Artificial Insemination

This procedure involves collecting the semen from the stallion and placing it in the mare’s uterus without a natural cover and by artificial means.


  • The Arabs did it the first time in 1322 AD.
  • Spallanzani did the first documented research in the use of AI. He investigated artificial insemination and cooled semen in horses in the late 1700’s.
  • European and American horses were bred using AI techniques in the late 1800’s in an attempt to overcome infertility and to expand the semen of valuable horses.
  • Between WW 1 and WW 2 more than 120,000 horses were bred in Russia using AI, and in China 600,000 mares were bred using AI in 1958 with 60% fertility rate.

The use of AI is widespread in the US: the only major breed association prohibiting its use is the Jockey Club (Throroughbred):


1) More mares can be bred per ejaculate

2) Reduced venereal spread of disease

3) Some sub fertile semen can be fortified by the use of semen extenders

4) Difficult breeding mares can be bred without the worry of the stallion being injured.

5) Periodic evaluation of semen to detect problems early

6) Semen is available for storage and transport as cooled or frozen


1) Requires considerable investment in equipment and supplies

2) Training required

3) Time consuming

4) Labor intensive

5) Not practical for small back yard breeders


1) Breeding area or shed:

  • an area protected from the weather is needed, shaded to protect from the sun, warm to protect from the cold, well enclosed to prevent distractions for the stallion.
  • Collecting in the same area each time provides an environment for the stallion that he associates with breeding.
  • The dimensions should provide for unimpaired breeding activity:

Ceiling: 12 ft minimum

Floor: should provide good footing to prevent slipping, and concussion force on the dismount

Phantom: should be located near a mare enclosure so a mare can be in sight of the stallion if needed.

Laboratory: should be close to the collection area and equipped with a microscope, semen counter, hot and cold water, sinks, incubator, and storage area

2) Artificial Vagina:

  • Also called AV, it is a water filled device used to simulate the mare’s reproductive tract, and facilitate the collection of semen from the stallion.
  • It is a tubular, double lined rubber bladder that holds warm water and a semen-collecting bottle.
  • When the stallion mounts the mare or phantom, the AV is placed on the stallion’s penis and he works the AV as if he were breeding a mare.
  • When ejaculation occurs; the semen passes through a filter into a collection bottle. The semen is then taken into the lab for processing. The most commonly used AV is the Colorado type. Developed by CSU

3) Mount Sources:

  • Live mare: the most desirable ones are experienced, quiet mares that are in heat, or spayed mares on estrogen therapy can be used
  • Phantom: most stallions can be trained to readily accept a phantom in place of a live mare to mount for collection. Some require a mare in heat in close proximity. Advantages of a phantom include:

1) Live mare in heat is not required for collection

2) Reduced risk of injury to stallion/mare and personnel.

3) A stallion with back or hind leg pain can have the phantom adjusted height wise to help in collection.

Don’t Skip the Purchase Exam
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

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