An overview of careers associated with equine reproduction, equine breeding, rules related to breeding, etc.

Description: This is an essential aspect of the equine industry – ensuring a supply of horses with appropriate genetic background and temperament to perform in the proper disciplines and activities. Specific breeds have stringent rules regarding live cover and artificial insemination. Farms may strictly house the studs with the mares brought in for breeding or offer boarding services for mares from breeding to foaling.

Proximity to Horses: Close

Specific careers related to breeding:

Artificial Insemination (AI) technicians - AI technicians must be skilled in the implantation of semen into the mare's reproductive tract at the appropriate time to result in pregnancy. Many Universities and Colleges offer courses that provide students with an understanding of the anatomy and physiology of reproduction and its practical application. Companies and individuals also offer trainings to introduce lay people to the principles and techniques. .

Foaling attendant - An individual assigned the specific responsibility of observing mares immediately preceding foaling to ensure that help is attained to provide a healthy foal.

Bloodstock agents - Bloodstock agents are experts on horse pedigrees and utilize the information to recommend matings of horses.  They also serve as purchasing agents for individuals or groups purchasing horses or breedings.

Geneticists - Geneticists research the genetic makeup and heritabilities of the horse.  Current accomplishments center around diseases and the genetic makeup of individual horses.

Laboratory technicians - Laboratory analysis may be conducted on the farm or in a research facility to check for semen fertility and disease.  When collected, semen must be processed promptly and accurately to be effective when used to breed a mare.

Mare handlers - This individual works with the mare during the mating process to ensure the safety of humans and horses, whether using artificial insemination or live cover. 

Reproductive researchers - These individuals study the reproductive system of the horse to understand better how it functions and the best management for horses in a breeding situation.  Specific areas of interest include endocrinology, physiology, embryo transfer, and cloning.

Stallion handlers/collectors - This individual handles the stallion when mounting either a mare for live cover or a dummy for semen collection.  Like the mare handler, they are responsible for the safety of the humans and horses.  Similarly to the mare handler, this will not generally be a full-time responsibility. 

Preparation Required:

In this area, the level of preparation required varies.  The reproductive researcher or geneticist will generally have a Ph.D. in their field.  The education of the bloodstock agent may be more on-the-job through mentoring-type relationships.  Animal handlers/collectors, foaling attendants, and laboratory technicians are frequently trained on the job.

Educational Opportunities:

Professional associations provide further development and networking opportunities for the reproductive researcher or geneticist.  Others in this field may look for various educational programs supplied within the industry to improve effectiveness.

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