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Video: Organization Of Horse Breeding
Mares usually have several sexual cycles during the year. The number, frequency of repetitions and their duration are subject to significant fluctuations. It depends on the individual characteristics of the mare, her condition, as well as on the environmental conditions - climate, method of keeping, level of feeding, workload, etc.
Sharp deviations from the normal conditions of keeping mares inhibit sexual functions and lead to a violation of the sexual cycles. On the contrary, the improvement of housing conditions and adequate feeding with the inclusion in the diet of a sufficient amount of protein, vitamins and minerals contribute to the normal reproductive activity of mares throughout the year. In wild and steppe horses, there is a particularly clear seasonality in sexual functions. Their manifestation is confined to the spring period of the year.
In Western Europe, where the climate is mild, mares sometimes foal all year round. However, in the more severe climatic conditions of our country, mating and foaling of mares occurs in the spring; transferring them to other months of the year, although possible, but, with the exception of kumis farms, is completely inappropriate, mainly due to extremely unfavorable conditions for the growth and development of foals born in non-spring months. Therefore, despite the terms of the breeding campaign for mass horse breeding established in our country from March 15 to August 1, mating and foaling of mares should be carried out mainly in the early spring months. Thanks to this, the tension with the pulling force in the spring-summer months of agricultural work is also mitigated, since by the specified time the mares will have been fermented and can be fully used at work.Early foals grow and develop better. Carrying out mating and foaling throughout the year in a number of kumis farms is dictated by the year-round demand of kumis consumers.
Puberty for fillies and foals begins at the age of one to two years, depending on their general development, breed and keeping conditions. In fillies, the ability to conceive can already begin at the age of 12-18 months, at the same age the testes of stallions begin to function. However, early puberty does not coincide with sufficient general physical development in foals. Therefore, neither fillies nor colts should be allowed to mate so early. Foal retards the development of filly, they bear the fetus poorly, are distinguished by weak milkiness, and foals born from such underdeveloped queens are usually small and not viable. Foals with such an early mating are also severely depleted and delayed in their development.
It is possible to let mares and stallions mate only when the general development of their body has basically ended. In the practice of Soviet horse breeding, they are allowed to mate: heavy trucks - stallions from 3-4 years old, mares from 3 years old; trotting and riding - stallions from 4 to 5 years old, mares from 3-4 years old. However, these dates are not absolutely mandatory: if the horse is underdeveloped, mating should be postponed until the next season.
Regularities of the manifestation of hunting and ovulation in mares
Hunting is such a state of a mare in which she manifests sexual attraction, allows a stallion to come close to her, allows him to mount, and in most cases is capable of conceiving. This state of the mare is usually associated with the fact that the maturation of the follicle occurs in its ovaries and a mature egg is released from it, i.e. ovulation. The time from the beginning of one hunt to the beginning of another determines the duration of one sexual cycle.
Hunting in mares normally lasts 5-7 days with fluctuations from 2-3 to 12-14 days. Longer hunting often indicates an abnormal condition of the mare's genitals or her poor preparedness for mating. If the mare was not fertilized during the hunt, then after 10-16 days from the last day of the hunt, she usually comes back to hunt. Thus, the average duration of the sexual cycle is 20-23 days, but there are fluctuations from 12 to 30 days or more. In most mares, the first hunt after foal begins very quickly, after 7-10 days, and sometimes even 5-6 days. In some cases, there is a significant delay.
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Large fluctuations in the duration and severity of hunting and the time between two adjacent hunts (period of sexual dormancy) depend on the state of health of the mare and, to a large extent, on the level of feeding, conditions of keeping, work, training, etc. Breed, age and individual characteristics of animals also affect the manifestation of hunting. Under relatively constant conditions of keeping and feeding in (many mares there is a significant constancy of the duration and frequency of hunting over a number of years.
Signs of hunting: mares have swelling of the external genital organs, sometimes white outflows appear, "the loop blinks", the cervix of the uterus opens, the mares willingly let the stallion near them, they become nervous at work, sweat faster and get tired.
Ovulation in mares occurs in the second half of the hunt, closer to its end. However, in some cases, maturation of follicles and ovulation in mares occur without the appearance of external signs of heat.
Mares will be most effective if done shortly before ovulation. However, the time of its onset can be determined only by rectal examination of the ovaries. This method makes it possible to bring the fertility of mares to 95-100% and to increase the load on the stallion with manual mating to 75-90 mares, without reducing their fertility and not exhausting the stallion.
According to the shape of the follicles, their size, consistency, as well as the fluid fluctuations in them, the successive stages of follicle maturation and the time of ovulation are determined. There is no abrupt transition between these stages, but with a known skill, they can be distinguished with sufficient clarity, which makes it easier to determine the time for mating mares or their artificial insemination. Unfortunately, collective farms and state farms do not always have a specialist who is practically fluent in this method of diagnosing ovulation. Therefore, to determine the hunting of mares, they resort to the help of a test stallion. This method is based on the fact that if a mare is hunting, then she lets the stallion close to her and allows him to cage. Otherwise, she does not let the stallion close to her, hits him with her front and hind legs, or, as they say in such cases, “the mare beats him off”.As probes, energetic stallions that have no breeding value, are not evil, healthy, have reached puberty are used. To maintain sexual reflexes in the probe during the breeding season, 3-4 mares of non-breeding value are covered with it.
The test of young, mating mares for the first time, as well as single and aborted mares, is carried out from the beginning of the breeding season, and the fermented mares - from the 5-6th day after foaling. They try them regularly every other day, so as not to miss those whose hunt lasts only 2-3 days. Mating begins on the second day of hunting, and if the mare is hunting, it happens on the same day. After the first mating, the mare continues to be tried as a stallion, and if she is hunting, it happens on the 4-6-8th day and so on until the 10-12th day of hunting. If hunting has not stopped by this time, the mare should be sent for a veterinary examination.
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On the 16-17th day, counting from the first day of the first hunt, the sample of mares is resumed and carried out every other day until the onset of the next hunt or detection of fertility, which is determined by rectal examination on the 25-35th day after the last bearing of the stallion.
Mares, which for a long time do not show signs of hunting during manual testing, should be released into boils or levada together with a specially operated test stallion (eversion of the penis through the perineum, as a result of which it cannot cover the mare, but only reveals its heat).
Repeated cages on days 2-4-6-8 are carried out so that by the time of ovulation there would be full sperm in the mare's genital tract; the survivability and fertilizing ability of sperm in the genitals of a mare are preserved only for 24-48 hours.
In horse breeding, manual, cooking, mowing and free mating, as well as artificial insemination, are used
Manual mating is most widespread when horses are kept in a stable.After the establishment of the hunt for the mare in a specially designated closed room (arena) or on a flat area near the stable, her mating with a stallion is carried out. Before mating, it is necessary to put on a breeding harness on a mare so that she cannot hit the stallion; then, to avoid injury to the stallion's penis by the hair of the mare's tail, the latter is bandaged with a clean linen bandage. When setting, the mare's tail should be set aside. Cage goes well if the mare is positioned so that its front is located below the rear. At the moment of mounting, the mare's head is raised so that it cannot kick the stallion. If for some reason the mating did not succeed, the stallion must be walked for 15-20 minutes and then the mating must be repeated. The stallion should not be allowed to mount on the mare until the penis is fully erect.
The mare on hunting days and especially after mating should not be used for hard work, in fast driving, in equestrian competitions and trials. Care should be taken to ensure that the cage ends normally with a complete ejaculation of the stallion's sperm. The latter is determined by a slight movement of its tail from top to bottom.
At the end of the cage, the stallion and the mare should be walked for about 10 minutes. If during the cage the mare does not stand well, turns, steps over with its hind legs, this is one of the signs that the cervix is either closed or slightly open. This circumstance indicates an unsuccessful choice of mating time (at the beginning or end of the hunt).
Mowing is used in horse breeding. It consists in the following: for the entire breeding season, a school is released on the pasture - a group of queens (up to 25-30 heads) and a stallion with them. The latter himself finds mares who have come to hunt, and covers them in the wild. The advantages of mating mating are the possibility of insemination in the shoal of unleashed queens, the greater likelihood of conceiving mares, even mares that have become bachelors from year to year, saving labor and higher fertility of the broodstock (95-100%). The negative aspects include the lower load of the queens on the producer and the quick wear of the mowing stallion than with manual mating.
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Cooking mating, to a certain extent, combines manual and mowing mating and is used mainly for herd breeding. It consists in the fact that several appropriately selected queens are driven into a brew (fenced-in place) and a stallion is admitted to them, who himself finds a mare in the hunt and hides her. After 1-2 cages, the stallion must be caught and put into the stable. If it is noticed that a stallion in cooking covers the same queen in a row, not paying attention to others who are also in a state of hunting, then this queen is not allowed to cook the next day.
Cooking mating allows the use of valuable breeding broodstock on non-raised queens, makes it possible to cover herd mares in a more natural environment for them; however, it can regulate the use of the stallion during the breeding season to the same extent as with manual mating. The pregnancy rate during brewing is quite high - 85-100%. When brewing, the load on a full-age stallion, depending on its condition, can be increased to 30-35 mares per season.