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Stallion owners need to get realistic about offering frozen semen.

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  • Stallion owners need to get realistic about offering frozen semen.

    So, as a mare owner, I have to admit it is extremely frustrating to read article after article on how wonderful and convenient frozen semen is for mare owners while it seems that stallion owners do everything in their power to make using it a PITA.

    The way most stallion owners seem to want to operate, frozen semen makes *their* lives easier and cheaper but it does absolutely nothing for me, the "common" mare owner. And here is why:

    A) I have to pay additional charges to my vet for using frozen, which makes it more expensive. I have shopped around, and the vets/clinics that offer "package" or "per cycle" charges for AI always charge $50-100 more per cycle for using frozen, due to the narrower timing window. If I'm paying a "per service rendered" fee I have to pay for more farm calls (if not shipping the mare out) and more ultrasounds.

    B) I have to pay additional shipping charges for a much heavier container to ship frozen, almost always each cycle, and in addition I have to pay out a large damage deposit (usually $500-800) which I will probably not be refunded for months even if my mare takes on the next cycle.

    C) Statistically speaking, I will pay out all this extra money for a lower chance of conception than I would have while using fresh cooled.

    Now, I'm not ranting without purpose here... As a mare owner, I am taking a hit using frozen. Yes, there is the advantage of having semen on hand, but quite frankly I'm not interested in spending 100's of dollars for "convenience." I would rather run around a little bit and save myself the extra money.

    I have a premium Oldenburg mare who is a proven producer of top-quality offspring. This is a mare who will absolutely produce FEI prospects with the right stallion. And there are many lovely young stallions I would love to breed her to, but they are out trying to compete and develop credentials so are offering only frozen semen breedings.

    If you have a stallion who is out competing and you're almost exclusively offering frozen but aren't getting enough breedings, PLEASE consider the following suggestions:

    1. How about shipping more than one cycle per shipment? I have yet to encounter a stallion that routinely offers to ship more than one cycle per frozen shipment. And if you have a virile stallion that is going to continue to be collected and frozen, that's just plain dumb in my opinion. If I'm going to pay out a zillion dollars in shipping fees, please send me three cycles' worth and allow me to sign an agreement to destroy any unused straws.

    2. Ship multiple doses per cycle, so timed insemination protocols can be used to reduce ultrasounds needed.

    3. Refund damage deposits promptly to mare owners after conception is confirmed (30-45 days) so they are more willing to offer up said deposits in the future.

    4. Consider allowing "lay people" who have taken Equine Repro courses (and can document doing so) to inseminate their own mares insteading of requiring them to use vets.

    5. Don't charge "collection fees" to mare owners for using frozen semen. That's just bunk, in my opinion. You're charging a stud fee, you're making the process dramatically more convenient for yourself as a stallion owner, so please don't charge me a fee when my life is being made more complicated by using frozen semen. Plus, your average stallion is getting several doses of frozen for each mount rather than the 1 or 2 typical of a regular fresh collection, so you're saving even more time and money (and risk to your stallion) by using frozen.

    As a mare owner who has put in quite a large amount of time working with repro vets and is aware of how much of repro work isn't rocket science, it frustrates me to see such huge inefficiences in "the system."

    I realize that stallion owners don't make much (if any) money standing stallions often-times, but I feel like they aren't doing much to provide incentives for mare owners to make their lives easier.

    So, after all is said and done, here is what I would like to see in a frozen contract:

    1) Same stud fee as for fresh cooled.
    2) Ship three cycles at a time with 2 inseminations per cycle.
    3) Agree to refund damage deposit within 30 days of mare being confirmed in foal.

    In turn, I will agree in writing to:

    1) Pay an exhorbitant/punitive fee if it is found that I have abused the additional straws by breeding extra mares and/or saying I have destroyed it when I have not.
    2) Have my vet sign an agreement to either destroy unused straws or store them (at *my* expense) without release unless informed in writing by you that I have paid the you for another breeding or booking fee (if the mare miscarries later on).
    3) Pay whatever "handling" charge the frozen semen agents charge for sending out a shipment.

    If I can save some money on shipping and collection fees by getting multiple cycles shipped at once, I will be *much* more likely to keep booking back to the same stallion if I have semen left, so that will encourage repeat business from breeders. And saving some shipping costs will help counteract the additional vet expense I will incur by using frozen semen.

    Just my two cents. (putting flame suit on)

    Spectrum.

  • #2
    mmm..what really gets me is how certain SO's are now making it impossible to split doses because God forbid I get two pregnancy's from a 1500 dollar dose of frozen. Most of the time it's the other way around and you end up losing more doses because that is just the way frozen is. If they only want you to get one foal per dose then they should be offering a LFG!!
    www.svhanoverians.com

    "Simple: Breeding,Training, Riding". Wolfram Wittig.

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    • #3
      When I bought a breeding about 10yrs ago I was shipped 3 doses of frozen semen with the intial agreement to return the unused doses. My mare caught on just one dose but after talking to the stallion owner, the owner agreed to sell me the remaining doses for a per dose price with no LFG (though I did get two more foals). I loved it being done this way and thought it was a great idea.
      Truthfully if I was a stallion owner (I am not), I would not want the doses back as I would just have to ultimately destroy them anyhow. I cannot guarantee how they had been handled/stored while out of my care so I would not want to sell them to another party. Seems silly to charge the mare owner a huge sum in shipping to just destroy them myself!
      I would either have the vet destroy them even if mare owner chose to inseminate that would be fine with me (but vet sign a copy stating how many doses were dumped/destroyed etc) or sell them at an at dose price with no LFG. Chances are if the mare owner bought one breeding they may be interested in the remaining straws specifically if they know it is good quality semen adn their mare caught easily. It gives the mare owner an opportunity to possibly have more foals (or not) at a discounted price as a reward for taking the chance with frozen and relieving the stallion owners collection schedule. Just my thoughts...
      Cindy's Warmbloods
      www.cindyswarmbloods.com Cindy's Warmbloods
      www.facebook.com/CindysWarmbloods Join Us on Facebook for latest updates!

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      • #4
        I really shouldn't take the bait.... but, as a former stallion owner who only shipped frozen semen, here are my answers.

        1. Please don't assume that frozen semen is something that costs nothing because the stallion produces it anyway. I costs big bucks to have your stallion's semen frozen and stored, and possibly have an agreement with the stallion station to ship for you. So, as good as it sounds to send you six breeding doses per shipment and to "just have your vet destroy what's not being used", you're talking a fair amount of money going down the drain.

        2. Frozen semen should be used in a clinic environment and by a practiced veterinarian/technician, not someone who just took a 3-day seminar on how to inseminate. Do you really expect the stallion owner to "fund" a mare owner's learning experiences with insemination?

        3. I have no idea what you're talking about when you mention a "damage control" deposit. Given the situation you're most likely talking about the container deposit that is charged to your credit card to ensure getting the container back in a timely fashion. By the way, that shipper is not meant to be your storage facility for the frozen semen you just received, something I believe you seem to want to do. When stallion stations or vets send you frozen semen during the breeding season they really need to get their shipping containers back by return FedEx. You are not the only customer that wants a shipment and those containers are QUITE expensive. In all my years of breeding with frozen semen I have never seen an actual charge on my credit card for the container because my vet who does all of my reproductive work knows to return it right away.

        4. I believe most stallion owners would be happy to give you the same price for frozen as for fresh and don't see a problem there.

        5. Conception rates with frozen semen in the clinic I use were equal to those with fresh coooled last breeding season. Again, that's using a qualified person to do the actual insemination and all the work leading up to it as well as afterwards.

        You may know a lot from hanging out with your repro vets but somehow must have missed the part where the mare gets ultrasounded several times before and after insemination, typically gets a shot (i. e. HCG or Deslorian) to affect ovulation, and gets treated if there are clearance issues, etc. etc. Unless you have your own ultrasound machine and access to Rx drugs I don't see how you can do this by yourself, repro seminar or not.

        When I shipped frozen semen around the country I was warned by my stallion station that there would be many "illegal" offspring, something I did not want to believe. Well guess what, it definitely happened and not just a couple of times. I'm just waiting for a thread that is started by a stallion owner that talks about all the things they would like to see mare owners do or not do. I'm sure their list would be just as long as yours....
        Siegi Belz
        www.stalleuropa.com
        2007 KWPN-NA Breeder of the Year
        Dutch Warmbloods Made in the U. S. A.

        Comment


        • #5
          I don't know what SOs you are dealing with but when I order frozen I order as many doses as I want and it sits in my tank until I want to use it. My vet does not charge higher fees for AI with frozen than with fresh. My shipping costs are not higher; they are substantially lower in my experience. It is generally more convenient for me to have frozen on hand because my mares don't necessarily accomodate the M-W-F collection schedule of most stallions I am interested in that are available fresh, not to mention stallions that are unavailable for periods of time because of competition schedule. Overall, it is far less expensive for me to breed with frozen -- provided the mare takes on the first try. If not, it can be as expensive or more expensive as using fresh.
          Roseknoll Sporthorses
          www.roseknoll.net

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by siegi b. View Post

            2. Frozen semen should be used in a clinic environment and by a practiced veterinarian/technician, not someone who just took a 3-day seminar on how to inseminate. Do you really expect the stallion owner to "fund" a mare owner's learning experiences with insemination?

            >>>

            >>>>

            When I shipped frozen semen around the country I was warned by my stallion station that there would be many "illegal" offspring, something I did not want to believe. Well guess what, it definitely happened and not just a couple of times. I'm just waiting for a thread that is started by a stallion owner that talks about all the things they would like to see mare owners do or not do. I'm sure their list would be just as long as yours....
            One reason some SOs require that the insemination be done by a vet is to help safeguard against these types of abuses where the breeding contract provides for one foal only from the breeding (some do not have that restriction). Also, the SO has an interest in maximizing the likelihood of conception, particularly when it is an LFG, as it costs them more to do multiple shipments for a mare that does not take, and could risk damage to the stallion's reputation (i.e., when the mare does not take and comes here to complain about the stallion, failing to disclose that the endeavor was a DIY and not something handled by a repro vet).
            Roseknoll Sporthorses
            www.roseknoll.net

            Comment


            • #7
              I forgot initally we were talking frozen with a LFG, if that is the case it should be required to be done by a licensed veterinarian. If it is sold per dose and the mare owner wanted to take a risk that would be their choice. I can't believe when everyone says it costs about the same to do frozen! Wow, I am running $800-$1100 for one cycle of frozen (depends on if mare needs to be flushed etc) and only about 1/2 that for fresh cooled. So frozen is definately not a cheap option for me but it is nice to have it on hand when needed and since I am in a small town and FedEx doesn't have overnight delivery here it is much easier.
              Cindy's Warmbloods
              www.cindyswarmbloods.com Cindy's Warmbloods
              www.facebook.com/CindysWarmbloods Join Us on Facebook for latest updates!

              Comment


              • #8
                I think it is a tough decision to decide how to use frozen. As a mare owner, I actually prefer to buy frozen by the dose rather than a more expensive LFG because of the high cost of shipping it and the struggle of what to do with remaining doses. That is a lot of money in cost of freezing to just throw away. Buying it per dose makes it very simple.

                I have saved a lot of money overall by using frozen semen. When it works it is wonderful and very affordable...when it doesnt, the costs wrack up quickly. I think the absolute key is having a successful vet (preferbaly with a clinic) who breeds with alot of frozen.
                Whispered Wish Weser-Ems: Breeding quality German Riding Ponies!
                Standing the stallion Burberry
                www.germanridingpony.com
                www.facebook.com/HighlifesBurberry

                Comment


                • #9
                  No flame suit necessary, but I do have some feedback.

                  Originally posted by Spectrum View Post
                  I have to pay additional charges to my vet for using frozen, which makes it more expensive. I have shopped around, and the vets/clinics that offer "package" or "per cycle" charges for AI always charge $50-100 more per cycle for using frozen, due to the narrower timing window. If I'm paying a "per service rendered" fee I have to pay for more farm calls (if not shipping the mare out) and more ultrasounds.
                  It is more expensive in regards to vet fees to use frozen as it does require closer monitoring than fresh semen. I have found that it to be more cost effective to board these mares at the clinic than to pay for the twice daily farm calls.

                  Originally posted by Spectrum View Post
                  I have to pay additional shipping charges for a much heavier container to ship frozen, almost always each cycle, and in addition I have to pay out a large damage deposit (usually $500-800) which I will probably not be refunded for months even if my mare takes on the next cycle.
                  We sell our frozen semen by dose (no stud fee), so it is up to the mare owner in regards to how many doses that they would like to purchase. If they choose to purchase just one dose, then they may need to have more semen shipped for the next cycle. We do offer a LFG contract and will provide 3 doses with back-up to one of our fresh semen stallions, but the fee is higher than buying by the dose and the mare owner must pay an additional fee if they get more than one pregnancy from the 3 doses as the contract is for just one mare. We do not charge a damage deposit for the container, but rather hold a credit card number on file. If the container is returned timely and in one piece, there are no charges.

                  Originally posted by Spectrum View Post
                  Statistically speaking, I will pay out all this extra money for a lower chance of conception than I would have while using fresh cooled.
                  We have had comparable conception rates with frozen semen as we have had with fresh.

                  Originally posted by Spectrum View Post
                  Now, I'm not ranting without purpose here... As a mare owner, I am taking a hit using frozen. Yes, there is the advantage of having semen on hand, but quite frankly I'm not interested in spending 100's of dollars for "convenience." I would rather run around a little bit and save myself the extra money.
                  Certainly understandable. Luckily, there are many lovely stallions available in North America via fresh chilled semen.

                  Originally posted by Spectrum View Post
                  I have a premium Oldenburg mare who is a proven producer of top-quality offspring. This is a mare who will absolutely produce FEI prospects with the right stallion. And there are many lovely young stallions I would love to breed her to, but they are out trying to compete and develop credentials so are offering only frozen semen breedings.
                  It is very difficult to manage a stallion's training and show schedule while also making him available to mares. The busiest show months are at the beginning of the year (December through June), especially when trying to qualify a horse for finals at the end of the year. At our farm, we start receiving semen requests from Florida breeders in February although our official breeding season is April 15th through July 31st. One of our stallions, has been collected 4 to 7 times a week steadily since the beginning of May. This leaves no opportunity for showing at all. It is a tough position to be in as the mare owners want the sires of their foals to be successful in sport, but they also need them to be available in breeding. It is almost impossible to get a stallion to the upper levels in a timely fashion if he is "off" for 5 months out of every year.

                  Originally posted by Spectrum View Post
                  If you have a stallion who is out competing and you're almost exclusively offering frozen but aren't getting enough breedings ...
                  Popeye K has only been available via frozen semen for several years now due to his busy show schedule and his frozen semen has sold out each year at a premium fee. Being available with frozen semen only may have discouraged some mare owners, but has not affected his popularity.

                  Originally posted by Spectrum View Post
                  How about shipping more than one cycle per shipment? I have yet to encounter a stallion that routinely offers to ship more than one cycle per frozen shipment. And if you have a virile stallion that is going to continue to be collected and frozen, that's just plain dumb in my opinion. If I'm going to pay out a zillion dollars in shipping fees, please send me three cycles' worth and allow me to sign an agreement to destroy any unused straws.
                  It is expensive to freeze the stallions. We may get anywhere from 2 to 20 doses per collection. There are no guarantees as to what we will have on any given collection, but we are averaging 4 doses (two 5 ml straws) per collection.

                  For our stallion in Germany, he must be quarantined before he is collected and during the collection which means 6 to 8 weeks of quarantine. On top of the quarantine fees, the collection and freezing fees, there are also the import and shipping fees from Europe. We don't see any money whatsoever towards a stud fee for him when we sell the frozen semen. Our out-of-pocket expense for that dose semen is 2/3 of what we charge for it. The small amount we make on the top helps cover my time for managing his paperwork and his licensing fees.

                  Originally posted by Spectrum View Post
                  Ship multiple doses per cycle, so timed insemination protocols can be used to reduce ultrasounds needed.
                  This is the mare owner's choice. Either purchase more doses or, if you are not happy with the contract, choose another stallion.

                  Originally posted by Spectrum View Post
                  Refund damage deposits promptly to mare owners after conception is confirmed (30-45 days) so they are more willing to offer up said deposits in the future.
                  We keep a credit card number on file rather than require a deposit.

                  Originally posted by Spectrum View Post
                  Consider allowing "lay people" who have taken Equine Repro courses (and can document doing so) to inseminate their own mares insteading of requiring them to use vets.
                  We do not specify who must inseminate the mare, but again, if you are not happy with the contract, choose another stallion.

                  Originally posted by Spectrum View Post
                  Don't charge "collection fees" to mare owners for using frozen semen. That's just bunk, in my opinion. You're charging a stud fee, you're making the process dramatically more convenient for yourself as a stallion owner, so please don't charge me a fee when my life is being made more complicated by using frozen semen. Plus, your average stallion is getting several doses of frozen for each mount rather than the 1 or 2 typical of a regular fresh collection, so you're saving even more time and money (and risk to your stallion) by using frozen.
                  We don't charge collection fees, but probably would if we were sending the frozen semen out on a contract similiar to our fresh semen contract (LFG with a never ending supply of semen during a two year contract). Our collection fee versus our cost for frozen semen per dose (for our North American stallions) is about the same, so it makes sense to do it that way.

                  Originally posted by Spectrum View Post
                  I realize that stallion owners don't make much (if any) money standing stallions often-times, but I feel like they aren't doing much to provide incentives for mare owners to make their lives easier.
                  I would venture to guess that most stallion owners make no money at all.

                  Originally posted by Spectrum View Post
                  1) Same stud fee as for fresh cooled.
                  Not a problem.

                  Originally posted by Spectrum View Post
                  Ship three cycles at a time with 2 inseminations per cycle.
                  Also not a problem if the mare owner is willing to pay for those additional straws.

                  Originally posted by Spectrum View Post
                  Pay an exhorbitant/punitive fee if it is found that I have abused the additional straws by breeding extra mares and/or saying I have destroyed it when I have not.
                  How will the stallion owner manage this? There is no way to ensure that this is not happening.

                  It seems that you are unhappy about a contract/situation that you are currently in. My advise is to fully read the breeding contracts and ask questions of the stallion owner in advance to avoid any misunderstandings. If it is in the contract in black and white, then it is not fair to the stallion owner to be upset about it. Frozen semen isn't for everyone. There are many stallions to choose from, so maybe avoid using a stallion via frozen semen in the future.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by showjumpers66 View Post
                    ...I would venture to guess that most stallion owners make no money at all.
                    If that's true, why would anyone want to go through the hassle of it all?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Because they enjoy it. Same reason mare owners breed their mares.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I like frozen and think it is more convenient. We order it ahead of time and my vet stores it until it is needed. I don't have to get the semen ordered at a precise time, on a certain day of the week, and worry about the FedEx truck running late or something. Really, for frozen semen I think it is better and less expensive to leave your mare at the repro clinic. They can ultrasound as necessary without you having to be present and you just pay for her board which is a lot cheaper than farm calls. It makes it easier for the vet too and I certainly try to make things run smoothly as much as possible for the vet when I can because he goes out of his way for me enough as it is.

                        The idea that stallion owners are getting away with ripping off mare owners by charging a collection is very presumptious. It is not cheap to freeze semen and how many doses you get from one collection can vary even with the same stallion. A lot of stallion owners will be collecting when the stallion is not showing and this may be fall/winter when semen counts tend to be lower so they may not be getting many doses per collection. The SO risks preparing for freezing semen with a collection and all associated charges and may only get a couple of doses at best. In order to get more the stallion will require an extended stay at the facility (boarding fees). Then the SO has to pay monthly maintenance for storing the semen and who knows what else. Don't forget the SOs incidentals (time and money) to transport the stallion to the proper facility for freezing which generally are not right around the corner.

                        If you have a good repro vet experienced in frozen semen and you purchase good quality frozen semen you shouldn't have much lower odds of getting your mare in foal than if you used fresh. And, IMO, leaving your mare at the clinic to be bred by frozen may actually tilt the odds in your favor because the semen is already there and waiting and the only schedule to be worked around belongs to the vet and the mare. The mare owner's work/school schedule, family obligations, traffic jams, etc. are not going to be getting in the way of making this happen and no last minute snafu's on the stallion's side of things will prevent a collection (trailer breaks down on the highway, somehow the collection appt disappears off the vet clinic's book, SO has a family emergency, etc.) Some other advantages for the Mare Owner is that if the follicle suddenly stalls, begins to regress or there is an AHF then you don't have semen on the way that may or may not be usable but for which you already paid collection and shipping on. Then if the mare gets heading in the right direction again on the same cycle you aren't faced with ordering and paying for a second collection. Actually, I think there can be financial savings to the mare owner who uses frozen over fresh. For example, I have a mare here that likes to throw us for a loop with AHF a couple times a year during the breeding season and a few that will on occasion sit on a 40 mm follicle for a week. Fresh semen doesn't last THAT long.

                        If you want to save yourself money to not ship additional doses of frozen semen after the fact then buy multiple doses and have them shipped all at once. With fresh semen you don't even have this option. Or you might be able to work something out with the SO. I had one contract to breed a mare by frozen. The SO agreed to send me enough for 2 mares so that if the first mare did not take I could use the second dose on her next cycle. If I did get the mare in foal on the first cycle then I would use the other semen to breed another mare (Mare #2) and pay the stud fee for Mare #2. I already have a working relationship with this SO which helps. Mare #1 is at the clinic and will probably be bred tomorrow. The semen quality is excellent and we were successful getting a mare in foal on the first cycle using frozen from the same stallion previously. So, I think there are different ways to work these things out but you'll need to consider all the money and effort the SO puts into the frozen semen and the multiple risks they take.
                        Altamont Sport Horses
                        Trakehners * Knabstruppers * Appaloosa Sport Horses
                        Home of stallions: Ambrosius af Asgard "Atlantis" & Hollywood Hot Spot
                        Birmingham, AL

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                        • #13
                          If that's true, why would anyone want to go through the hassle of it all?
                          Very good question. And one that most small-enterprise stallion owners ask themselves every day, if not several times a day. Okay, okay, ask themselves hourly.

                          Some of the reasons are (and I’m not saying they are GOOD reasons for going bankrupt…just reasons)
                          • That we like to think there will be some option for mare owners in WB breeding that need to utilize the method of shipped, chilled.
                          • That we are still capable in this country of breeding a good stallion right here, and not throw our hands up and outsource the whole enterprise to Europe.
                          • That the small guy has not been completely subjugate to the stallion station. Although I will be the first to admit that stallion stations make a lot of sense.
                          • That there are still some few folks in NA that want to SEE the stallion they use.
                          • That there are still mareowners out there that appreciate and value the one-on-one contact with their stallion owner. Speaking as a mareowner, it’s REALLY NICE when someone gets excited for you, and anticipates your foal almost as much as you do. There is a feeling of being part of a greater effort. Not just you, the lone ranger with your tank of frozen semen.
                          Last edited by ahf; Jun. 24, 2008, 12:09 AM. Reason: it's subjugate, not sublimate. Lordy. How embarrassing.
                          "No matter how cynical I get its just not enough to keep up." Lily Tomlin

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                          • #14
                            Yes AHF! I keep track of every mare that Bravo breeds, fresh or frozen, and I call or e-mail them to find out if there mare took or not, usually before they call me. It is exciting to see their mares confirmed 'in foal', to our young stallions.

                            As for frozen, Bravo was offered to a few select mares for breeding with frozen for free to find out IF he freezes or not. Kathy and Jos encouraged me to send multiple doses to these mares so the MO wouldn't need to ship extra semen. But this was an experiment.

                            Next year, hopefully Bravo will be in full competition, and available almost only by frozen. If people want fresh, they'll need to pay a premium for it.

                            I'm a very new stallion owner, but Bravo is collecting 4-5 days weekly. I can't imagine him ever showing with this breeding schedule.
                            Chris Misita
                            www.hiddenvalleyfarms.net Home of Bravo and Warrick!
                            To dare; progress comes at this price. All sublime conquests are, more or less, the rewards of daring.
                            Victor Hugo

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Spectrum View Post
                              So, as a mare owner, I have to admit it is extremely frustrating to read article after article on how wonderful and convenient frozen semen is for mare owners while it seems that stallion owners do everything in their power to make using it a PITA.
                              Mmm...well, I guess we're not talking to the same stallion owners <smile>. But, I will offer insight from our perspective as we not only freeze stallions, we manage frozen semen AND we breed mares with frozen semen. So, I'll attempt to address your questions and concerns one by one, although I see that others have done so already.

                              The way most stallion owners seem to want to operate, frozen semen makes *their* lives easier and cheaper but it does absolutely nothing for me, the "common" mare owner.
                              Actually it can. But in order to take advantage of that, you as the mare owner must plan ahead. I find that most frozen semen that I ship out, the mare owner literally calls me as if we were shipping cooled semen and ends up losing all the potential savings in shipping.

                              A) I have to pay additional charges to my vet for using frozen, which makes it more expensive. I have shopped around, and the vets/clinics that offer "package" or "per cycle" charges for AI always charge $50-100 more per cycle for using frozen, due to the narrower timing window. If I'm paying a "per service rendered" fee I have to pay for more farm calls (if not shipping the mare out) and more ultrasounds.
                              Yes, there will probably be a slightly higher service fee for managing a mare with frozen semen. We charge $100.00 more. But, that also means that I'm going to be getting up every 6 hours and checking your mare in the middle of the night. We breed mostly with single dose semen and even when we have multiple doses, we attempt to use only one in order to save the mare owner the added expense of additional straws of semen.

                              B) I have to pay additional shipping charges for a much heavier container to ship frozen, almost always each cycle, and in addition I have to pay out a large damage deposit (usually $500-800) which I will probably not be refunded for months even if my mare takes on the next cycle.
                              Not if you plan ahead, as noted above. I'll ship out 2nd or 3rd day or even ground IF the mare owner plans sufficiently in advance. This time of year, everyone is needing semen yesterday and unfortunately, while we "do" have several dry shippers, they are usually out continuously. However, if you know you're breeidng to a particular stallion, you "can" order that semen months in advance when there is no rush to get the semen. That alone will save you considerably on shipping. As far as the damage deposit goes, we only charge that if the container is not returned or is damaged. We put a credit card hold (much like a hotel will do when you make a reservation) on your account and it falls off when the shipper is returned.

                              C) Statistically speaking, I will pay out all this extra money for a lower chance of conception than I would have while using fresh cooled.
                              You are correct in that your chances of success are about 10% lower. However, you can mitigate those statistics by making sure you purchase semen from a stallion that is known to freeze well and has known pregnancies with frozen semen and breeding a mare that is not a reproductive challenge.

                              Now, I'm not ranting without purpose here... As a mare owner, I am taking a hit using frozen. Yes, there is the advantage of having semen on hand, but quite frankly I'm not interested in spending 100's of dollars for "convenience." I would rather run around a little bit and save myself the extra money.
                              Well with gas and diesel at an all time high, running around to save a bit of money is going to become harder and harder <wry smile>...

                              1. How about shipping more than one cycle per shipment? I have yet to encounter a stallion that routinely offers to ship more than one cycle per frozen shipment. And if you have a virile stallion that is going to continue to be collected and frozen, that's just plain dumb in my opinion. If I'm going to pay out a zillion dollars in shipping fees, please send me three cycles' worth and allow me to sign an agreement to destroy any unused straws.
                              We actually recommend that when shipping semen on a stallion that is alive, has good quality semen and can still be collected and frozen, to ship three insemination doses.

                              2. Ship multiple doses per cycle, so timed insemination protocols can be used to reduce ultrasounds needed.
                              See above. You are probably not going to get a stallion owner to ship you multiple doses and multiple breedings as well. If you have a competent vet, you can go with timed insemination protocols or you can try to breed using one straw. With three insemination doses, we figure it gives you the choice of doing either, as well as one back up dose to use if things don't go according to plan. And, if you manage to get a pregnancy on one dose, it allows both the stallion owner and the mare owner the opportunity to discuss possibly breeding an additional mare.

                              3. Refund damage deposits promptly to mare owners after conception is confirmed (30-45 days) so they are more willing to offer up said deposits in the future.
                              That's just plain common good sense. And, it's easy to do when dealing with credit cards.

                              4. Consider allowing "lay people" who have taken Equine Repro courses (and can document doing so) to inseminate their own mares insteading of requiring them to use vets.
                              While some will raise an eyebrow at this and as has been noted by other posters, there is the opportunity for fraud with this idea. Personally, I believe most people are honest and if someone is going to cheat, they'll do it regardless of what requirements one puts in place. We've actually taught many mare owners the timed insemination protocol and it is a great option for those that are in areas where veterinarians that specialize in equine reproduction might be hard to find. But I would also say that before agreeing to that, it would be a good idea to have the mare(s) checked to make sure she is reproductively sound.

                              5. Don't charge "collection fees" to mare owners for using frozen semen. That's just bunk, in my opinion. You're charging a stud fee, you're making the process dramatically more convenient for yourself as a stallion owner, so please don't charge me a fee when my life is being made more complicated by using frozen semen. Plus, your average stallion is getting several doses of frozen for each mount rather than the 1 or 2 typical of a regular fresh collection, so you're saving even more time and money (and risk to your stallion) by using frozen.
                              We usually suggest managing frozen by giving the first shipment of three as part of the breeding fee. If additional doses are needed, charge for the cost to produce those insemination doses. There "are" costs involved for freezing semen, but typically they are considerably less than having to have a stallion collected for shipping.

                              As a mare owner who has put in quite a large amount of time working with repro vets and is aware of how much of repro work isn't rocket science, it frustrates me to see such huge inefficiences in "the system."
                              <lol>...that's true of every industry and not unique to horse breeding.

                              I realize that stallion owners don't make much (if any) money standing stallions often-times, but I feel like they aren't doing much to provide incentives for mare owners to make their lives easier.
                              Hey, we're doing our part! Honest <smile>!

                              [quote] So, after all is said and done, here is what I would like to see in a frozen contract:

                              1) Same stud fee as for fresh cooled. [/qutoe]

                              We suggest that it be tiered. If you are buying it by the dose with no live foal guarantee, obviously you're taking a risk, but it also means that you have the potential of scoring a big savings, so a lower price for buying it by the dose. Second tier is if you buy frozen semen with a live foal guarantee and the stallion owner will ship you multiple doses, but each additional dose after the first shipment is at a price that the stallion owner can replace their stock. And the last option is frozen semen with a live foal guarantee that is backed up by fresh cooled semen.

                              2) Ship three cycles at a time with 2 inseminations per cycle.
                              Can't agree with that one. You're actually at this stage, asking the stallion owner to cough up quite a bit in an investment. We're probably one of the least expensive businesses out there freezing semen, but to give you an idea of costs on this one, we charge $375.00 to freeze an ejaculate. The average stallion produces between five and fifteen insemination doses per ejaculate. So, let's take the average of averages and say the stallion produces 10 doses. That's $37.50 per dose. You're asking the stallion owner to ship 6 doses which works out to be $225.00. Additionally, the stallion owner will have had to pay to have the semen stored, or will have invested in storage tanks and nitrogen. If they're storing it themselves, they've also invested in a dry shipper to the tune of about $1200.00. As noted, we recommend shipping three doses. It gives the mare owner the option to use the timed insemination protocol or not.

                              3) Agree to refund damage deposit within 30 days of mare being confirmed in foal.
                              Damage deposit should be refunded as soon as the tank is returned.

                              In turn, I will agree in writing to:

                              1) Pay an exhorbitant/punitive fee if it is found that I have abused the additional straws by breeding extra mares and/or saying I have destroyed it when I have not.
                              Good luck trying to enforce that one <rolling eyes>. Unfortunately, the reality of trying to sue someone, no one wins.

                              2) Have my vet sign an agreement to either destroy unused straws or store them (at *my* expense) without release unless informed in writing by you that I have paid the you for another breeding or booking fee (if the mare miscarries later on).
                              You're putting the onus on the vet and that's not fair to the vet. Additionally, there "are" unscrupulous vets out there, just like there are unscrupulous breeders <smile>.

                              3) Pay whatever "handling" charge the frozen semen agents charge for sending out a shipment.
                              The "handling" charge covers costs involved for using those dry shippers. Frozen semen agents have a significant investment in the dry shippers. They also have to charge those things with nitrogen, make sure that all the paperwork is included, insure that the correct straws are placed in the tank, etc.

                              No need to put on a flame suit. I think that we all need to evaluate how we're marketing semen in this country. Frozen semen "is" convenient and as you noted, it's not rocket science. It does require considerably more investment in time and energy to insure optimal results, but with the timed insemination protocol available, it also does tend to make things a bit easier, as well.

                              Hope that helps!

                              Kathy St.Martin
                              Equine Reproduction Short Courses
                              http://www.equine-reproduction.com
                              Equine-Reproduction.com Now offering one on one customized training!
                              Leg-Up Equestrian Assistance Program, Inc. A 501(c)(3) non-profit charity

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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by ahf View Post
                                Very good question. And one that most small-enterprise stallion owners ask themselves every day, if not several times a day. Okay, okay, ask themselves hourly.

                                Some of the reasons are (and I’m not saying they are GOOD reasons for going bankrupt…just reasons)
                                • That we like to think there will be some option for mare owners in WB breeding that need to utilize the method of shipped, chilled.
                                • That we are still capable in this country of breeding a good stallion right here, and not throw our hands up and outsource the whole enterprise to Europe.
                                • That the small guy has not been completely sublimated to the stallion station. Although I will be the first to admit that stallion stations make a lot of sense.
                                • That there are still some few folks in NA that want to SEE the stallion they use.
                                • That there are still mareowners out there that appreciate and value the one-on-one contact with their stallion owner. Speaking as a mareowner, it’s REALLY NICE when someone gets excited for you, and anticipates your foal almost as much as you do. There is a feeling of being part of a greater effort. Not just you, the lone ranger with your tank of frozen semen.
                                Great answer, AHF : )
                                Roseknoll Sporthorses
                                www.roseknoll.net

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                                • #17
                                  I thought this was going to be like the between rounds commentary to &quot;get real&quot;

                                  but really,

                                  I think that it's about the enormity of the breeding commitment. There are several options with contracts, and with the choice of stud, and chilled v frozen, but it ultimately comes down to a big commitment.

                                  And a lot of luck.

                                  I've been very committed, and very, very lucky. And my mom bred a good one in our backyard many years ago- viscount- and she called herself very, very lucky.

                                  if it's about the difference in $100, or 20 times that in vet calls, and not just about the jjoy of getting a bun going in the oven- then it sounds like it will be a long, arduous process. I hope you are blessed with luck.

                                  justridin'

                                  as for lucky, i was, after I did the monty roberts thing- you know "if you want to load him in the trailer in a few minutes, it will take all day. If you act like you have all day, he'll load in a few minutes..."

                                  really, good luck to you...

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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by justridin' View Post

                                    I've been very committed, and very, very lucky. And my mom bred a good one in our backyard many years ago- viscount- and she called herself very, very lucky.
                                    ...
                                    Wow, I'll say that was a good one. That is some homebred!
                                    Roseknoll Sporthorses
                                    www.roseknoll.net

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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Equine Reproduction View Post


                                      Can't agree with that one. You're actually at this stage, asking the stallion owner to cough up quite a bit in an investment. We're probably one of the least expensive businesses out there freezing semen, but to give you an idea of costs on this one, we charge $375.00 to freeze an ejaculate. The average stallion produces between five and fifteen insemination doses per ejaculate. So, let's take the average of averages and say the stallion produces 10 doses. That's $37.50 per dose. You're asking the stallion owner to ship 6 doses which works out to be $225.00. Additionally, the stallion owner will have had to pay to have the semen stored, or will have invested in storage tanks and nitrogen. If they're storing it themselves, they've also invested in a dry shipper to the tune of about $1200.00. As noted, we recommend shipping three doses. It gives the mare owner the option to use the timed insemination protocol or not.

                                      Or example, for us, we are a minimum of 5 hours away from a freezing facility. So, I've got 10 hours of driving and gas, my stallion often has to stay down there for a minimum of 1-2 weeks. By the time I pick our stallion up, I have to make another 10 hour drive and have an exorbitant boarding bill from the vet clinic (as most of you know, stabling at a vet clinic can be frighteningly expensive!). Our stallions last two week stay resulted in 21 doses. My bill was well over $1,800 by the time I got home. So, our base cost per insemination dose was $80...and that does not include the costs involved in storing it.


                                      If you were a stallion owner, you would NOT even consider "shipping three cycles at a time with 2 inseminations per cycle" as you suggested! For one, if done properly, you should only need one or three insemination doses if your vet is well versed with frozen semen. There is absolutely NO WAY on this earth that I can police what you will be doing with OUR frozen semen. So, I send you six doses and you promise to only use them on one mare. Just do a search on the COTH forum for topics on unauthorized foals...meaning that the Mare Owner used the semen on multiple mares and got multiple foals without the Stallion Owner knowing. Now, if it's purchasing frozen semen per dose with no LFG, that may be a different story but completely unethical and wrong if purchasing semen with a LFG. Crumb, do a search for multiple foals happening from fresh shipped semen! It is really appalling! And there is no way to try and force you to pay me for the unauthorized breedings without going to court. And then I have ridiculous court costs and no guarantee at the end of it that it will rule in my favor or you'll actually pay up!

                                      I know Mare Owners understand it's extremely expensive to be breeding their mare and carrying a foal to term, and then all of the expenses that go into the foal once it hits the ground but I don't think most Mare Owners truly understand the expense, time and management that goes into standing a stallion. It is a true labor of love.

                                      Unlike the mare, stallion come with very different expenses. Often, they have to be stabled in a different environment than the average mare. Some stallions are respectful of any time of fence but many stallions with raging hormones require a more demanding type of fencing, plus, if multiple stallions are standing on the same property, they need to have their own territory and space or you get into trouble. Many boarding and training facilities won't even accept stallions on their property and many stable owners who stand stallions are forced to pay higher insurance costs when a stallion is present around boarding mares and clients.

                                      One of the biggest expenses can be advertising and promotion. Last time I check, an ad in the Practical Horseman Stallion Issue runs at $3,200 US!! After board, training, basic farrier and vaccinations are done, then we get into having to purchase breeding dummies and all the equipment needed for collecting semen...which can often run up in the thousands and thousands of dollars. And then there there are the breeding courses to take. Often, not at all close to home.

                                      Because of our location, no courier services travel out our way, which means I have an hour and a half ONE WAY drive to the airport or Fed-Ex station to drop off our fresh shipped semen. I really don't recoup those costs. Often to make a flight on time, we're collecting semen sometimes in the middle of the night or 4 am...and then doing the hour and a half one way drive to the airport.

                                      AND THEN, you've got the registry stallion license fees, inspection fees, testing fees, yearly stallion dues...some of the registries charging $500 or more per year.

                                      I will say that I truly enjoy ever minute of it (almost ). So much so that we added a new stallion to our roster for this year. But, standing a stallion takes dedication, people skills and a true love for the industry.

                                      So, while you may not be happy with what is often done in the industry, there are very valid reasons for why they are done. And again, as several people have already stated, if you're not happy with the contract you have, find another stallion and Stallion Owner to deal with. Not all contracts are created equal and not every Stallion Owner is created equal. Sometimes, it's just as important to find a Stallion Owner and contract that you will be compatible with as it is to find the right stallion your mare will be compatible with!
                                      www.DaventryEquestrian.com
                                      Home of Welsh Cob stallion Goldhills Brandysnap
                                      Also home to Daventry Equine Appraisals & Equine Expert Witness
                                      www.EquineAppraisers.com

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                                      • #20
                                        To have semen for other countries frozen is very expensive. Most are selling per dose and the owner can do what he or she wants to do with the semen. Allowed is a dose - a foal. But I have found out that in Australia they did SPLIT the doses and inseminated more than what was allowed.
                                        Gwendolyn
                                        http://www.gestuet-falkenhorst.com
                                        Exceptional colored German WBs, TBs and Arabians

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