For those who breed you probably have heard many numbers associated with equine semen. Many look at the progressive motility as an indicator of quality. The real answer is: look at the number of progressively motile and morphologically normal sperm in a dose.
An insemination dose has been shown to be between 100 to 500 million progressive motile sperm in order to achieve pregnancy results.
Most stallion stations will send out a dose containing approx. 1 billion progressive motile sperm. (This number is widely accepted # for shipping.) When you get the semen and check it yourself the first thing you have to remember is to let the semen on your microscope slide rest awhile to warm up. I recommend at least 15 to 20 min. If the semen is in your opinion only 20 or 30 % motile REMEMBER 20 % of 1 billion is 200 million. This is still an acceptable insemination dose.
Some farms may send you more sperm per dose, so if the stallions motility numbers drop do not worry. The number to remember is the amount of progressively motile sperm. If this number falls below 100 million then you have room to panic.
Also remember though that you should be breeding close to your mare's ovulation to help increase her chances.
Why was I only sent one syringe?
In breeding, more is not always better, the more we put in the more has to be expelled by the mare. When you breed your mare, the semen you put into her has reached the site of conception (ova fossa) within 4 hours post breeding. So any semen left in the body of the uterus is not useful and needs to be expelled.
If one syringe contained 1 billion progressively motile sperm and you were inseminating at the right time then there would be no need to flood the uterus with excess fluid which would cause more of an inflammatory reaction and lead to infection or pooling leading to non conception.
We recommend that repeat breeding mares or mare with a proven uterine pooling problem be flushed 12 hours post breeding to effectively 'clean the house' and give the mare the best chance to conceive and carry an embryo.
Proper etiquette for calling for semen
Planning for breeding is very important. Getting mad or frustrated at a stallion owner or the collection facility is no excuse for your failure to plan. If you're planning to breed make sure your veterinarian is well versed in equine reproduction, you find out the protocols for calling for semen from the collection facility, and know what is expected of you.
Some collection facilities only collect Mon, Wed and Fridays, some everyday but not on weekends or holidays. You need to find this out before your mare starts cycling so that you and your vet know when they can order semen. Most facilities require 24 hours notice to collect. This reason is either because the stallion needs to be trailered in for collection and arrangements need to be made, or that the collection facility collects many stallions and scheduling needs to be done in order to make sure everything runs efficiently.
When you get that box of semen, remember a lot of stress, sweat and risk went into getting it for you. Enjoy the breeding season.