A day at the breeding farm

When Michelle texted me this weekend to tell me that the mares were getting bred on Monday and asked if I wanted to come watch, that was a no brainer. Repro stuff has always been my thing, and this time I actually have some personal involvement. Plus the vet they were using is a really successful repro specialist and I’m a giant nerd about anything breeding related… this was a kid-on-Christmas-morning situation for me.

Hi there

I made the 2 hour trip down to the breeding farm and arrived just as Sadie was being inseminated. Sadie was quite displeased with these proceedings and not shy about making her opinion known, but it got done. They do P&E protocol when breeding with frozen so that they can pinpoint exactly when the mare will ovulate, and time the insemination just right. I won’t bore you with details but if you want to know more, click here.

OMG mom it was so humiliating

After the vet bred Sadie and Lissa, he also had some other stuff to do, so I hung around with Michelle and watched/learned. He did a 16 day pregnancy check on another mare and she had not one but THREE embryos, so he had to pinch two of them. It was really cool to watch him find them, compare them, and then pinch the two less viable ones.

Good embryo on the right side of the screen, pinched embryo on the left side of the screen

Then he checked out a foal that had just been born the night before (by Quaterback), telling us what exactly he looks for with a newborn check. He said that cracked or broken ribs on newborn foals are one of the most undiagnosed issues that he sees, which I thought was interesting but makes sense. After he cleared the foal he laid out and examined the placenta. He pointed out some issues with the placenta itself and a couple of tears, which means that the mare could have retained some and therefore needed treatment.

new bebe!
Sorry if you’re squeamish, I thought it was awesome. He’s pointing to a tear.

Then we went in and looked at all the cool lab equipment: the frozen semen storage tank, the microscope, etc. They had the scope hooked up to a monitor, so we could easily see the sperm swimming around.

This tank holds a lot of really $$$ semen
the lab equipment

Then we went out and saw more BABIES! The chestnut colt is about a month old, by Fursten Look out of a Donnerhall mare.

The filly is less than a week old, a Holsteiner by Cancara out of a Cacique mare. She was super cute, but more shy than the colt.

Then we wandered out into the big mare pasture to give out cookies (a dangerous thing in a herd full of hormonal mares) and so I could say bye to Sadie. She gobbled up everything I had, then followed me all the way back to the gate. Sweet little Sadiebug, she’s a turd but I love her. I told her to do a few headstands to help those swimmers along but she just looked at me like I was stupid. Granted, both of my horses look at me like that all the time.

pretty girl ❤

In 16 days the vet will check to see if she’s pregnant. She had two good follicles in there, so hopefully we at least get one viable embryo!



33 thoughts on “A day at the breeding farm

  1. I love repro stuff too, but then again I grew up on a breeding farm. Imagine your parents buying you a microscope for your 8th birthday, only to have your mother steal it to look at sperm motility. I guess I didn’t mind, I was hooked!


      1. One can understand- even though I’ve been up close and personal with them I was still glad I’d eaten breakfast already before seeing it 🙂 Placentas are scary shit- the last cycle of foals we bred, my mare retained her placenta. She finally expelled it but it was a long, long night.


  2. Everything I can cross is crossed. Breeding is so darn fascinating. I spent a day out at a stallion station and watched all kinds of cool crap, but I think my favorite was an embryo transfer.


  3. I hope everything goes well! Those gorgeous babies make me want one of my own…they look lovely.
    I visited a breeding farm once when they were collecting a stallion. It was certainly an interesting experience, and requires some brave handlers! They were using a tiny little flirt of a shetland pony as the teaser, which was kind of adorable.


  4. I do not want to personally deal with breeding horses, but it’s very cool to learn about the process. Thanks for sharing.


  5. Crossing all my crossables! I too find breeding fascinating, although I’m Jon Snow level knowledgeable about it (i.e. I know nothing). I did take an equine repro course in college where I got to *ahem* collect from a stallion. I wore a white troxel with Sperminator written on the front, and covered with lots of little spermies. I had to grab… things… and put them in the AV while the stallion did his thing. Talk about up close and personal!


  6. I agree, totally fascinating. The placenta photo reminds me that once when I was a kid, I showed up at the lesson barn to find this… hideous, pink, slimy, disgusting, THING lying in the grass by the back door. I had NO idea what it was even though I’d heard that the pregnant mare had foaled. I stifled a scream it was so hideous. Pulled myself together and asked someone WTF it was and then I was intrigued, but at first it was quite a shock to my small self! 😄


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