(2-17-23) The year is 2023 and technology has proven that artificial insemination (AI) breeding in horses works, is safe and it has many advantages. Quarter horse racing has taken advantage of the practice and has expanded into other areas of the process.
This past year foals, from quarter horse mares, were born that used the AI process using one of the World’s top producing thoroughbred sires ‘Into Mischief‘.
- ‘Into Mischief’ Quarter Horse Fillies Sold At Heritage Place 2023 Winter Mixed Sale
- Four ‘Into Mischief’ Quarter Horse Fillies To Be Sold At The Heritage Place 45th Annual Winter Mixed Sale
- Heritage Place 2022 Champions of The Future Foal in Utero Online Sale Results
The Jockey Club, acts as North America’s Thoroughbred registry, has never allowed thoroughbreds to incorporate artificial insemination (AI). Why?
Breeding Practices Not Approved by The Jockey Club
Artificial Insemination: Any act of depositing semen into the reproductive tract of a Broodmare in order to inseminate a Broodmare without the physical mounting by a Stallion and contemporaneous intromission of the Stallion’s penis into the Broodmare with ejaculation of semen into the Broodmare’s reproductive tract.
Cloning: Any method by which the genetic material of an unfertilized egg or an embryo is (i) removed, (ii) replaced by genetic material taken from another organism, (iii) added to with genetic material from another organism, or (iv) otherwise modified by any means in order to produce a live foal.
Embryo Transfer (Transplants): The method whereby a developing embryo or unfertilized egg is removed from its natural dam and implanted into the reproductive tract of either the natural dam or a host dam for a portion of the gestation period in order to produce a live foal.
- Bloodhorse article from May, 2009: Live Cover vs. Artificial Insemination in Thoroughbred Breeding — Why The Jockey Club Has It Right
- Article from slate.com – Did They Save Barbaro’s Semen?
- Article from scientificamerican.com –Thoroughbred Horses Are Increasingly Inbred
In a Scientific American article,without genetic diversity, you can get health and behavior issues related to inbreeding. Inbreeding in thoroughbreds has increased significantly in the past 45 years, with the greatest rise occurring in the past 15 or so of them.
Quarter horse breeding over the years has allowed thoroughbreds to be bred to a quarter horse (Appendix horses) and to participate in the breed after meeting certain requirements. This helps in solving inbreeding to some degree that thoroughbreds seem to be facing over the recent years.
From AQHA – Foals Bred by Cooled Transported and Frozen Semen
With modern advances in science, we can now breed a mare to a stallion without them ever being in the same pasture. They don’t even have to be on the same continent! Semen can be cooled or frozen and shipped virtually anywhere. Read on for AQHA’s rules regarding mares bred by cooled transported and frozen semen.
In the instance that either cooled or frozen semen is used in horse breeding, AQHA requires the stallion owner to indicate the method of breeding on the stallion breeding report.
On the Economics of the Jockey Club’s 140 Mare Limit Proposal by Robert L. Losey Ph.D.American Universit
Whether or not a mare limit is implemented, Dan Vella’s suggestion (see below) that Thoroughbred breeding should consider artificial insemination (AI) invites an explanation why the considerable savings and safety associated with AI do not justify a regulatory OK? And if a mare limit is implemented, why not raise the mare limit to the extent that seasons are bought/sold internationally by allowing international AI so that U.S. breeders could access foreign stallions and U.S. stallions could sellabroad? This would help achieve the Jockey Club’s goal of “genetic diversity.”
I am a trainer in Canada for many years and lover of horse racing for just as many. I just want to ask The Jockey Club and the large breeders who control that end of our industry if they have thought about artificial insemination in our industry’s future. This type of breeding is done in all other horse industries and is 100% foolproof with the use of DNA testing when registering foals. I understand that it would be a huge change for us but I believe that if we can allow all breeders to have access to better and sounder stallions throughout North America, it would go a long way towards helping our major problems in our industry today–that being sounder animals that need less medication. We as a industry need to stop fighting among ourselves and work towards a strong future or we won’t have one and it starts with the powerful people making the right decisions from the way we breed to the way we race. I see a lot of breeders fighting against Lasix. Let’s start at home and allow people access to sound stallions that had no need for medication and that would be a huge step toward saving our industry.
Don’t expect the Jockey Club to change this ‘old time’ stance any time soon on AI.
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