all of the help they can get. The overall costs of semen collection, shipping and artificial insemination warrant the use of products that ensure the best sperm function possible during each step of the process.

The equine breeding industry has come a long way in a relatively short period of time, but we are still learning. We have discovered that some products we were initially told were the way to go, have now been proven to be harmful to our breeding program’s fertility rates. I feel the biggest improvements have come along in extenders and lubricants.

In this blog entry, I would like to focus on lubricants. Some of the major brands out in regular use in the breeding shed are Priority Care, K-Y, H-R and Surgilube. However, now there is a newer lubricant that is up-staging all of the others. Pre-Seed was developed for humans and now, a version is made especially for horses. Pre-Seed is the only lubricant formulated with the right osmolality and ion concentration for breeding horses; a buffer to ensure that pH remains stable; and an antioxidant to protect sperm from free radical damage during handling.

Additionally, Pre-Seed claims that it is the only lubricant clinically proven not to harm stallion sperm from the time of collection, through 48 hours of cooled storage. Independent studies have shown that this product helps to maintain better sperm function than other lubricants and does not interfere with the ability of sperm to fertilize eggs or support embryo development.

Scientific literature has well-documented the damage caused to sperm by common lubricants. As breeders, we spend hundreds of dollars to ensure great fertility and unfortunately, a small bottle of lubricant can get in the way of great results. Therefore, in my opinion, I think we owe it to our stallions and mares to lube up with the best. At Breeders Choice, we have gotten amazing feedback on this product with vets saying things like, “Pre-Seed has worked great on stallions with tail piece problems,” and “Breeding horses is expensive, so why not spend a little bit more for greater results.”

If you would like more information on Pre-Seed and some scientific data check out: http://www.preseedvet.com

If you would like more information about Breeders Choice, visit: www.BreedersChoiceOnline.com

4 Great Breeding Products

Are you looking for a few good products to help you maximize your efficiency in the breeding lab this season? Here are four that might help you along.

All-In-One Water Bath

If your lab space is limited or if your budget can't accommodate a pricey slide warmer, an incubator and a water bath, then the All-In-One system from Breeder’s Choice might be the perfect solution. Inside a stainless steel basin, Lab Armor aluminum beads are used to provide a concurrent thermal and antimicrobial activity that shield the semen and personnel from invading organisms. Thermally, the beads can heat or cool like water in any standard water bath. Or you can also add a goblet of water to the basin to thaw your frozen semen, warm your slides, extender, collection bottles and semen all in one place.

High Definition Microscope screen

Do you have trouble focusing on slides through the microscope lens? If so, you’re not alone. These days, many new microscopes come with the ability to connect to any flat panel display for larger viewing. Be it a computer screen or 15” to 20” flat panel tv monitor, plugging in the additional display allows for larger slide inspection, possible measurement or even picture taking. A external monitor offers a better, brighter quality image which is extremely beneficial for determining semen motility. Many monitors can be purchased at your neighborhood Best Buy or Radioshack, just be sure to purchase a microscope with direct connect to a monitor first.

Extender Dispenser

With the Smart Dispenser from Minitube Canada, never again will you have to worry if you have added too much or too little semen extender to valuable semen shipments. This system is designed to dispense semen extender with accuracy and calibration is not required. The system comes with a controller and scale and a pump can be purchased separately. Compatible with IDEE laboratory software or as a stand alone system.

Fleece Phantom Cover

If you have a stallion that has a tendency to cut his knees while mounting the breeding dummy (the canvas can be pretty rough at times), a fleece phantom cover may be able to protect his precious skin. It provides added comfort for your stallion, plus it can protect your phantom fabric from shoe cuts. Covers are available with or without “hips” to enhance the stallion’s support when mounted.

Breeding Truths & Folklore, PT 2

Yesterday My Stable Life featured two common breeding debates and with the help of Dr. Chris Berezowski, determined if they were myth or folklore. Today we continue the discussion…

3. Mares can display estrus behavior during pregnancy.

“Yes, this can definitely happen,” proclaims Dr. Berezowski. Unfortunately, when it does happen it can startle the mare owner, especially if the person is new to the breeding game. “The reason for that is because during pregnancy, progesterone is the main hormone responsible for keeping the mare in her pregnancy. Then, the placenta is producing high levels of estrogen which can cause mares to act like that. The signs the mare displays that borderline true heat are due to the high levels of estrogen produced.”

A pregnant mare is actually capable of winking, peeing, squealing and displaying strong signs of heat despite being late in gestation.

4. Breeding stallions should be housed with other stallions.

“There aren’t any negatives to harem housing,” said Dr. Berezowski, referring to the practice of stabling stallions with mares directly around them. “The only concern would be if the horses weren’t behaving themselves. Harem housing actually poses some benefits for a stallion because he’s always having a bit of stimulation. If you have two studs across the aisle from each other, one may be more dominant than the other. Of course, this all depends on the studs but if there is a weaker, more submissive stallion, as a result of being housed next to a more dominant stallion, he will have lower testosterone levels.”

5. Breeding via live cover is best.

Many people think conception rates are improved with live cover, the act of mating between a stallion and mare, either through pasture breeding or hand-breeding. Although your odds for conception are excellent with live cover, your chances are as good, or nearly as good, with artificial insemination and frozen semen because today’s technology is becoming so advanced.

“And truthfully, you can’t say conceptions are the same across the board with every stallion,” Dr. Berezowski begins. “Even with live cover because some need the extra collection. Or they must have extender added, etc. Some really need to be centrifuged.”

Dr. Berezowski states that a normal, average stallion would probably produce his highest number of progressively motile sperm with live cover, at any one time. There may be a slight decrease with semen collected for artificial insemination, but generally, both should be on par.

“If however, you collect him and cool his semen for 24 hours, or freeze it, you will definitely have a decrease with that,” he says.

Chris Berezowski is an equine reproductive specialist at Moore & Co. veterinary clinic in Balzac, Alberta. He received specialty training at Texas A &  M University and prior to that, went to the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Breeding the Older Mare, PT 2

Welcome back folks to the discussion we began here at My Stable Life regarding the breeding of older mares. Yesterday in Breeding the Older Mare, PT 1, we talked a bit about the importance of uterine health and how things change over time, in the aging mare. Today, let’s examine a few of the other challenges that can plague the older broodmare.

Contamination and/or infection during breeding can cause unsuccessful breedings in all ages of mares because inflammation in the uterus can destroy the semen or the embryo. Endometritis occurs when there is inflammation of the uterine lining. All mares experience some degree of inflammation after being bred (in response to semen, which is a foreign substance to the uterus), but most mares clear this inflammation within 24 hours. Healthy mares can put enough of an immune response forward to deal quickly with inflammation and any bacteria that were introduced with breeding, well ahead of arrival of the fertilized egg traveling down the fallopian tube. But in some mares, especially older mares, inflammation, uterine fluid, or infection remains, so the embryo does not survive and the mare comes back into heat.

In older mares, contamination or infection is also commonly caused due to poor anatomical conformation which in turn causes the reduced efficiency of the anatomical barriers that help keep infection and urinary, fecal, and air-born contaminants out of the reproductive tract.

Past foaling traumas or Caslick’s operations can cause the vulva to tilt and sink inwards, allowing urine or feces to pool in the area and contaminate her reproductive tract. Or it may be as simple as the lips of the vulva not sealing properly. Additionally, the vestibulovaginal fold, a fold of tissue about a third of the way between the lips of the vulva and the cervix can become nonfunctional due to anatomical changes. And lastly, mares who have experienced trauma to the cervix from difficult foalings in the past may not be able to form a tight cervical seal any longer to prevent bacterial infections.

Numerous foalings can also be problematic in that it results in the stretching of support ligaments for the uterus and repeated damage to innervation of the uterus. That in turn, contributes to poorer uterine clearance because innervation is what causes the muscles to contract.

Conversely, not foaling enough can also be a problem. Many people believe that a mare who is not in foal every year, can affect her fertility. If the mare goes through multiple heat cycles, sometimes the wear and tear to her uterus becomes more severe as opposed to keeping her pregnant. Every time a mare comes into heat and the cervix relaxes, a little bit of contaminant goes into the uterus from the vagina. A pregnant mare doesn’t have these multiple cycles, so you don’t have that little bit of wear and tear occurring during each one of those reproductive cycles.

That’s it for today. MSL will be back next week with more on the topic of breeding older mares. Until then, stay warm!

Payout Increase

In 2010, horse owners showing American Quarter Horse Association Incentive Fund-nominated horses earned more money per point than in 2009.

More than $3 million will be divided among nominated foals that earned a total of 125,706.5 points – making the payout $24.01 per point. This payout is a $2.75 increase from 2009’s $21.26 per-point payout, and the increase is primarily due to the elimination of green and introductory points.

“We are excited to offer a higher payout this year to our Incentive Fund participants, and we are glad the program has remained strong and successful despite a wavering economy,” said AQHA Executive Vice President Don Treadway Jr. “Enroll your stallions and eligible foals in this money-making program to increase the value of your horses and get paid back for their success in the arena.”

The Incentive Fund is a multimillion-dollar program involving stallion and foal nominations with pay backs to the stallion nominators, foal nominators and owners of the competing horses. The program is owned, managed and operated by AQHA.

The program utilizes the most familiar and proven concept in the American Quarter Horse Show industry –  points won at AQHA shows. Each point earned at AQHA-approved shows in eligible open and/or amateur classes by an Incentive Fund-nominated horse will be worth a specific amount.

For a stallion’s offspring to be eligible, he must be enrolled by November 30, prior to each breeding season, at a fee based on the number of mares on his previous year’s breeding report. This annual enrollment makes his foals, resulting from that breeding year, eligible to be nominated into the program.

Foals by these stallions are eligible to be nominated into the program during their first 12 months of age for a one-time, “for-life” nomination fee, provided the foal has not earned 1/2 point or more in an AQHA-approved event. To learn more about the enrollment fees, visit America’s Horse Daily.

Border Crossing News

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirmed that import permits will continue to be required for the importation of semen and embryos from the U.S. into Canada during 2011. These import restrictions are a result of Contagious Equine Metritis (CEM) in the U.S.

Canadians seeking timely information regarding import requirements are advised to use the CFIA’s Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) at


Instructions for Canadian Importers of Semen and Embryos from the US into Canada:

  1. Notify immediately the companies/agents/owners in the U.S. that you wish to acquire semen or embryos from and inform them that a USDA-endorsed zoosanitary export certificate MUST accompany all shipments from the U.S. to Canada. For more information and to obtain the required certificate, please visit:http://www.aphis.usda.gov/regulations/vs/iregs/animals/downloads/ca_eq_se.pdf
  2. Before semen is shipped, importers in Canada must obtain an import permit from the CFIA. To download an Import Permit Application Form for Live Animals, Semen, Embryos, Animal Products and By-Products, visit the CFIA website at the following link: http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/for/pdf/c5083perimpe.pdf

Down South Dispersal Sales

As reported on our Facebook page yesterday, the Babcock Ranch Dispersal Sale scheduled for Oct. 14, is now fast-tracked to an “Emergency Dispersal” by order of the court. The original sale has been cancelled. A full 200 horses are selling to the highest bidder in a one-lot sale. Deadline for offers is noon, Friday, Sept. 24. Offers will be presented at a hearing tentatively be scheduled for next week.  Bidders can be present at the hearing, and a 20% deposit will be required by the Trustee prior to the hearing. The amended inventory now includes the stallions Trashadeous and Cowboy Smarts. There is also a large number of frozen semen doses available on auction for both of these stallions – 469 for Trashadeous and 295 for Cowboy Smarts. A separate offer may be made for these holdings. See details at Professional Auction Services.

Meanwhile in the pleasure horse industry, a major contender, McWhirter Quarter Horses, located in Nebraska and home to such stallions as Absolute Asset and Absolute Investment held a major dispersal this past weekend, selling off just under 90 horses. While their 1995 “designer gene” stallion, Absolute Investment was consigned to the sale, he was passed out at $92,000.

Son of The Investor, the stallion Absolute Investor has a stud fee of $2,500, and was passed out of the McWhirter Dispersal Sale at $92,000.

Total sale revenue amounted to $397,700 at the McWhirter Dispersal, bringing an average of $4,624.42. High seller was a 2002 mare, Shes An Encore, by Good Asset, and bred to Absolute Investment, who sold for $23,000. Yearlings ranged from $1,500 (son of Absolute Investment), to the high seller of $7,200, a gray gelding by Absolute Investment. Two-year-olds ranged from $1,400 for an Absolute Investment gelding to $14,000 for an Absolute Investment gelding.

Results of the sale are possibly a good marker for what pleasure horses are worth in the market this fall.

With all of these dispersal sales currently in motion down south, it’s seriously tempting to head down and gather a few to bring home. However, here in Canada, a positive outcome of this for Canadian buyers is there are a great many horses for sale here now as well, for very reasonable prices. And we still have two major sales of our own coming up – including the Western Horse Sale, to be held Friday, October 1st, at the Westerner during the Canadian Supreme as well as the Alberta Quarter Horse Breeders Group Fall Select Sale, to be held Nov. 6 at Northlands in Edmonton. In addition, several production sales are set to be completed this month and next. Be sure to check them all out in Fall Sale Guide in the September issue of Western Horse Review.