Artificial Breeding Methods
Since the inception of the use of Artificial Insemination, embryo transfers, frozen semen, cloning i.e. artificial breeding methods, a host of opinions have been expressed about the procedures. Some view these as proper scientific methods used to impregnate mares to a stallion. Oftentimes, the mare owners have not seen the stallion in the flesh to determine actual strengths, weaknesses or disposition, but base their decision to breed on other considerations. Some view it as an improper method to use as oftentimes the ejaculate used will be split up to 20 times and sent to 20 different mare owners. Interestingly, each mare owner paid a full stud fee, a full collection fee and is entitled to the full ejaculate (having paid for it), but instead receive a 20th of the full ejacuate, or a meager 5%. But so it goes these days and nary a mare owner complains - nevermind they don't get the strongest or fittest spermatoza - what does that have to do with anything anyway? Many small breeders support artificial insemination as many stallions do not stand to live cover to outside mares. If one wants to use that stallion, there is no choice but A.I.   Well, here are a few notes to consider:


This is from the Jocky Club's Rule Book:

"D. To be eligible for registration, a foal must be the result of a stallion’s Breeding with a broodmare (which is the physical mounting of a broodmare by a stallion with intromission of the penis and ejaculation of semen into the reproductive tract). As an aid to the Breeding, a portion of the ejaculate produced by the stallion during such mating may immediately be placed in the uterus of the broodmare being bred. A natural gestation must take place in, and delivery must be from, the body of the same broodmare in which the foal was conceived. Without limiting the above, any foal resulting from or produced by the processes of Artificial Insemination, Embryo Transfer or Transplant, Cloning or any other form of genetic manipulation not herein specified, shall not be eligible for registration."

It's no wonder they breed the world's fastest horse and can claim to be the wealthiest of all equine organizations. They are "Dedicated to Improvement of Thoroughbred Breeding and Racing since 1894". That's experience. They also boast 34,000 registrations a year . . . and have a "Deceptive Practices" rule too. What a GREAT idea! Though we are not breeding thoroughbreds, it does no harm to learn from them and use what IS WORKING.

As the most lucrative horse breeding and owning in the world, they might know what they're talking about. Certainly, the AHA should following the lead of the Jockey Club and rather than making this all about the money, maybe it could be for making it all about the horse.
Perhaps the most important opinion is that of Federico Tesio, who is the grandfather of the Thoroughbred and the Wizard of Dormello. He made it perfectly clear why he is against A.I. and one could suspect he'd feel similarly about cloning or embryo transfer.   Here is his story about Signorina:

In 1880 or thereabouts a Neapolitan gentleman, Cavaliere Ginistrelli, moved his thoroughbred breeding stock from Portici, near Naples, to Newmarket, with the intention of defeating the English on their own ground.

Cavaliere Ginistrelli was a "character" with original ideas. He immediately achieved a clamorous success by breeding a beuatiful filly who was given the name of Signorina and who became a top star in her field. In 1892 Signorina, by then a five-year-old, was retired as a broodmare.

In the meantime the busy little Neapolitan had built himself a house at Newmarket, in which his bedroom adjoined the loose-box of his favourite. A window near the head of his bed enabled him to keep an eye on her at any hour of the day or night.

In spite of these attentions the beautiful Signorina was beginning to grow old without having given birth to a single colt of real quality, although bred to the most famous sires of her day.

In the spring of 1904 Cavaliere Ginistrelli had arranged to wed Signorina to the great Isinglass, whose services were in high demand at a fee of 300 guineas to be paid at the time of the betrothal.

Both the stallion and his bride-to-be were living in the town of Newmarket, at oppostie ends of a long, wide street called - I need hardly say - the High Street. During the breeding season it was the custom to promenade the third class stallions, victims of unemployment, up and down this thoroughfare with their names in large letters seductively embroidered on their blankets.

On a certain morning in April the comely Signorina was on her way down the High Street to become the bride of the remowned Isinglass
. She was led by a stable boy and followed on foot by Cavaliere Ginistrelli who never let her out of his sight on these occasions.

Thus she met coming toward her one of those humble thoroughbred stallions with his name, "Chaleureux", on his blanket.

Chaleureux proved worthy of the name. Stopping to savour Signorina's scent, he at once gave signs of a violent infatuation and refused to move another step. Signorina looked upon him with equal favour and also refused to move on. No amount of tugging or pleading had any effect and an amused crowd soon began to gather.

But Ginistrelli, who was a psychologist as well as a biologist, sized up the situation at a glance. "They love!" he exclaimed. "A love match it shall be." And so the proud Isinglass pocketed the 300 guineas, but waited in vain for his assignation with the fair Signorina.

Eleven Months later Signorina gave birth to a filly who was given the name of Signorinetta.

The experts, convinced that Ginistrelli was out of his mind, were openly scornful of Chaleureux's love-child. But Signorinetta grew up to be one of the greatest fillies of all time, winning the Derby and - two days later - the Oaks, a double feat which only two fillies since 1780 had been able to accomplish.

These facts are true and I was personally acquainted with all five of the individuals involved: Ginistrelli, Isinglass, Chaleureux, Signorina and Signorinetta.


An Article from the Science Daily:

New Evidence For Female Control In Reproduction ScienceDaily (Nov. 20, 2007) — Adding another layer of competition to the mating game, scientists are reporting possible biochemical proof that the reproductive system of female mammals can "sense" the presence of sperm and react to it by changing the uterine environment. This may be the molecular mechanism behind post-copulatory sexual selection, in which females that have mated with several partners play a role in determining which sperm fertilizes their egg.

Lead author Alireza Fazeli says that the deep new molecular insights into this post-coital "ladies' choice" has profound implications for in-vitro fertilization (IVF), cloning, and animal breeding. It is also a windfall for evolutionary biology, providing a possible explanation for female promiscuity in the animal kingdom, he adds.

Fazeli's international scientific team reports the first chemical evidence of a sperm recognition system in the oviducts of pigs -- standard animals for such research because their reproductive systems are similar to humans.

In the traditional view, competition for the egg is male-oriented, with sperm themselves deciding which fertilizes the egg by being the faster swimmer. With post-copulatory sexual selection, the female is in control, her oviducts selecting the "winner"-- the best quality sperm from the healthiest male -- and rejecting the rest.

"This study clearly shows that the sperm's arrival in the female reproductive tract triggers a cascade of changes that leads to alteration of protein production in the oviduct and a change in the oviductal environment. We speculate that this is mainly done to prepare oviduct environment for storing sperm, fertilization and early embryonic development," Fazeli said. However this can also be used as a detection and selection system that alerts females to the presence of different kinds of sperm and then triggers mechanisms in the oviducts that control sperm transport, binding and activation for fertilization.

"We know sperm selection exists in nature, especially in promiscuous species, when females mate with several males," Fazeli said. "Baboons are a good example. During one reproductive cycle, if the female mates with several males, most of the time the offspring belong to one of the males -- not a spread between all of them... We are now seeing what can be the molecular basis for this effect."

While sperm interaction with oviduct cells has been studied in laboratory cultures, the new research is the first to provide evidence for this poorly-understood process in living animals, Fazeli said. Using minimally invasive techniques, the researchers compared protein changes in the oviductal fluids before and after sperm introduction to the reproductive tract.

The data shows that the mammalian female reproductive tract is a far more tightly regulated environment than once thought -- a fact that Fazeli says is "nearly completely ignored by modern IVF." He believes the new findings have profound implications for the massive IVF industry, which has grown exponentially in the past 25 years, as well as cloning. Both techniques rely on egg fertilization outside of their finely-tuned reproductive envirofrom this work is that the female reproductive tract has a lot more control than previously thought," says Fazeli. "This discovery profoundly influences our understanding of the physiology of events leading to conception and the bearing of offspring."

The journal article, "Modulation of the Oviductal Environment by Gametes" is scheduled for publication in the American Chemical Society's Journal of Proteome Research.

"The female reproductive tract is a very highly organized and regulated system," Fazeli explained. "With IVF, the embryo can develop into an adult, but the question remains: 'Are we doing the fine-tuning right'? We are not sure if what we are doing, based on differences
between in-vitro and in-vivo fertilization, is creating health problems for these babies."

Applications for this research extend into agricultural animal breeding, since it has the potential to improve fertilization rates and reproductive techniques in livestock.

Fazeli suggests that the work his team is doing is also applicable to the artificial insemination industry. Some of the products that a female's oviducts produce in response to sperm are meant to store and keep the sperm alive. This may be an aspect of post-coital sexual selection since sperm may remain viable in the human female's reproductive tract for nearly five days. Other female animals sustain sperm for even longer periods--bats can do so for up to six months.

Fazeli said that another aspect of this work relates to understanding the mechanisms involved in determination of self and non-self by the immune system. Since sperm are a foreign entity in the female reproductive tract, the immune system should attack and destroy them. In reality, however, sperm are protected and stored.

The traditional explanation is that sperm somehow evade the immune response. Fazeli says his data shows that this is not true. He found that the female immune system instead recognizes sperm as a friend, not a foe. Fazeli suggests that the female reproductive tract is equipped with sensory systems that recognize sperm and alert the ancient, non-specific "innate" immune system to dampen its reaction towards them.

"The main message from this work is that the female reproductive tract has a lot more control than previously thought," says Fazeli. "This discovery profoundly influences our understanding of the physiology of events leading to conception and the bearing of offspring."

The journal article, "Modulation of the Oviductal Environment by Gametes" is scheduled for publication in the American Chemical Society's Journal of Proteome Research.

From Ray Ellis of Two Mountain Ranch:

Federico Tesio published a book In 1947 titled Puro-Sangue - Animale da Esperimento (The Pure Blood - An Animal of Experimentation). This book was reissued in 2005 in an English translation titled Tesio: In His Own Words. Federico Tesio remains one of the most important and influential breeders of Thoroughbreds in the history of horse racing. Yes, in the history of horse racing - to date!

Tesio had degrees in science and architecture. He did not have access to the genetic information we now have. He didn't need it. Thoroughbred race horses are not bred by AI. But they used to be. Tesio studied and wrote about AI in his book. In his study of thousands of AI breedings, Tesio confirmed that not one single horse ever won a significant race. Nor did their offspring. He is unable to explain this outcome. His supposition is that the act of breeding, naturally, is accompanied by forces of nature that we do not understand. Part of the "spirit", or "life force" or "nervous energy" is transmitted from sire to dam to conception to offspring. AI is second-rate, unpredictable and irresponsible.

Tesio based his findings on results. He could not explain the science and we, today, still can not explain it. We can, however, continue to observe the results. The problem is that there are too many of us who have nothing to compare to. If you are surrounded by the products of AI - how would you know any difference? If the horses are not tested, such as with racing, how will you know the difference?

Sorry, but in spite of all our travels to space and our discoveries and mapping of the genome and bringing dinsaurs back from extinction through DNA, I am afraid I will have to side with Tesio - and with Hansi - on this one. AI produces differently than does natural service and I would rather err on the side of caution. Tesio had quite a bit more to offer than just his opinion and a "perception". He did a study. He got out the records. Wrote down AI on this side, Natural on that side. Score: AI zero - natural 100.
He did say that he observed no physical differences, which is good news for the "halter folks", I suppose. He also said that horses are not plant life. They are animal life and nature did not intend for them to be "pollenized".

With AI something elemental is missing. I agree that a modern study would indeed be interesting and worthwhile. We should really try to understand and explain that "missing element". Meanwhile, I intend to stick with the thought that nature's way is the best way. And, seein' as how nature has been dealing with it for millions of years, and we've only been taking a look at it for a hundred years or so....

Even though he was a scientist, Tesio was unable to quantify in specific scientific terms how he arrived at his conclusions regarding AI. The best he could do (in my opinion) was this paragraph, from Chapter 1, page 28.

"Artificial insemination results in a perfect reproduction of all the Mendalian characteristics but without transmitting the extra "nervous energy" that gives birth to the superior animal that is Nature's masterpiece."

In his book, Chapter One deals with the subject of sex (natural service) and Artificial Insemination. He proposed that AI was nothing new, because he observed it occurring already in nature - it is nothing more than a mimicking of the fertilization of plants, adapted to animals. He claims that AI is simply a reproductive technique invented by nature for inferior beings such as plants, and adapted for use by superior beings such as mammals.

His study, which spanned a 20 year period, was limited to Thoroughbreds. He says:
"In twenty years of study on this subject, I have discovered only two truths:

1) Thoroughbreds produced by artificial insemination are no different to the eye than those resulting from natural insemination. They naturally inherit Mendalian characteristics and are attractive and well-developed animals.

2) During the past twenty years, not one Thoroughbred born as a result of artificial insemination has ever succeeded in winning a classic, or even a semi-classic race in any country of the world (even though they are almost always the offspring of famous parents).

If even one horse had won a race, the supporters of artificial insemination would
have spread the word throughout the world. Instead there is only silence."

Further in the same chapter, he mentions that his "...observations are made from the Thoroughbred stud books which contain over 12,000,000 controlled and quickly verifiable entries."

He goes on to explain that this "nervous energy" is a function of the cerebral-spinal system. He says that the AI method is the method nature uses for plant life. Plant life (with no central nervous system) is a step below animal life. Using the reproductive method of plants, on animals, actually forces the animal down a step (on the scale of living organisms) to perform an act against nature.

Tesio says that "it is difficult to predict what surprises may result from such a breeding practice. And if these surprises, as is possible, are unpleasant, and we have not taken some defensive measures, then in a short period of time we will find that all the races are polluted, with no way to trace the original bearers of the problem.".

He proposes "Study - experiment - discover: this is our duty when confronted by great problems. And among these is the supremely important concept of artificial insemination".

Tesio has a lot more to say. For instance, with egg transplants he recommended that those offspring not be eligible for registration in the stud book and be kept totally separate for a period of at least 50 years to observe, measure and determine that there is no difference in the animals.

And so, where are we today? No study, no experiment, no discovery. No duty. No separation of the "study groups". It works, so just do it? This is merely a reflection of what our society has become. A legion of consumers who are unaware. A society of "I want it and I want it NOW". Convenience is King!


Having Tesio explain what he has observed and therefore believes to be true, with phrases like "nervous energy", is not likely to inspire much confidence in the "modern" mind (even though the human brain and it's capacity for thought and raw "processing power" has not changed in a few millennia). Struggling with language to invent words for the discovery of something new, or even describing something old and then have others understand it is very difficult and can lead to having good data be stored on the shelf of "superstition".

Once we do find, through more modern science, the proper language to describe Tesio's "nervous energy", we may feel more accepting of his conclusions. I suspect that Tesio's "nervous energy" will be found at the DNA level. For me, just knowing that DNA changes are observed in women under stress is enough to throw up the big "don't go there!" flag. Beyond here there be dragons? Yes, the dragons of uncharted territory. We do not yet know what changes are being introduced at the DNA level. The science is all too new to have had time to measure possible change in a variety of scenarios.

Tesio's thoughts and explanations for the scientific "why" of things were and still are viewed with a raised eyebrow and a knowing wink towards the fellers with the keys to the rubber room. His practice and methods, on the other hand, were not revolutionary science. They were all-natural as he was an advocate for "nature know best". His struggle was in trying to explain why this is so in "scientific terms". He observed how nature handled issues and strove to align his breeding program as closely as he could to the all-natural way. Even to the point of sending his horses south for the winter and not using irrigation for pasture areas.

Tesio may have been ahead of his time with his proposal that the energy of the brain comes from the Cosmos. Carl Sagan would have been able to help Tesio describe his thoughts on the Cosmos in a way that would release him from the tin-foil helmet category of thought.

Tesio cites a man named Lagrange (Joseph-Louis Lagrange, a famous mathematician who, among other things, transformed mechanics into a branch of mathematical analysis) for describing and measuring what Lagrange called the "latent moment", which is that moment of time needed for a signal from the brain to transmit to muscle and therefore into movement. This is Tesio's "nervous energy". Sustained rapid response to brain signals for muscles to move would indicate a horse with an abundance of "nervous energy". Tesio also felt that "nervous energy" was the source of great willpower and determination found in superior horses.

In any event - start at the beginning of the reproductive process and develop a list of the changes to nature's process that must take place when using AI. I can think of a few. First, there is no physical interaction between stallion and mare. Before, during, or after. During the collection process, the stallion is "tricked" into thinking he is mounting a mare - or is he? We don't know what he thinks. Perhaps he is just appreciating the "assist" in taking care of his desire. Next, the sperm is ejected into the atmosphere, as opposed to directly inside the protective environment of the mare. During exposure to the outside environment it is subject to all sorts of unnatural influences - like being stuck to the collection device - removed from the collection device - other handling - splitting - mixing with extenders - studied under a microscope and perhaps frozen. Stored in a container. Shipped. More handling and exposure on the receiving side. And those are just some of the more visible impacts. What about the possible changes that are not visible? Such as exposure to UV and radon? Does any of this have an impact on the DNA, causing molecular changes?

What about the mare? She can be teased by another stallion, but then is not bred to him. Her biology is not stimulated by the physical act. Is something different inside her because of this? She is not aware of being inseminated. Is something different with the egg because of this? Are there some subtle chemical or neurological changes in her body which would then cause change to the composition of the egg?
Hansi Heck-Melnyck explains:

"The emotional part is another thing. We claim that the SE is a very intelligent and sensitive mammal, yet some treat it like a COW when it comes to breeding.  The greed, possibly lazyness or ignorance is the culprit. How can one NOT treat nature with RESPECT, stop intervening in God's work, and then claim "we are believer"?

THE TB INDUSTRY REFUSES TO USE IT, IT IS BANNED, and their statement is "The Tb increased speed by about three percent over the past 200 years. We are petrified to degenerate." Many, many of the TB breeders are experts and have superb veterinarians as well.I am for one who listens.

I am also against embreo transplants. If nature will not allow the mare to have a foal, than there is a reason.Some mares do not produce well and such could be enherited. This could mean that such foal created through embreo transplant
will enherite her dam's shortcommings. The monetary value of such creation should decrease by a high percentage in my opinion.Again, we dont know what we created and are taking a chance.

the original importers from centuries ago risk their lifes and riches to bring Desert Breds into their country for improvement.They travelled thousands of miles- ( there were no airoplanes then) This even carried forward to the 1970 importation from Egypt of over 30 imports going through my quarantine in Canada.
It was NO PICNIC, I assure you!!! Noadays some look at photos, videos then order semen and that is what they call "BREEDING OF QUALITY SES" and actually have the odassity of calling themselves "Breeders". How can you breed a good horse when you no longer have a PREDICATABLE PEDIGREE???? think about it.

If we all would listen to nature, God's ceations and honor and respect it in
many cases, not just in breeding horses, the world would be much better of, so would we all.

Margrit B tackled my believes. Here is a recommendation for all those in doubt:

1) Demand that the breeder selling you semen states how many straws
were sold- gvie you the names of the mares so that you can
check it out..kEEP RECORDS of your findings.

2) When the foals are on the grounds- go and inspect them

3) Compare these foals with natural bred foals-the best would be if
from the prior same matings.

4) The Stud fee should be divided through as many services collected
I.e. if the stud fee is $ 5,000- 20 servings sold- the fee should be
$ 250.00 for a life foal guarantee. Aded should be the expenses
of shiping, etc. One can now warrant an eighty cents per pound on the
hoof foal.

5) When selling such foal the buyer should be advised. If dam and sire are

6) You can obtain information from he registries if a mare was bred
natural or by AI. If the seller does not disclose, take action.

7) Exception to the above is when THE ENTIRE COLLECTION IS USED ON ONE MARE ONE TIME ONLy."

"Well, I think that Tessio was talking about the electrical energy that all living creatures have, and in his asessment AI doesn't have it. This energy doesn't pass between the horses unless they are bred naturally. John Rogers believed it, and told us his best horses were by natural breeding. If you want a horse just for the bloodlines that is one thing but if you're wanting an animal for performance, it definately would make a difference. It also makes a difference whether or not there is a natural charisma between the animals. We let our mares pick the stallion they like. We actually had one mare who would not show in heat to any stallion except Sunny. She tried to kill the other stallions and she was in raging heat. So, she got the stallion she wanted. She got in foal , no problem. It was true LOVE!!! "Jan Joyner

Another breeder from Australia notes:

"As an owner and past breeder of Thoroughbreds . . . Much and all as Australians who do not belong to the racing Industry in Australia hate it at the moment for its apparent "favouritism" with the outbreak of EI, it still remains a fact that the Racing Industry is the biggest horse industry, financially. There are literally billions of dollars put into racehorses, racehorse breeding and racehorse veterinary care. If it was not for the racehorse industry, many of the veterinary breakthroughs in horse care would not have happened and you would still have to euthanase your horse if it broke a leg. All the genetic testing and other good things that have come for other breeds are enabled because of the racing industry.

So if the Thoroughbred breeders feel that Natural Breeding is better then perhaps there is a reason for it.

I know of several very valuable mares in the Southern Hemisphere, for example, Sunline and Makybe Diva, who have to travel to the stallion's stud to be bred, rather than have a straw of semen delivered to their doorstep. Certainly the risk of transporting these mares is great, but their owners believe enough in the system to allow these mares to travel rather than AI them.

Sure, you will say oh, those people are rich, blah, blah, blah, they can afford it, blah, blah, blah. But that is the point. If they were not rich and not able to pour the money into veterinary care and research, you would be the poorer. So next time your horse has to have attention from a vet that saves its life, think for a moment where the knowledge to do that came from.

Next time you look at a foal from AI that has problems, think about the thousands of TB foals, for all their crappy inbreeding, who do not have these problems. There is a reason for that. Oh, yes, there are some TB foals that have problems, but these are soon taken out of the breed and only the strong survive. Horrible and all as that sounds - and is, that is why the TB has gone on to what it has.

Maybe, just maybe, Hansi does know what she is talking about. You don't have to agree with everything she says, but she has decades of experience and has been observant and followed both with her eyes and her heart. The ONLY interest she has now is to see the SE continue on as the fine animals they are and preserved intact for the next generation."

Below is a partial  note from a mare owner who did use A.I. and allowed her mare's hormones to be manipulated using an implant in an effort to "help her get in foal".  Note that it is stated the mare had no side effects in the first paragraph and now that the mare is not cycling:

"When my mare went to both studs . . . she had an estrogen implant, to help her ovulate at exactly the right time for the stallion. I have totally no problem with this, okay it is a bit artificial, but it can only be used within a certain window of estrus anyhow. My mare had no side effects whatsoever. It was administered to her by a veterinarian, and later my own vet verified this. 

  . . . next year I am sending my girl to an Arabian stallion for an Anglo foal. I have given my reasons for this elsewhere, just lately. She is getting on a bit now (12) and because there are no other horses around at the moment, doesn't seem to have been cycling, so she is going to have issue next year when she goes to stud."

And that is the other important part of using A.I. or artificial methods - mares are being barrened at a very early age.

Reproductive services has come a long way, baby - in technique and with emphasis on "there's gold in them thar hills!", as opposed to what kind of horse comes out the other end. There has been no study of that, that I am aware of. Can you see anyone funding this research? Yeah, right!

The TB folks are no dummies who live in ignorance. Not permitting AI is not just "tradition" for them. What possible benefit would they gain by "moving to AI with the rest"? Risk turning their breed into something other than TB's? I don't think so!! Screwing around with their bloodlines by allowing AI is NOT something you will see happen in the TB world. But - never say never, right?

Take a look at what happened with the breeds whose Registries allowed AI. Take a look at what went on in the industry - you had your Lasma's, etc. all of whom needed to rake in cash, big time. So they put up a huge, Hollywood style Halter Show and began to sell a "dream" across the world. Any Tom, Dick or Harry can play in this game and buy a breeding to "World Champion of Today". Have their picture on the cover of rolling stone. So now we have what, 30 or 40 thousand surplus horses?

Somebody is going to pay for these mistakes, big time. Probably the horses.

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