By Michelle Marie From FA Ranch
Now it the time to plan your budget for the new foal you want in 2022. This year must be the year of planning and spending carefully. Many of us have worked hard and given up things we want to have the horse of our dreams. Even though the economy is tight, we need to plan for our future and for some a new foal is part of our future. How to we go about this wisely? Stallion breeding fee. Set price no changing that. HOWEVER. Booking fees, rebreeding fees, chute fees, shipping fees are a large part of the costs that we do not look at carefully. Read your stallion contract carefully. If there is not a mention of these costs you’d better ask. Is there a separate shipping contract? Time Management for the Mare. Mares are fickle creatures, given to ovulate on their own schedule, many times on holidays and weekends. If you can be aware of your mares cycle and when it starts and ends, you can start helping your vet and stallion owner plan in advance. The average cycle is 21 days from ovulation to ovulation. You need to have your mare bred the last 12-36 hours of the heat cycle if you are using fresh, or fresh cooled shipped semen. Why?
This is when she ovulates. Too soon is a waste of money and time. After is a crap shoot. If you are paying $600 a shipment, timing is important. Time Management for the Stallion. If the stallion and the mare are in the same pasture who cares. If the stallion is 3000 miles away we care. Why? Is the stallion at a show that weekend. Does the stallion station ship every day, every other day. Odd days, even days, what happens on a weekend? When do you need to call by? The day before? The morning of? Is it noon in Alabama? If you do not know everything there is to know about the stallion’s schedule, the last thing you want to be told is “OOPS, he is gone this week, sorry call us next cycle”. You have just spent money to wait. Your calendar should have a mark for every day you cannot get a shipment. A mark for every time you think you mare is close to ovulating. The vets vacation, every holiday that UPS and Fedex are closed. Communication. Your vet is not a mind reader, your vet is most likely not a theriogenologist, with no other work to do and most likely has a staff of one. If you do not provide clear information, your odds go down. If your vet does not know that the stallion station must be called by 8am PST to get a collection done tomorrow for next day delivery, you are up a creek OR you now have to pay for counter to counter, wait at the airport for a midnight delivery only to find the airport cargo office is closed until the next morning.
Make appointments for the time you need to beat the clock. Allow emergency / injury delay time, and have a back-up plan in place. Logistics. Know shipping schedules, know shippers. If your delivery is scheduled for 2-4pm, and the local Fed Ex office opens at 9am a 15 minute drive might get you 6 hour fresher semen in the mare. If you were a sperm that had been swimming in a cold pool with a limited diet for the last 24 hours while being tossed by gorillas from airport to airport that 6 hours might be just what saves the day. Technology vs $$ Ultrasound. A critical piece of equipment for the mare. A palpation is a great procedure. It can tell the vet that a uterus feels normal or abnormal, that ovaries feel normal or abnormal. The vet can feel tone and structures. The ultrasound sees what the vet is feeling. The ultrasound can show us fluid in the uterus, indicating a risk of infection or potential problem. An ultrasound can scan the ovaries that are making two eggs instead of one. Twins are not a good thing. A scan can show a pregnancy that a palpation missed. Last year I ran across a story of a mare who was pronounced open, after a $100,000 in- advance breeding fee. Mare was sold as open and cultured before breeding. The culture killed the foal and caused an infection risking the mares life. The $100K was NOT refunded. Moral of the story – Money spent wisely can save money in the future.