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New Reproductive Work allows Thoroughbred Stallion to continue Breeding

The College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Texas A&M University, Overbrook Farm and Hagyard Equine Medical Institute have collaborated on a project that has resulted in establishment of a healthy ongoing pregnancy from a famous stallion whose breeding career was thought to be over, according to an article on stallionesearch.com.

Dr. Dickson Varner, professor and Pin Oak Stud chair of stallion reproductive studies at Texas A&M; Dr. Joe Yocum, farm manager and resident veterinarian at Overbrook Farm; and Dr. Stuart Brown II, partner of Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, combined forces to collect semen from the world-renowned Thoroughbred stallion, Storm Cat, for insemination of an elite racing American Quarter Horse mare, Your First Moon, by All-Time Leading Quarter Horse Racing stallion First Down Dash. The resulting foal will be co-owned by Lyle Lovett, popular songwriter and recording artist, and AQHA Past President Frank “Scoop” Vessels III of Vessels Stallion Farm, Bonsall, California.

The fascinating twist on this achievement is that Storm Cat was pensioned (retired from stud) this past breeding season because of age-related subfertility issues. Although quality and quantity of sperm in ejaculates of this elite stallion were failing, a new procedure developed at Texas A&M University was employed to obtain the high-quality sperm from the semen, followed by insemination of the mare using a guided low-dose technique, whereby less than 1 ml (less than ¼ teaspoon) of semen was used as an insemination dose.

According to Varner, “The procedure has been applied successfully to many American Quarter Horse stallions, but this represents the first attempt at using the procedure in a Thoroughbred stallion. While the Jockey Club prohibits the use of artificial insemination, semen processed in this manner from a Thoroughbred stallion can be used for insemination of American Quarter Horse mares. This represents a means to prolong the breeding career of a stallion whose fertility declines as a part of the aging process.”

“Storm Cat was not available to non-Thoroughbreds when he was standing at stud, but now American Quarter Horses can benefit from the infusion of his great racing genes into the breed. These are exciting times for people working in equine reproduction.”


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