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Breeding - General
  
Experts Susanne Hassler
Scott Hassler

Questions (For answers, scroll down or click on question)

If a young horse was almost constantly stabled in its first few years, what would be the affect on his conformation?

Is there a cooled semen extender that prolongs its life span to more than three or four days?

I just purchased a pony from Germany. She has two different brands on her. I would like to know what they mean and if they tell me her breed. Where can I get information on these? (Her papers are in German)

What is the youngest colts can be castrated without adverse affects in development?

Can you give me information on breeding systems of german sport horses - system specifics, such as aims, objectives, benefits, disadvantages, future prospects, etc.? 

Where can I get a color scheme? I would like to know what breeding a bay with a grey will throw?

Are there any web sites out there that give scientific information on foal imprinting?

When can a mare begin working after foaling?

I have a 4 year old very large mare that I have tried Ai x5 (2 different fertile studs) all but one with great follicle present at insemination, gone the next day, excellent sperm. No luck. My vet doesn't give me much feedback about where to go next. Everything seems to look and progress normally. What work up would be indicated at this point or should I try live cover?

I have a miniature horse bred in April. She has had no signs of being in heat until the last of July. She went through a few days of whinnying and backing up to a gelding. No urine spray or other usual signs of being in heat. Is this normal if horse is truly bred?

My 2 year old Appendix QH filly has a simple goiter. Have seen no signs of being in season. Now feeding 2 lbs. Gro and Win with hay/grass/access to iodized salt. Vets don't seem concerned, coat good, etc. Should I worry re future fertility? Test thyroid at this point?

I have purchased a registered spotted saddle horse and was told I could possibly register it as a Tennessee Walking horse also. How do I go about doing this?

Reg. colt born 6/6/00. Went to get the breeders certificate and was told that we owed money for previous training and showing that was never done. Can they hold back on certificate? Their issue is different than breeding money.

I have purchased a weanling colt that I will be bringing home in August at 5 months of age. He will be with a goat as a companion but will not be getting another horse until spring. Will the colt miss out on a lot not being part of a "horse" herd for 7-8 months? Is a goat a suitable companion for him?

Any ideas on what I will get from my Appaloosa mare with a paint stallion?

I had my mare bred 2 weeks ago, she is now spraying urine when she gets excited or nervous. She was covered enough that we believe she is pregnant. Is this urination a serious problem?

I have a 14 year old Hanoverian mare that has been on daily Regumate for 2-3 years. Regumate helps keep her comfortable and happy while she is in training. I hope to breed her next year. Will the years of Regumate affect her ability to have a pregnancy or healthy foal? Uterine condition and conformation are very good.

How do I find out about the German Hanoverian bloodlines? I am interested in buying a Hanoverian mare from Germany and I would like to know if she meets the criteria to be a premier mare.

Does a mare that is in heat usually produce milk?

I have a newborn Appaloosa colt that has blue eyes. Both parents have brown eyes and he does not have paint in him as far as I know. Have you ever seen a purebred Appaloosa with blue eyes or is there something wrong with my baby? He can see quite well.

Can you explain the difference between hotbloods, warmbloods, and coldbloods?

I am considering purchasing a 2 year old Quarter Horse mare that currently measures 14.2 H at the withers. Do you think this horse will get any taller?

My one month old is having diarrhea -- had it at the mare's foal heat and was told this normal. But, it is too early for the mare to be in heat again. What can I do to correct this? Was told to use 1 oz. Pepto Bismol twice a day at foal heat, but this didn't seem to do much. Is this a concern? I am a first time horse owner and foal owner.

I have recently retired a 9 year old show jumping mare and I want to breed her. She is registered British Warmblood and her sire is Dutch Courage, a well documented graded stallion. The only info about her dam is her name is Irish Silk. I am told this means my mare has "white papers" and cannot be graded as a broodmare, although her foal will be "papered". How can I proceed to get my mare registered? Can you suggest any literature that will assist in my understanding of Breeding Registration papers?

Could you give me a brief description on hand mating? Is a lubricant needed after the genitals are washed?

What am I looking for to determine if my mare is in heat? What are the behavior or physiological signs that are visually recognizable to determine her condition?

I have a six year old Shetland pony mare that was bred to a Quarterhorse stud. Is the gestation period for this pony the same as a horse mare? What type of complications should I expect from this match?

What effect, if any, does bute have on a stallion's fertility?

My mare's gestation period was 365 days. Her foal's front legs had contracted ligaments, the hind legs are windswept. My vet says this is the result of the foal being "overcooked." Are mares ever induced, or is this too risky?

I have a mare who bleeds excessively during her cycle. What could be possible causes of this? She has had an ultrasound and nothing unusual was found.

I am looking for details and information on my mare's grand sire, Galant 999.1970.7075 by Jovial 369, 90100000171. Can you help?

I have a thoroughbred filly born on April 12, 2000 and the mare didn't make it. Please help me with a supplementary feeding program for this foal.

I have a 15 year old mare that has probably never foaled before, and I want to ensure that she comes into season this spring. She is running in a herd of six mares. I will have on loan a colt to tease her and she will have an internal examination by a vet soon. I intend having her injected with Prostoglandin at the appropriate time and doing a hand serve with the stallion. Can you think of any other measures I can take to ensure that she comes into oestrus this spring? Do you think that feeding her herbs like raspberry, as a safe or good option?

I find it very hard to believe that any mare 12 or over who has never been bred can be bred by artificial insemination successfully.

Can an older mare between the ages of 15-25 be bred, especially one that's never had a foal? If so, what are the chances of a successful delivery? Also, what is the best age to breed and mare and a stud?

I want to know if the value of the stallion is decreased if there is unauthorized breeding.

My mare just foaled this morning, it is our first foal. We imprinted the foal at two hours old and it went very well. We have started with the halter and leading. Any advice on where to go from here?

How do I get my TB stallion with a lot of white (above knee and a shoulder spot) accepted as a paint breeding animal?

Do you believe that the use of Ovuplant (GnRH analogue: deslorelin) could be responsible for an increased inter-oestrous period and an increased incidence of twinning, when used routinely prior to covering, in thoroughbred mares? I have found evidence that suggests that this might be so, on stud farms in Kentucky. I am conducting research for my final year thesis on the use and effectiveness of Ovuplant. 

Any suggestions for calming products (i.e., Quietex) for pregnant mares?

What does it mean when a gelding has been "proud cut" and what kind of behavior can be expected from such a gelding?

I have a 12 year old mare that I wish to breed to a 16H showjumper. She is 14H and is a superb jumper. Would the stallion be too big for her and what do you think the outcome would be? What would be the average size of the foal?

I have a high strung medium pony that I want to breed. I was told that it was dangerous to have her palpated because her colon might be torn. Is that true?

My first warmblood foal is now a narrow, gangly, 2 year old with otherwise lovely gaits, but a wobble in the hock at the trot, with the hind feet actually crossing a little rather than going straight. Is this a stage they outgrow with increased width and strength?

How do you write up a contract to lease your horse for breeding? What items should be included to protect both parties?

How accurate is thyroid testing in mares with fertility problems and where is the best place to send it? My vet said that the tests are not accurate and that you just have to try them on supplementation.

How far along in a mare's pregnancy can you "see" or feel the foal move?

I wish to breed my 8 year old QH mare in mid to late March. Does she need to be under artificial lights after sunset? How long a time period? I do not have access to a stallion for teasing.

I have a 20 year old mare that has had several foals by two different studs, but for the last three years has not given birth to a live foal by a third stud. She is an easy breeder and usually one cover does the trick. I was wondering if the stallion and mare could have incompatible RH factor. I will try another stallion this spring, but I was wondering if you have ever come across this sort of thing.

Other than disinfecting the umbilical cord on the foal, do we need to do anything else or will the mare do that once she stands?

Can a human pregnancy test be used to see if a mare is pregnant?

I plan to try and breed a two year old appaloosa filly. Vet said let nature take its course -- try and see if happens with stud. Have been told by laymen horsemen that filly is too young -- answers vary; wait up to 5 year old.

My mare was accidentally bred the end of June. It is now mid-late February and under no circumstances do I want her to have this foal since I want to breed her this year to a nice stallion. If I give her prostin to abort her, will there be an overt risk to her health since she is about 230+ days pregnant and what are the chances she will not start cycling soon after she loses the fetus?

 

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Questions and Answers

Q: I find it very hard to believe that any mare 12 or over who has never been bred can be bred by artificial insemination successfully.

A: If mare has adequate breeding soundness, age should have no effect on whether AI is successful - should be more effective than normal cover if done properly.

 

Q: Can an older mare between the ages of 15-25 be bred, especially one that's never had a foal? If so, what are the chances of a successful delivery? Also, what is the best age to breed and mare and a stud?

A: Older mares that remain maidens can still be bred, however, their fertility will be dependent upon several factors. If the mare's perineal conformation is poor and contaminants have been able to enter her reproductive tract over the years, she may not be a good breeding candidate. However, if her uterine condition is good, and her hormonal levels are normal, then she should have little complication. It would be wise to run basic hormone assays on the mare (testing especially whether progesterone levels are naturally high enough) and to do a thorough breeding soundness exam to ensure that her ovaries are healthy and active and that the uterus and cervix are responding normally to the onset of heat. Only culture and biopsy the mare if indicated by clinical exam.

The best age to breed a mare is likely when she is young - between 3-5 years old. At this stage of her life, her inventory of fertile ova should be at a maximum and the complications kept to a minimum.

 

Q: I want to know if the value of the stallion is decreased if there is unauthorized breeding.

A: This is difficult to answer for all breeds, but for the sporthorse industry it is not likely going to affect the value of the stallion. If there is a mass of unauthorized or unregisterable breedings performed by a stallion, then indeed his reputation may be affected.

 

Q: My mare just foaled this morning, it is our first foal. We imprinted the foal at two hours old and it went very well. We have started with the halter and leading. Any advice on where to go from here?

A: By now you've likely kept a lot of hands on with this foal since its initiation to handling occurred early after birth...and that's good! My advice would be to always handle the foal and make leading a part of its daily routine. We give our youngsters freedom in the field, but ask that when in contact with humans, they accept "adult" guidelines.

 

Q: How do I get my TB stallion with a lot of white (above knee and a shoulder spot) accepted as a paint breeding animal?

A: I'm sorry, but I have no experience with the Paint Breeds.

 

Q: Do you believe that the use of Ovuplant (GnRH analogue: deslorelin) could be responsible for an increased inter-oestrous period and an increased incidence of twinning, when used routinely prior to covering, in thoroughbred mares? I have found evidence that suggests that this might be so, on stud farms in Kentucky. I am conducting research for my final year thesis on the use and effectiveness of Ovuplant. 

A: We certainly experienced with the use of Ovuplant an increased inter-oestrous period and an increased incidence of twinning, but not only on TB mares. Warmblood mares treated with ovuplant were often slow to come back into heat or were prone to twinning as we witnessed in the 1999 season.

 

Q: Any suggestions for calming products (i.e., Quietex) for pregnant mares?

A: None at all. Pregnant mares should be given a "social life" (other mares) and as much freedom as possible in order to stay happy.

 

Q: What does it mean when a gelding has been "proud cut" and what kind of behavior can be expected from such a gelding?

A: I'm sorry, but this term is unfamiliar to me. It may be based on some Western horseman's language and you may find an answer among them.

 

Q: I have a 12 year old mare that I wish to breed to a 16H showjumper. She is 14H and is a superb jumper. Would the stallion be too big for her and what do you think the outcome would be? What would be the average size of the foal?

A: I would be comfortable making this combination. If this is the mare's first foal, then she may produce a smaller foal than she would otherwise. Without knowing the size of the genetics behind these individuals, it is difficult to estimate the size of the expected foal. If there is much larger size behind the sire or dam, then the potential foal could be closer to the 16H range. If there is about the same size behind the sire or dam, then perhaps the expected foal would be about 15H. Obviously, if the 16H showjumper is exceptionally large for his pedigree and the other members of his family are much smaller, then there is a chance the offspring may be even smaller.

 

Q: I have a high strung medium pony that I want to breed. I was told that it was dangerous to have her palpated because her colon might be torn. Is that true?

A: The smaller the anus, obviously the smaller (in diameter) the colon and the increased chance of rectal tear by palpation. Find a small vet, perhaps a woman, skilled in reproduction and you can safely presume your medium pony can be safely monitored through a cycle.

 

Q: My first warmblood foal is now a narrow, gangly, 2 year old with otherwise lovely gaits, but a wobble in the hock at the trot, with the hind feet actually crossing a little rather than going straight. Is this a stage they outgrow with increased width and strength?

A: It is true that unless your 2 year old has access to ample exercise on hills and ground that will build strength, such a weakness may be evident at this stage of growth. It may also be prudent, at this stage, due to your observation, to ask your vet to perform a neurological exam on this youngster to rule out possible complications with EPM or wobbler's syndrome. In all likelihood, this is a strength issue, not the sign of a greater problem. However any problem is best treated with early recognition so I do advise you to take a closer look. (Neurological exams are best performed by vets with experience in this area.)

 

Q: How do you write up a contract to lease your horse for breeding? What items should be included to protect both parties?

A: Though I am not a lawyer, I will offer the following: The contract should clarify the requirements for the mare's reproductive and daily care and whose responsibility will be those expenses. If an annual usage fee is instead involved, that fee should be stated, along with an indication of the lessee's responsibility to cover reproductive costs. The dates for the lease period should be stated clearly, even if the end date is simply defined by the weaning of the resultant foal. A clarification should be made regarding what the lessor expects the lessee to do for the mare in the event of traumatic injury. A further indemnity should be made releasing the lessee of responsibility for such events outside of gross negligence. A clarification should also be made in the contract regarding the two party's agreement for either termination of the lease or the continued care of the mare in the event that no pregnancy is achieved in the first year of breeding or if a pregnancy is lost.

 

Q: How accurate is thyroid testing in mares with fertility problems and where is the best place to send it? My vet said that the tests are not accurate and that you just have to try them on supplementation.

A: I run into this same opinion. We also have tested mares who "appeared" to have many of the typical thyroid symptoms (crusty neck, obesity, fertility issues, long coat hair), but experienced the results to be returned to us as "normal." We also are simply supplementing these mares to see if any improvement is gained. The jury is definitely out on this issue - whether thyroid testing is accurate and what to do about it. Ask any vet and you'll likely get a different answer. Make some assessment of the likelihood based upon the age (the older mare is more likely a candidate) and condition of the mare in addition to her fertility history (either difficulty settling or repeated pregnancy loss). 

 

Q: How far along in a mare's pregnancy can you "see" or feel the foal move?

A: Good question! It will vary with each mare, depending upon how many foals she has had and what her general body condition may be. Most mares who have been broodmares for a while will "show" a pregnancy as early as 4 months of gestation. The visible movement of the fetus, however, does not tend to show up until the mare is in her third trimester. Maidens will "hide" their pregnancy much later into gestation. Even still, with all the growth of the fetus that occurs in the 3rd trimester, the maiden usually can't hide her foal at that stage! Look for obvious signs of fetal movement by the 9th month if you're a vigilant observer. As pregnancy continues, movement will be more and more easy to identify! Watch the flank and loin, the base of the trunk at its sides, and later on, movement at the tail head as the foal nears its birth.

 

Q: I wish to breed my 8 year old QH mare in mid to late March. Does she need to be under artificial lights after sunset? How long a time period? I do not have access to a stallion for teasing.

A: Depending on where you live in the country (what latitude), the natural photoperiod may or may not have lengthened sufficiently to make a late March breeding possible without the use of artificial lights. When extending the photoperiod artificially, it is useful to use an automatic timer that will keep the mare's stall well lit (you should be capable to read comfortably in the lit stall) until the "length of daylight" for the mare is about 16 hours. We usually have the lights turn off at 11 p.m., but that is due to our location in Maryland. You should also have your veterinarian palpate the mare to determine estrous activity in early March. Always confirm the season's first ovulation before breeding to avoid dealing with the mare's "transition" cycles.

 

Q: I have a 20 year old mare that has had several foals by two different studs, but for the last three years has not given birth to a live foal by a third stud. She is an easy breeder and usually one cover does the trick. I was wondering if the stallion and mare could have incompatible RH factor. I will try another stallion this spring, but I was wondering if you have ever come across this sort of thing.

A: There is a lot of speculation about "incompatibility" between mare and stallion, but it is not only difficult to prove but also not well documented. In addition to switching stallions, try using Regumate following ovulation this year. Even with mares whose progesterone levels test to be accurate, the use of Regumate, post ovulation, seems to make a positive difference. It may also be prudent to evaluate the mare for other complications such as thyroid.

 

Q: Other than disinfecting the umbilical cord on the foal, do we need to do anything else or will the mare do that once she stands?

A: Usually, we let the mare and foal "bond" with licking and normal interaction during the first few minutes that follow birth. Then we try to help dry the foal and stimulate its circulation by rubbing with towels. Please read up on foaling because there is not sufficient room here to address all the responsibilities of a foaling attendant. Not only do you need to dip the umbilical stump in Novalsan or weak iodine, but many other precautions need to be taken to ensure the foal a healthy start.  I recommend the following books: "The Complete Book of Foaling" by Karen E. N. Hayes and "Blessed are the Broodmares" by M. Phyllis Lose.  Click here to read reviews on these books in our Equerry Bookstore. 

 

Q: Can a human pregnancy test be used to see if a mare is pregnant?

A: No. But, mares may be checked for pregnancy by a blood test. The blood test is not effective until post 30 days of pregnancy so it is not recommended in the case that twins may exist. There is no chance to eliminate the twin pregnancy if you wait until after 30 days.

 

Q: I plan to try and breed a two year old appaloosa filly. Vet said let nature take its course -- try and see if happens with stud. Have been told by laymen horsemen that filly is too young -- answers vary; wait up to 5 year old.

A: The input you have received so far reflects the range of possibilities that truly exist. If you decide to breed her at 2, you may find that she either won't conceive at all or will conceive but has a possibility of losing the pregnancy. Breeding mares at 3+ years usually is less complicated. I recommend breeding mares at age three if seemingly mature (pectal exam shows normal, healthy, active ovaries and good uterine tone). Usually, if a 3 year old has trouble conceiving, she will be ready at 4.

 

Q: My mare was accidentally bred the end of June. It is now mid-late February and under no circumstances do I want her to have this foal since I want to breed her this year to a nice stallion. If I give her prostin to abort her, will there be an overt risk to her health since she is about 230+ days pregnant and what are the chances she will not start cycling soon after she loses the fetus?

A: You definitely need to contact a reproduction specialist in your area to help you terminate this pregnancy at such a late date. Aborting her by simply giving her a shot of prostin could pose threats that you would need veterinary assistance to deal with (i.e., dystocia of the aborted fetus). They may want to do a transabdominal ultrasound to further the diagnostics in determination of what type of assistance your mare may need to terminate the pregnancy. (If she actually conceived twins, the abortion process could be more complex). Contact your local university that has a reputable equine program for advice. If you are uncertain where to turn, I would recommend your vet contact Dr. Pat Sertich or Dr. Dobi at the University of PA's New Bolton Center for further consultation (610-444-5800).

 

Q: I have a 15 year old mare that has probably never foaled before, and I want to ensure that she comes into season this spring. She is running in a herd of six mares. I will have on loan a colt to tease her and she will have an internal examination by a vet soon. I intend having her injected with Prostoglandin at the appropriate time and doing a hand serve with the stallion. Can you think of any other measures I can take to ensure that she comes into oestrus this spring? Do you think that feeding her herbs like raspberry, as a safe or good option?

A: I think you are doing all that is necessary. I would not feed any herbs as there are no conclusive studies that this actually increases fertility. Teasing and monitoring are your best options. We often use a 14-day regimen of Regumate, followed by the Prostaglandin in order to control and induce estrus. You may want to discuss this option further with your vet.

 

Q: I have a thoroughbred filly born on April 12, 2000 and the mare didn't make it. Please help me with a supplementary feeding program for this foal.

A: I hope, by now, you have contacted either a nursemare program or a resource in the feed industry. We feel very good about the Buckeye product, Milk. Contact Gert or Helen Sterns at Justaplain Farm for further input (610-869-4039) or 11 Faggs Manor Road, Cochranville, PA 19330.

 

Q: I am looking for details and information on my mare's grand sire, Galant 999.1970.7075 by Jovial 369, 90100000171. Can you help?

A: It looks like a Dutch pedigree. Try contacting the NAWPN for further input.

 

Q: I have a mare who bleeds excessively during her cycle. What could be possible causes of this? She has had an ultrasound and nothing unusual was found.

A: I'm not at all aware of what could cause this problem. It is very unusual.

 

Q: My mare's gestation period was 365 days. Her foal's front legs had contracted ligaments, the hind legs are windswept. My vet says this is the result of the foal being "overcooked." Are mares ever induced, or is this too risky?

A: The foal's condition is likely more due to its size in relation to the mare's uterus, than its actual length of gestation. It is believed that the final changes required for the foal to function healthfully outside the uterus actually take place during the last 2-3 days of gestation. It is a very risky decision to induce a mare, as one must simply "guess" whether those final changes have taken place or not. With the mare who is so far overdue, the attending veterinarian would consider inducing IF the foal was exhibiting signs of stress or weakening in its vital stats. The vet must be certain that a better environment can be given to the fetus outside the mare.

 

Q: What effect, if any, does bute have on a stallion's fertility?

A: None

 

Q: I have a six year old Shetland pony mare that was bred to a Quarterhorse stud. Is the gestation period for this pony the same as a horse mare? What type of complications should I expect from this match?

A: I do not have any experience breeding ponies and therefore cannot comment on the gestational expectation of this combination. With the size discrepancy between the breeds, you must be on the alert for dystocia (mal presentation) at the time of foaling and also the possibility for an insufficient pelvic cavity of the mare to produce the foal she is carrying in the uterus. It could be that your mare would be a candidate for caesarian delivery, but in most cases the size of the uterus will determine the size of the fetus. Have your vet closely monitor the mare as she progresses in her pregnancy and the foal is developing rapidly in the third trimester.

 

Q: What am I looking for to determine if my mare is in heat? What are the behavior or physiological signs that are visually recognizable to determine her condition?

A: Estrus (the actual heat phase of the estrous cycle) is characterized by the mare's behavioral changes and some physiological signs that can be determined by a veterinarian. The behavioral signs include winking of the vulva and flagging of the tail in response to a teaser. A mare in full heat will "break down" or urinate/squat for a teaser or even another mare. Her physiological signs include: increased edema of the uterus and loss of tone by palpation; follicular development that progresses toward ovulation; and relaxation of the cervix. Some breeders look for a sticky discharge at the tip of the vulva when the mare is in heat, but this is less reliable than the aforementioned signs.

 

Q: Could you give me a brief description on hand mating? Is a lubricant needed after the genitals are washed?

A: We only handle AI breedings here at Hilltop Farm but in knowing a bit about live cover, I can answer that following the simple washing of the genitalia of both mare and stallion, no lubricant should be necessary.

 

Q: I have recently retired a 9 year old show jumping mare and I want to breed her. She is registered British Warmblood and her sire is Dutch Courage, a well documented graded stallion. The only info about her dam is her name is Irish Silk. I am told this means my mare has "white papers" and cannot be graded as a broodmare, although her foal will be "papered". How can I proceed to get my mare registered? Can you suggest any literature that will assist in my understanding of Breeding Registration papers?

A: I have no familiarity with the British Warmblood program. You'll have to contact them directly to find out how their system of papers and registration works. Every breed registry in the world (so it can seem) does things differently. Good luck.

 

Q: My one month old is having diarrhea -- had it at the mare's foal heat and was told this normal. But, it is too early for the mare to be in heat again. What can I do to correct this? Was told to use 1 oz. Pepto Bismol twice a day at foal heat, but this didn't seem to do much. Is this a concern? I am a first time horse owner and foal owner.

A: Diarrhea in the foal is very concerning as it can rapidly lead to complications due to dehydration. PeptoBismol is a good measure to apply to the foal's care. Also Probiotics to add to the population of good flora in the foal's gut that are obviously outnumbered. It may very well be time to run blood work to evaluate the foal's white cell count and fibrinogen levels. A culture of the feces can also be run if the diarrhea persists and becomes severe or jet-like. If the diarrhea becomes uncontrollable, it would be very important to likely hospitalize and start the foal on IV fluids to prevent devastating dehydration.

 

Q: I am considering purchasing a 2 year old Quarter Horse mare that currently measures 14.2 H at the withers. Do you think this horse will get any taller?

A: Horses usually grow until they are 4-6 years old, though the length of time differs among breeds. Most horses achieve 70% of their growth by two years of age, according to most resources. I would suspect this mare might continue to grow until she is at least four but will not put on much more than another hand or so in height. I am not an expert in QH's so I would ask someone who is experienced in their typical growth patterns and expectations.

 

Q: Can you explain the difference between hotbloods, warmbloods, and coldbloods?

A: In generic terms: Hotbloods are those breeds who energy, sensitivity, and body type are "hot and light." Examples are Thoroughbreds and Arabians. Warmbloods are a combination of the cold and hot bloods - they achieve a balanced mentality that remains positively sensitive and a physical strength and stature that holds up well to the demands of sport. Coldbloods are the draft horses whose energy, sensitivity, and body types are more "cold or solid." Examples are Clydesdales, Percherons, and Belgians.

 

Q: I have a newborn Appaloosa colt that has blue eyes. Both parents have brown eyes and he does not have paint in him as far as I know. Have you ever seen a purebred Appaloosa with blue eyes or is there something wrong with my baby? He can see quite well.

A: I'm sorry but I have no experience with Appaloosas, nor do I know their color genetics well enough to know how to answer you wholly.

 

Q: Does a mare that is in heat usually produce milk?

A: No. Mares who are pregnant, who are lactating, or who have spontaneously lactated in response to another mare's foal will produce milk. Estrus (the mare's heat) does not cause a mare to produce milk.

 

Q: How do I find out about the German Hanoverian bloodlines? I am interested in buying a Hanoverian mare from Germany and I would like to know if she meets the criteria to be a premier mare.

A: The VhW (Hannoverian Verband) publishes an outstanding book annually called The Hannoveraner Jahr Buch. Within it are indexis and listings of all Hannoverian stallions with detailed analysis of the production of type, rideability, jumping, and dressage capability. A fascinating scale system is included that shows the strengths and weaknesses of each stallion on each point of conformation and athletic ability. This would be an excellent reference in addition to the basic bylaws of the Hannoverian breeding program that detail how a mare achieves top honors in their program.

 

Q: I have a 14 year old Hanoverian mare that has been on daily Regumate for 2-3 years. Regumate helps keep her comfortable and happy while she is in training. I hope to breed her next year. Will the years of Regumate affect her ability to have a pregnancy or healthy foal? Uterine condition and conformation are very good.

A: Actually, studies have shown that mares that have been on extensive therapy using Regumate can usually have normal reproductive function once the Regumate therapy is discontinued. She should receive a shot of Prostaglandin to induce her first estrus after the Regumate is discontinued. By experience I've found that these mares can have some trouble with the regularity of their cycles to follow, but you can do nothing but take her off the Regumate and get started. Using a P-n-E therapy may be in order.

 

Q: I had my mare bred 2 weeks ago, she is now spraying urine when she gets excited or nervous. She was covered enough that we believe she is pregnant. Is this urination a serious problem?

A: It would be best to have a rectal exam performed on the mare to ensure that she is indeed pregnant. (To protect your time and investment, it is ALWAYS safest to do an ultrasound exam to ensure the mare is pregnant with a single pregnancy.) Her behavior now may suggest that she is once again in estrus and is not pregnant after all.

 

Q: Any ideas on what I will get from my Appaloosa mare with a paint stallion?

A: I'm sorry, but I am not an expert on color genetics.

 

Q: I have purchased a weanling colt that I will be bringing home in August at 5 months of age. He will be with a goat as a companion but will not be getting another horse until spring. Will the colt miss out on a lot not being part of a "horse" herd for 7-8 months? Is a goat a suitable companion for him?

A: Usually goats make great companions for young foals. Hopefully, your foal can get plenty of exercise. Essentially, your colt will miss out on the normal socialization that takes place at weaning. If anything, he may be more aggressive/confident that he would otherwise when meeting his new companion in the spring. If his companion will be older, this will likely not be a problem.

 

Q: Reg. colt born 6/6/00. Went to get the breeders certificate and was told that we owed money for previous training and showing that was never done. Can they hold back on certificate? Their issue is different than breeding money.

A: A stallion owner's contract will specify wherein such rights may lie. If the contract indicates that the Breeding Certificate will be issued ONLY when all accounts are paid in full, then they have the right to withhold the certificate. On a theoretical basis as well, if money is owed, holding the breeding certificate is the only leverage the stallion owner has to get paid in full.

 

Q: I have purchased a registered spotted saddle horse and was told I could possibly register it as a Tennessee Walking horse also. How do I go about doing this?

A: I have no background with these breeds. I'm sorry, but you'll have to contact the Tennessee Walking Horse Society to inquire about this possibility.

 

Q: My 2 year old Appendix QH filly has a simple goiter. Have seen no signs of being in season. Now feeding 2 lbs. Gro and Win with hay/grass/access to iodized salt. Vets don't seem concerned, coat good, etc. Should I worry re future fertility? Test thyroid at this point?

A: I would absolutely test her thyroid to be sure her thyroid is functioning normally. If she is to be a broodmare, it is best to get a handle on this problem now rather than at the late end of a breeding season. I have witnessed many mares with goiter who have functioned normally as broodmares. Your observations, however, warrant a further investigation. She could also just be a mare who "doesn't show."

 

Q: I have a miniature horse bred in April. She has had no signs of being in heat until the last of July. She went through a few days of whinnying and backing up to a gelding. No urine spray or other usual signs of being in heat. Is this normal if horse is truly bred?

A: It is possible that your mare has lost her pregnancy. Her behavior is indicative of estrus, however, she could have just been flirting with that gelding if it is within her nature to do so. It is best to confirm her pregnancy once again, if only by blood test, to ensure she is still requiring broodmare management.

 

Q: I have a 4 year old very large mare that I have tried Ai x5 (2 different fertile studs) all but one with great follicle present at insemination, gone the next day, excellent sperm. No luck. My vet doesn't give me much feedback about where to go next. Everything seems to look and progress normally. What work up would be indicated at this point or should I try live cover?

A: Many times, live cover is the answer for what we term "Maiden Mare Syndrome." Somehow, the mare's response to Live Cover seems to do the trick when all best AI efforts have failed. It is likely that your mare will conceive readily by AI following a successful pregnancy and foaling, provided she is reproductively normal.

If you are going to wait until next year (or even to be sure she is "clean" before a live cover this season), I would recommend culturing your mare to be sure she is not harboring a sub-clinical infection. She has had a lot of AI work to date and a culture would give you the green light to proceed without further hesitation.

 

Q: When can a mare begin working after foaling?

A: A mare can begin work as soon as her foal is mature enough to handle the exercise. It is likely best to give the mare her time to recover from the foaling event and to settle into lactation before adding the stress of managed exercise to her regime. Mare's lactation peaks at 5-7 weeks. The foal's limbs need time to strengthen, straighten, and become accepting of the physical stress of exercise. Wait at least 8 weeks and then begin very slowly. When the foal is older (3-5 months of age), some breeders have success in separating the foal from its mare during exercise using a stall and a companion. Always maintain good judgment about the mare's lactation, the foal's joints, and how the mare's condition is holding up to the added burden of exercise.

 

Q: Are there any web sites out there that give scientific information on foal imprinting?

A:  The following websites were found through a search engine. There are many more out there, so I suggest you run a search as well. www.thehorse.com/0198/foal-imprinting0198.html or www.decoding.com/horses.htm. You might also try the Equerry Discussion Forums (breeding category) and ask for practical advice from other breeders.

 

Q: Where can I get a color scheme? I would like to know what breeding a bay with a grey will throw?

A: The Practical Horseman December issue (Stallion issue) just had an excellent article on this topic. I would refer you to that article as the answer could involve a detailed set of possibilities, depending upon what is behind the sire and dam of each to be bred.

 

Q: Can you give me information on breeding systems of german sport horses - system specifics, such as aims, objectives, benefits, disadvantages, future prospects, etc.? 

A: I would encourage you to contact the individual breed organizations to learn this vast bit of information. Your question requires the explanation of breeding objectives that may require 10-15 pages to outline for each breed. You can try contacting the Hannoverian Verband at fax (011-49-4231-67312), the Holsteiner Verband at fax (011-49-4121-93629), the Oldenburg Verband at fax (011-49-441-82416, and the Westphalian Verband at fax (011-49-251-32809-24) to begin your inquiry.

 

Q: What is the youngest colts can be castrated without adverse affects in development?

A: Colts can be gelded as early as both testicals have descended. Development should not be adversely affected other than that the youngster's muscular development and "type" may be slightly affected by the lack of testosterone. Gelding a youngster early can also prompt him to grow taller than he might have otherwise.

 

Q: I just purchased a pony from Germany. She has two different brands on her. I would like to know what they mean and if they tell me her breed. Where can I get information on these? (Her papers are in German)

A: The brands should indeed indicate your pony's breed. Check the brand on her left hip as typically that is where the breed related brand is located. You can describe the brand to me (email to: hilltop@equerry.com) and I can try to identify it for you. I would imagine your pony is a Westphalian as they have a very well-established pony breeding program.

 

Q: Is there a cooled semen extender that prolongs its life span to more than three or four days?

A: Most cooled semen extenders are composed of a skim milk and glucose solution. The general longevity of a stallion's semen is dependent upon his own morphology, velocity, and motility. Though extenders can make some difference in the cooling success of a stallion, it is not likely that a specific extender can prolong the viability of semen beyond its typical limits. Some semen does last 3-4 days in a well maintained equitainer, but they are the exception to the standard.

 

Q: If a young horse was almost constantly stabled in its first few years, what would be the affect on his conformation?

A: Obviously the muscular development of the horse could be affected if the youngster is rarely offered natural exercise. Healthy bone development could also be affected as bone requires the natural concussion of exercise ("stress") to grow appropriately. Angular limb deformities due to laxity of the tendons from minimized exercise could also be a problem.

 

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