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  • Towcester Equine Breeding Services

    Posted on by Abii Dowdy

    Towcester Equine Vets is a British Equine Veterinary Association approved centre for Artificial Insemination (AI). We have two clinics, one based in Towcester, Northamptonshire and another at Onley Equestrian near Rugby and we serve a large area incorporating Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire, Warwickshire, and South Leicestershire. We accommodate a wide range of mares and stallions from pleasure horses through to Thoroughbreds and sports horses. We have two specialist stud vets in the season that can provide assistance from the beginning, undertaking pre breeding checks, all the way through to the foal check. We offer packages for thoroughbreds, fresh, chilled and frozen Artificial Insemination (AI).

    Mare breeding soundness examination.

    • Recommended for all mares that are being used for breeding.
    • This includes examination of the external and internal reproductive organs for normal conformation and function. Internal examination is performed by rectal palpation and ultrasound.
    • This allows identification of many problems that may affect fertility. A uterine swab may be taken as part of this examination.
    • A clitoral swab and a blood sample are strongly advised prior to breeding, to screen for Contagious Equine Metritis (CEM), Equine Viral Arteritis (EVA), and Equine Infectious Anaemia (EIA), particularly if the mare has recently been to Ireland or Europe. These samples should be taken after the 1st January of each breeding season

    Management of Thoroughbred mares and mares for natural cover

    • Thoroughbred packages
    • Pre breeding tests (clitoral CEM swabs, bloods EVA and EIA, endometrial 48 hour culture and endometrial CEM swabs and certification)
    • Pregnancy scans and monitoring of the late pregnant mare
    • Post foal checks

    Artificial Insemination

    Semen from your chosen stallion may be available fresh, chilled or frozen. The type of semen chosen will determine how your mare is managed, the frequency of ultrasound examination, and the stage of oestrus cycle at which she will be inseminated. AI with fresh/ chilled semen can be undertaken on the yard or at either Towcester or Onley clinics. AI with frozen semen is undertaken at the clinic in Towcester.

    Fresh semen

    • Used when the mare is in close proximity of the stallion. If rapidly inseminated into the mare can negate the requirement for semen extender which is useful in mares with poor fertility or those that react to semen extender.

    Chilled semen

    • The semen is collected, processed and the refrigerated. In this state it remains viable for up to 48 hours, allowing the use of semen from stallions located anywhere in this country and Europe.

    Frozen semen

    • Allows for the use of large numbers of stallions internationally and stallions that are competing. Frozen semen can be stored at the clinic whilst awaiting insemination. Once thawed, frozen semen has a much shorter lifespan than its chilled or fresh alternatives. A smaller window for successful fertilisation means insemination must occur as close to ovulation as possible therefore ultrasound examinations are performed every 4-6 hours.

    Subfertile mare investigations

    • As per the breeding soundness examinations this includes a detailed examination of the reproductive tract visually, by palpation and via ultrasound and may include endometrial swabs or lavages to investigate infectious causes of subfertility. Uterine biopsies can be performed if indicated.
    • Abnormalities that may be detected are poor vulval confirmation, air or urine in the vagina or uterus, uterine infection (endometritis) and glandular degeneration of the uterus (endometrosis).
    • Treatment can include uterine lavage and intrauterine antibiotics (based on culture and sensitivity) to treat infections, caslicks procedure to correct and account for poor confirmation

    Stallion services include

    Pre breeding soundness examination

    This includes gross examination of external reproductive organs. Swabs for CEM and a blood sample for EVA and EIA. These are health requirements according to HBLB codes of practice and are taken after 1st January each breeding season.

    Semen Collection

    We have a purpose built collection suite at Towcester Equine Vets. The collection suite has a rubber floor, dummy, and a teasing box for a mare at the head of the dummy, should the stallion require it.

    We have a dedicated stallion team who are experienced in collecting from a variety of stallions. There are a number of experienced, regular stallions that are collected from at Towcester Equine Vets (a few of which are detailed below) but we are also able to provide dummy training for inexperienced stallions.

    Semen evaluation and processing

    Thorough semen evaluation is essential for assessing optimal stallion fertility. Immediately following collection the semen will be examined in our laboratory. We assess sperm concentration, motility and morphology. Using this information an appropriate extender is chosen, to optimise motility and longevity, and added to the semen. The extender also supports the sperm throughout the chilling process. Semen can be processed ready for use both fresh and chilled and we offer a semen freezing service.

    A few of our regular stallions collecting at Towcester Equine Vets.


    Silvester (KWPN), by Carthago Z and BEF Champion Showjumping Sire in successive years and Reserve Champion Eventing Sire. He is a regular at Towcester Equine Vets with exceptionally high fertility and a fantastic temperament. His foals have been graded Elite, Higher first premiums and first premiums at the BEF futurity Evaluations.

    Carthago Chicago

    Son of Silvester, 16.2hh SHB Graded Stallion. His foals have received Futurity First and Higher First Premiums, and like his father has fantastic fertility and is a pleasure to have at Towcester Equine Vets. He is athletic, light on his feet and is full of presence.


    A Carthago Z X Landgraff X Cor De La Bryere Stallion. Cobra has successfully competed up to 1.50m. The Anglo European Stud Book, due to his own results and those of and his offspring all over the world, has recently updated him to Elite status.

    Mukhtar Ibn Eternity

    Graded Class 1 AHS Premium Performance Sire. He is an in hand and ridden three times HOYS finalist and has successfully competed BE. He has beautiful movements and a wonderful temperament.

    Don Dante

    Don Dante is definitely a black beauty. He is by the sire Dancier and in 2009 he was reserve champion at the BWBS UK stallion grading. He is a successful dressage stallion and in 2017 he was a winner at Prix St George and Inter 1 at premier League.