Equine Reproductive Services, that’s a mouthful. Pretty much it means we help you make horse babies, how’s that for an over simplification.
Here at Jokar’s Hilltop Farm, we specialize in Equine reproduction. We have been in the “business” for about 15 years, and have learned as we have grown and developed our farm. We now offer to our clients the services of fully equipped stallion station, from training a stallion to collect artificially, to semen evaluations, chilled semen shipments, and even cryo preservation of equine semen. In addition to that we also offer a full range of mare reproductive services, from palpations and ultrasounds to inseminations, embryo harvests and implants.
There are always those who tell us that as horses have been reproducing for several millenia, what makes our services so important? Our answer is that if they, as a breeder, can live with the conception and foaling rates that are seen in the wild, they truly do not need our services. But research will show that this will only yield them a foal about every third year.
Equine reproduction in this day and age is part science, part art, a good bit of intuition and a whole lot of luck. For our part, it’s a fascination and a passion. Understanding the vagaries of a mares reproductive cycles and manipulating circumstance to our benefit is a challenge and a very rewarding vocation. We have taken advantage of the equine short courses at Ohio State University and have studied our craft under our repro vets for many years.
While here your mare will be evaluated, and examined to determine her reproductive soundness. Our repro vets, Dr. Knepper and Dr. Barnett are some of the best in the country. We use tease stallions to “talk” the mares into showing their receptiveness to breeding, then we palpate or ultrasound to determine the progress of a dominant follicle. We will breed on a softening and dimpling follicle, will only do AI, no live cover, and will follow with a palpation or ultrasound to confirm ovulation. Hormonal manipulation will be used if indicated, but we prefer to allow the mare to progress naturally if at all possible.
Embryo transfers, ET, are becoming more common, we have been performing them since 2000 and offer it to our clients after discussing all the difficulties and possibilities. It’s a new science for the masses, done in the past only to propogate the most valuable animals, but rising success rates, new criteria for the procedures and dropping costs are making it more affordable for the average breeder with a good mare. Give us a call or stop by and visit and we can discuss it with you.
AI, artificial insemination, has become the norm in the industry in recent years. At Jokar’s hilltop farm, it has accounted for all but one mare annually becoming in foal since 1997, that one mare being a pet miniature Maize. It is considered a normal animal husbandry procedure, is taught at virtually every agricultural college in the US and our personnel have been performing the procedure for 7 years now, several hundred times a year. And with an on farm conception rate and shipped chilled semen conception rate of over 90%.
Stallion semen collection, now that’s an art. Sure seems like it should be pretty simple, but truth be known, if all the circumstances are not right, it is both frustrating and non productive. First a stallion must be taught to cover a phantom mare, this entails not only controlling and cueing the stallion, but modifying his behavior to be conpletely controllable in the breeding shed. He must be capable of breaking his train of thought at one of natures most intense moments, and responding to the direction of his handlers calmly and agreeably.
The stallions mental state and degree of stress will determine the quality of the collection. Too much stress and the cell count drops and gell volume increases, not enough stimulation and the collection can fall short of our goals. It’s a balancing act, keeping the stalion happy and healthy mentally as well a physically, so we can call the shots and secure a viable collection on our schedule, not his and the mares. Then we have to take into consideration what a stallions personal preferences are, how “tight” the AV should be, how warm, how much lubricant, get one parameter out of kilter and a few minute procedure becomes a half hour or more of frustration and stress for your stallion.
This is the knowledge we bring to the table when we tell you we can address all your equine reproductive needs or requirements. After years of experience and learning, we can say “been there, done that”. And if we are not sure, our resources include some of the worlds best theriogenologists, just a phone call away. It’s not rocket science, but it is a good deal of attention to detail, and no short cuts.
We have an album full of pictures of our success stories, some of these mares our clients attempted to put in foal for years before coming to us, and now we have baby pictures of our accomplishments. If we can be of any assistance, please don’t hesitate to call, my cell phone is always on, and during breeding season I have it with me 24 hours a day. We look forward to hearing from you.