Kentucky Equestrian Articles


Colorado State University Adventure!

Submitted by: Cate Jones
Phone: 802-503-5204
Email Address: Fasporthorses(at)
Date Added: 1/25/2015

Hello fellow Kentucky Equestrians!
It's been a while and I've missed you!

I recently was able to take a trip out to Colorado to attend a short, week long course at Colorado State University. What a great experience I had out there!
The focus of the course was on Breeding, and it came just in time to prepare me for the upcoming season on the farm. We started the week focusing on the stallions, and talked at length about the proper care and handling, and then the course transitioned into the actual process that the semen has to go through to be utilized by the mare in creating an embryo. It was fascinating talking about the changes that the cells make to be successful for fertilization. We then talked about the reproduction system of the mare, and how the eggs get transported where they need to go to get fertilized. From that point we were taught the process that the embryo goes through to actually create a fetus. We finished up the week with talking about the foaling process, how to correct what problems we could, and care of both the mare and foal up through weaning.

The course was set up with four hours of lecture in the morning, and then four hours of lab work in the afternoon.
The lab work was hands down my favorite part of the course, since I'm much more of a hands on learner. In the labs, we learned how to properly build an AV for collecting the stallions, and then actually collected school stallions with the AV's we'd built. I've never collected a stallion before, and it was quite the nerve wracking experience!
After we collected our stallions, my group went into the lab to evaluate the semen that we'd gotten, and learned how to determine motility and progressive motility. We then learned how to determine the amount of extender needed to cool it properly before shipping. It was a pretty neat lab, and I'm much more confident in my abilities, which is important, since we now stand two stallions here at work!
I also learned how to successfully artificially inseminate the mares, which was a little bit trickier than I thought that it would be. Our vet makes it look so easy! By the end of the week, though, I had had a chance to "inseminate" quite a few mares, and was pleased with my level of confidence in the whole process. The hardest part is staying sterile!

My favorite lab, though, was the dystocia lab. That means we used phantom uterus' and were able to dive right in and fell all the different problems that could arise during a foaling. Having the hands on experience in being able to feel what a breech foal felt like, and get to practice working a leg around was really neat. There are so many problems that can arise during the actual foaling, and getting the hands on practice feeling each and every issue was really confidence building. I thought that I would have a real issue, since we used still born calves to simulate the foals, but you get so into what you are doing, you barely notice.

Not only did I get to learn so much from many of the top industry professionals, but I also made many new friends and contacts in the process. The course had about thirty students from all over the world (one girl had flown all the way from Belgium for the course!) and the knowledge and experience that everybody brought to the table was extraordinary. I was able to collect so many business cards my wallet didn't even close, and I still talk to a few of my class mates daily.

I highly encourage anybody who is getting to breeding, no matter if you are doing one or two mares of your own, or working for a big farm like I do, to look into taking this course. It was an amazing experience for me, and I'm so excited I got the chance to go!