I am contemplating breeding my mare and then transferring the embryo to another mare. The only problem is I know absolutely nothing about it! My questions are 1) an estimate on the expense 2) picking a stallion, is it better to have a campaigned stallion or a nice young up and coming stallion 3) does anyone know of farms in the northeast (NJ, PA, NY, MD, VA areas) that have good breeding programs 4) finally how much down time would I need to allow for my horse to be out of work? Also if you think I should know anything else!
Any information would be greatly appreciated!
Estimate on expense depends a lot on vet cycles and recipient herd used or if you plan on cycling a mare yourself.
I have used commercial herds in the past, although I refuse to do it now based on the temperaments and issues I have had with them. At any rate, I estimated my expense to get an ET baby on the ground at around 10K / foal plus or minus.
The stallion should have a good conception rate with foals on the ground. I would ask this forum for pregnancy success rates on your selection.
I put my mares on regumate about 3 days after they finish their FIRST spring cycle of the year. I leave them on it for 20 days then take them off and wait for them to come into heat a few days after I finish the regumate. I mark my calendar so I am very sure where my breeding window will be. Once they are showing heat I call my vet for an on- farm ultrasound which allows us to tell how much time there is approx. Before we breed. If you plan on using your own recipient, you can use the regumate routine to sync up your mares.
There are others on this board who can give you different methods for controlling and syncing the cycles. I just use the regumate. I drop it on their grain once a day and it works for me.
My donor mare is out of work for about 10 days at most. As soon as she is inseminated, we leave her on turnout only. The ET flush is usually done 7 days after insemination. After she is flushed, she can go back to work.
There is a lot to learn so you can attempt to control the expenses. Hope this gives you a start.
I did mine through Peterson & Smith in Ocala, along with using my own vet for the "at home" care.
These are my "per cycle attempted" fees: $600 breeding cycle management (did an all-inclusive package where she stayed at clinic and that covered daily ultrasounding and insemination) $250 collection/shipping fee for semen $325 embryo flush fee $250 transfer fee (assuming they found embryo when flushing)
One time fees are: THE STUD FEE $600 "contract fee" with Peterson & Smith - rolling my eyes a bit, but it did include the $250 bottle of Regumate they sent the recipient mare home with. Supposedly it covers recip herd management and ultrasounds prior to breeding. $2600 Recipient mare lease fee - once mare is confirmed 21 days in foal
It's just such a huge gamble - I got lucky and everything worked perfectly on the first try, but it can get really expensive really fast if you're flushing and not finding anything. You can save some money by using your own recipient mares IF you can get them to cycle together - stinks to spend all the money to get mare bred and then have no place to put an embryo... Personally I'd only attempt this with a stallion with a known EXCELLENT conception rate.
Expenses also can vary greatly from clinic to clinic, with some offering a higher up front fee but less risk (almost a LFG type fee structure) where as some places charge lower fees per service, but if you have to repeat cycles, it can add up very quickly.
My fees that I put out there are only the costs associated with getting a pregnant recipient mare in my barn.... After that, you have the normal costs associated with pregnancy.
Many here know more than I do, but I was at a seminar where the vet quoted $3-$8k more for ET. As to stallion choice, it is part science and part art. First, decide what you want to breed the foal for (dressage, jumpers, hunters, etc.). That will give you a universe of stallions. You'll need to take a critical look at your mare and determine what her faults are. Then add on things you also would like in the foal (i.e. a better trot). Rank your list of wants/wishes from most to least important. Then start looking for a stallion that is proven to add the things you need to improve. You'll also need to consider whether the stallion is approved in the registry you want to use, or whether you will re-present the mare for approval (assuming she is registered). I'm very interested in it all, but don't have anywhere near the knowledge bank yet to try. I prefer to study up and then go out and buy what I want after someone has already bred it.