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Variance in Stallion Semen Quality among Equestrian Sporting Disciplines and Competition Levels

Equine and Animal Departments, Hartpury University, Gloucester GL19 3BE, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2019, 9(8), 485;
Received: 25 June 2019 / Revised: 17 July 2019 / Accepted: 20 July 2019 / Published: 25 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Horse as an Athlete: Sports Medicine, Rehabilitation and Wellness)
Despite the increased demand for breeding stallions to be performing at elite levels of competition, little research has been conducted into how equestrian disciplines and competition level affect seminal quality. Using statistical analysis, we found that competing stallions have lower quality semen than non-competing stallions and competitive activity may have a greater negative impact on spermatogenesis than age. In addition, dressage stallions recorded improved semen characteristics when compared to show jumping and eventing stallions. Stallions at elite levels of competition recorded higher total sperm count and progressive motility compared to those competing at lower levels of competition. We suggest that appropriate management of the competition stallion may reduce the negative impacts which exercise can induce on semen quality.
Most stallions within breeding programmes are expected to breed and compete concurrently. The exercising of stallions with regards to training regimes during the breeding season is a controversial subject. Daily exercise at low intensities is important for the mental and reproductive well-being of the stallion, however higher intensities of exercise, as seen in competing stallions, may have detrimental effects on seminal quality. To calculate if competition does affect semen quality, this study investigated the effect that equestrian discipline and timing of competition had on a range of stallion semen characteristics. This was a retrospective study that evaluated the seminal data of 1130 stallion semen collections from two UK based stud farms between 2009 and 2016. Competing stallion semen quality was significantly lower with regards to concentration (p < 0.05) and progressive motility (p < 0.05) than non-competing stallions. Semen volume was higher in competing stallions (p < 0.05) than non-competing stallions. There was a significant difference in seminal attributes among disciplines and competition levels (p < 0.05). The difference in semen quality among competing and non-competing stallions, as well as the difference among disciplines suggests endocrinological and physiological changes occur in relation to training intensity and competition. View Full-Text
Keywords: equine breeding; reproduction; semen quality; stallion equine breeding; reproduction; semen quality; stallion
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MDPI and ACS Style

Wilson, M.; Williams, J.; Montrose, V.T.; Williams, J. Variance in Stallion Semen Quality among Equestrian Sporting Disciplines and Competition Levels. Animals 2019, 9, 485.

AMA Style

Wilson M, Williams J, Montrose VT, Williams J. Variance in Stallion Semen Quality among Equestrian Sporting Disciplines and Competition Levels. Animals. 2019; 9(8):485.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Wilson, Megan, Jess Williams, V. T. Montrose, and Jane Williams. 2019. "Variance in Stallion Semen Quality among Equestrian Sporting Disciplines and Competition Levels" Animals 9, no. 8: 485.

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