I've been reading your articles on the ground collection of stallions, specifically by using manual stimulation of the penis. I have an older warmblood stallion that I collect for breeding my own mares, and also for breeding outside mares. I do nearly all of my collections by myself (i.e., one person, no assistants) - fortunately, my stallion knows his job and is easy to handle.
After reading about collecting using manual stimulation, it seems like this would take far less time, equipment, and effort than preparing the AV and collecting the stallion off of the phantom. So my question is, if it IS so much easier, why is it not used almost exclusively? Is there a stigma attached to this kind of "hands on" approach, or is there some other reason? I am very tempted to try it with my old guy, because it seems like it could effectively reduce the time involved in collecting (once you include set-up, teasing, collection, and clean-up) from about an hour to about 15 minutes. Or am I missing something?
Is there a reason that I should NOT try this with my stallion? Any input would be appreciated.
Posted on Tuesday, December 19, 2000 - 11:45 pm:
I think a large part of the reason that this method is not used more is that people are not aware of it. Added to that, I am sure that some would be a little uncomfortable with the concept and may consider it "strange", but realistically, is it any stranger than the AI process?
You are absolutely right in your perception that it reduces the time involved in the collection process - and it also reduces costs as well, as there is no need for an AV and liners.
Most stallions will adapt to it, although there are some exceptions - notably older stallions that are not accustomed to having their penis handled.
If you try it, do not be too aggressive in your actions, but let your stallion be the guide. Apply the heated pad to the glans and he will probably start to thrust almost immmediately. "Go" with his movement - do not attempt to push back at him. Likewise your hand at the base of the penis should not be restrictive, but work with his movement. If you attempt to force your attentions on him, he will probably back off and not ejaculate.
You should be aware that older stallions used to breeding either live cover, or collection on a phantom or jump mare, will tend to "squat" with their hindquarters, which will actually bring their belly and penis quite close to the ground before they ejaculate. This can be alarming if you are not prepared for it to happen! Usually after they have been collected a few times they start to become aware that this is not necessary, and although they may still squat a little, they don't get the whole way down.
I certainly recommend trying it! At the very least, even if you find your stallion is reluctant to collect actually standing on the ground, you should be able to collect him on a breeding phantom - and as you say it takes a lot less time!
Posted on Wednesday, December 20, 2000 - 02:31 pm:
Thanks for your input and instructions. Although it's true that one can get a little "squeemish" with the concept, I think I will try it with my old boy. I like the idea of not needing to spend so much on supplies; also, when I'm collecting after I get home from work, time is always short to get the Equitainer to FedEx in time, and this could give us some "breathing room".
My stallion has no problems having his penis handled (he is used to being washed/rinsed pre-breeding, and having his sheath cleaned in the "off season"), so that shouldn't present a problem. For one person handling this operation, do you think it would be easier to let him mount the phantom and collect him that way, or would collecting him in his stall with one person be easiest? For the first few attempts, I can get someone to hold him, but for the most part, I will be collecting him without assistance. Right now, I have a self-service phantom, and collecting him single handed is no problem.
So, here are a couple of other practical questions. What sort of plastic bag is best to use on the penis? Do stallions resent some types of plastic and not others? My horse does not like the disposable plastic liners in the AV, and will rarely ejaculate when I try to use them; he much prefers the standard latex liner. So I am a little concerned about his acceptance of the plastic (although, granted, with this approach, he won't be "working" the plastic, so maybe it won't be an issue) - I have "soft" steril OB sleeves for insemination, and have considered how I might modify these for use in this procedure - any ideas? Also, what is the best way to secure the pastic to the penis so that water from the "collection sponges" doesn't potentially get mixed within the ejaculate?
One last question - I normally put a mare in cross ties in front of my stallion's stall to clean him pre-collection. He's used to this routine, drops immediately, and is used to having his penis handled in this setting. However, he can get quite excited during this time. The literature I have been reading indicates that the procedure may be less successful if the stallion is "over-aroused" - what qualifies as over-aroused, and why would this make the collection more difficult?
I know these might seem like silly questions, but if I'm going to try this, I'd like to be sure that I have all of the bases covered before we give it a go. Thanks again for all of your input and assistance; I really appreciate it!
Posted on Tuesday, December 26, 2000 - 02:17 am:
Obviously a softer plastic is better! In the past in an emergency, I have used bags from "shake and bake chicken", or I noticed the other day that the bags from Subway would be ideal (as long as there's no ventilation holes!!). It should be a longer, narrower bag - such as the Sub. bag. I guess the obs. sleeve would probably work OK, although the fingers may be a little inconvenient.
Use a little tape to put a "tuck" in the bag to make the it tight enough to prevent it slipping down the penis - tape the bag to itself, NOT to the penis!! And don't start off with the bag too tight - remember the penis will swell with erection and ejaculation! It's not too hard to secure actually, as the bag is not very heavy until it's got semen in it and at that point, you are in a position to hold it anyway.
If you squeeze the sponges out well immediately before applying them to the penis, then you shouldn't have any problem with contamination of the sample with water.
I guess the best way to identify "over aroused" is that it is when the stallion will thrust, but will not ejaculate. If this continues for long, he will become very frustrated! Essentially, the levels of over-stimulation vary form horse to horse, so it is something you will have to find by trial and error. It is quite possible though that you will be able to collect the stallion using the level of stimulation he receives while being washed - you might want to avoid having him in cross-ties though and you might also want someone handling the mare so that she can be removed if necessary. Actually, it might be even better to bring him out, tease him, put him in the cross-tie position as though you were about to wash him (but not tied) and without the mare in front of him, as long as he'll drop. If you can get him used to being collected without a visual stimulation, then it'll be more convenient for you in the long run.
Posted on Tuesday, December 26, 2000 - 04:18 pm:
Thanks Jos! The Subway bag is a great idea - I'm sure I can find something like it; I just won't try to explain to them what I want it for, ha, ha.
One last quick question - my stallion has very little if any gel in his ejaculates (how convenient) - but I still use a filter when collecting him. I assume that I still need to run the semen through a filter after collecting with this method, or do you just try to get good at pinching the bag off at just the right time?
Thanks for all of your assistance with this. I'll let you know how it goes. Right now, it's freezing out (below zero F at night, and only in the teens during the day), so I don't think I'll be doing anything till it warms up. But I'll let you know when we do try it, and how it works out! Thanks again!
Posted on Tuesday, December 26, 2000 - 10:00 pm:
Yes, filter the ejaculate after you have collected. Not only will that filter any gel there might be, but also smegma, of which there will probably be a little, no matter how much you clean the penis first (and it's better not to clean it too much, as it can reduce the natural flora present and open the way for opportunistic bacteria - and in any event, use only clean water, no soap) because of the slightly different nature of the collection method.
If you do get really good, you can pinch off the different ejaculatory fractions, but I still recommend filtering regardless.
i can not find your article on how to and what equipment to use for ground manipulation of a stallion i can get the bags but what else do i need to make the job successful?
Posted on Thursday, January 11, 2001 - 03:44 pm:
This article and the information you seek are available on this site by clicking here.
Posted on Sunday, January 14, 2001 - 05:55 pm:
thank you for the info i will try it also what kind of a filter must i use to filter the semen? can i use a coffee filter? or do i have to order av filters?
Posted on Monday, January 15, 2001 - 04:12 am:
No, a coffee filter will not work, or at least not work well.
Probably the best method for you is to go to your local agricultural supply store and get a box of tubular "in line" milk filters. These work well and are inexpensive. You may need to shorten them to 4 or 5 inches to make them a little more wieldy (the come in a variety of lengths up to about 12 inches).
Posted on Monday, January 15, 2001 - 01:39 pm:
Although I personally use the aforementioned inline milk filters, we have also used steril 4x4's quite successfully for filtering semen. These can be obtained quite inexpensively at your local drug store. Is there any reason why these should NOT be used?
Posted on Tuesday, January 16, 2001 - 11:43 pm:
There can be a certain amount of sperm loss with use of the 4x4's as they are somewhat absorbent, whereas the milk filters are not (or at least only very slightly).
As long as you still have sufficent sperm to provide your required number of insemination doses from the ejaculate however, this of course won't be a problem.
Posted on Wednesday, March 21, 2001 - 04:44 pm:
Well, I finally tried the ground collection with my old warmblood stallion. Quite to my surprise, he would have nothing to do with it - he's normally so agreeable, and very easy to handle for collection and pre-breeding rinses. Suffice to say, he was highly offended. To the point that I felt it was going to be dangerous to myself or another handler to continue trying. So, oh well, it was worth a try. Thanks for all of the advice and input, Jos. If I decide to really give this a go again, I'll see if I can find someone local who has done this and can help me "train" my old boy. Right now, it's the blind leading the blind, and I'm afraid of someone getting hurt.
Posted on Saturday, March 31, 2001 - 09:03 pm:
well i tried my stallion by this method and he also offended as if with any one by his side he got pre ocupied well. he also is easily worked with before and after breeding and cleaning normally but he just said no. he was not dangerous of any sort but he must just like the old fashioned way instead thank you for the info anyways.
Also, Are there ANY other ways to stimulate a stallion when a mare can not be present? Any 'hot spots' or tricks? My guy is ok with his penis being handled, but by the time I get the bag around the tip, he starts losing the erection. Sort of like saying, "hey, what the HECK'S going on here???" He isn't rude, but I might as well have inserted his penis in a bucket of ice for the reaction I get. How do I get the bag on and my sponges squeezed out and applied with out him 'losing' interest? Thanks SO much for all the help Jos, its very kind of you to offer all the assistance you do. :o)
I know what you mean, Mary. I don't formally tease my stallion with a mare, but I take a cloth and rub it on her "back-side". I then present this cloth to my stallion. It does the trick. But as soon as I start slipping the bag on and he hears the water being squeezed out of the sponges it seems to distract him and he too loses his erection.
Jos, is ground collecting something that can be introduced slowly? i.e. do it a couple of times with out a successful ejaculation while he is getting used to me fussing around back there and eventually he will relax enough to ejaculate. Or will this just frustrate him until he does want to breed at all? Phantom or no phantom? I am willing to be persistant but I don't want to turn him off breeding. He is so well mannered and focused when he is collected off a phantom. I would just like to simplify the whole procedure, if I can...
Another question for you Jos. Since I already spent the $$$ on a nice AV, can you ground collect with that? How would I 'coax' him into action? I tried yesterday just as a trial run and he did 'bounce' his penis, but I wouldn't call it thrusting. After about 4 of those, he stopped and started losing interest. I, like Cindy, do not want to turn him off breeding out of frustration either. Thanks a bunch. :o)
Isn't that THE worst Cindy? *L* Here I am trying to scratch his tail (he LIKES that :o) and then get everything on his penis before it goes too limp...go scratch the tail...squeeze out the sponges...Whooooops, too late. Ugh. Best of luck to you.
Posted on Friday, April 13, 2001 - 02:33 pm:
The "glans" is the head of the penis.
Sometimes a stallion can be encouraged to "drop" by rubbing in his umbilical region. This is in no way fool-proof though. The best way to keep a stallion's attention while ground collecting (at least initially while training) is to have an estrus mare in front of him, but of course behind some sort of barrier if he is not easily enough controlled that he may attempt to mount her. You can also collect urine from an estrus mare and freeze it for future use. Pour a little on a rag and use that to stimulate the stallion.
The final stimulus for the animal for compliance with collection by manual stimulation is the knowledge that ejaculation is going to occur. If you are having a difficult time getting the stallion to accept the manipulation for the bag placement, I would perhaps attempt the it without the bag in place a couple of times, so that he associates the end result with the process. I would not attempt "partial training" as it is the ejaculation that is the main driving force for acceptance.
In the event that you have a breeding phantom, the manual stimulation protocol can also be carried out with the stallion mounted. Some stallions seem to be more comfortable going this route.
If you have an AV, then yes, you can indeed collect most stallions on the ground without a phantom. It will probably be a little scary for you the first time or two, as the stallion will drop his haunches and almost get his back end onto the ground! After a couple of experiences however, most will realise that this is not needed and remain more or less upright. Having a good person handling the horse's head end is essential for safe ground collection.
Well, if it weren't for the fact that he has coconut sized testicles, I wouldn't think he IS a stud. I got a nice 'scented' towel from a friend with a mare in heat and all he did was try to inhale it, nibble it, & kiss it. He actually LOST his erection. He seems to like the tail scratching most...sometimes. I did try the AV yesterday as he looked like he was excited (didn't act it though...just stands quietly and lowers his head with a sleepy face). He did not, however, thrust. He sort of flexes his penis, but does not move his hips at all. He did flex it more than usual, but like usual, he ended up losing his erection. I guess the only way I'm going to be successful is to try and find a mare around me which is a real hassel. I don't know how much I should move the AV as I've heard lots of stallions resent a lot of manual help. I did move it more yesterday, but the water sloshing sort of made him lose interest. Which brings up another question. HOW much water? I have been toying with it and first put only 1 gallon in. The next time two. Then one and a 1/2. Same reaction with them all. People tell me how blessed I am to always have such a quiet, well behaved stallion...I always nod and agree, but think to myself...maybe not always would be nice too. I don't know who's more frustrated here...me or him. He doesn't show any visible signs and even though I grit my teeth sometiems, I still coo to him on how good a boy he is. Thanks so much for any more advice.
Posted on Sunday, April 15, 2001 - 12:03 pm:
Can u explain ground collection again? I'm a bit confused. Thanks!!!!!!!!!!
Mary typically there are two mistakes that are often made when getting an AV ready for use.
1: Wrong temperature, usually to cold. It is recommended that most horses will like 42-50 degrees centigrade. I have found that most work best at between 48-51. This is hot enough that when you put your arm in to lube it. The heat is uncomfortable and will sting your arm.
2: Inappropriately filled. This is critical. The AV must be filled completely and ALL air expelled. So as to avoid hot and cold spots. Air pockets will produce a cold spot. The way I do it, is fill the AV completely with 51-52 degree water making sure there is no air left inside. Invert it a few times to make sure that the water is thoroughly mixed and comes in full contact with all parts of the AV. Let it sit for a few minutes to allow the body of the AV to absorb the heat. Then when getting ready to lube the AV try to approximate the size of the horse´s penis with your arm. Both in length and girth. Then insert your arm using a sterile OB sleeve well lubricated with sterile non spermicidal lubricant. Insert your arm up to what you think is approximately the length of the horses penis. Release some water if you have to, then make a fist to approximate his glands size when flowered. Release more water until the fit seems comfortable, all the while avoiding getting any air back into the AV. Once all this is done check the temperature to make sure that you are in the appropriate range. Run your arm with a lubed sleeve into the AV one more time to make sure that it is well lubed. Then remove your arm while leaving the sleeve in the AV. This will help keep the lube from drying out and keep dust out as well. Now you are ready to approach the horse. ( remember to remove the sleeve just before you insert the horse).
I have found that moving the AV once the horse is fully inserted serves only to distract them. I try to keep the open end of the AV pushed upward against the base of the penis and keep it still, let the horse do the rest.
Many horses are very particular about temperature, so you may have to experiment for a while to find what his likes are. Some horses like a looser or tighter AV as well. This also requires trial and error. The one constant however is NO air in the AV bladder.
Posted on Sunday, April 15, 2001 - 09:09 pm:
Thanks HP... I fully endorse your comments about setting up the AV.
As far as more information on the ground collection method painluver, it's probably best if you ask questions about whatever part of the process you are confused about.
Thank you both so much. You are probably right about the temp. I CAN still stick my arm in the AV and not wince or have it sting. So it must be too cool. But the thermometer does read 50* C And I never did think to check for air pockets, so THAT was very helpful as well. ;o) Ok, next question and it is going to sound SO stupid but here goes. HOW do you two get your AV water hot enough? Obviously out of the tap is still not hot enough. What method do you use to get your water hot enough?
Thanks so much.
Posted on Monday, April 16, 2001 - 05:28 pm:
We turn our water tank thermostat up at the beginning of each breeding season so that we can get water hot enough.
One thing we also do is instead of filling using a hose directly from the tap as some do, we fill a 1 gallon jug and pour it in from there. This allows us to check the water temperature and also allows us to put a known volume of water in for different stallions that require different pressures. If you were to heat your water in a kettle, you could pour it into the gallon jug, check the temperature and then fill the AV. If using the Colorado AV, this is done easily as the filler is large and will accept a small funnel; if using the Missouri or Roanoke AV, we use our own funnel have "built" from a plastic baby bottle with the bottom cut out and the nipple cut at a point that permits it to be slipped tightly over the filler nozzle.
We have THRUSTAGE! ;o) I found a darling little paint mare locally and he thinks she SO cute. So, he has 'attempted' thrusting, but starts flinging his tail around and doesn't thrust but more than 4 x maybe? And I say mayyyyybe. He didn't start thrusting until I gave the base of his penis a good squeeze by hand. He does a LOT of 'dribbling' and my question is if that is his ejaculate or what? It looks really watery to me? I won't even SAY what I'm fearing in the back of my head, because with MY luck lately, that's what it would end up being. Any way, thank you both so much. Really, REALLY appreciate all the advice and patience.
Hi Mary, I'm so happy for your "thrustage". I hope it is the first step toward a successful ejaculation and collection thereof. What you saw is NOT his ejaculate. You will know when he ejaculates. It will be accompanyied by flagging of the tail and when complete he will have a disinterest in his cute little paint mare. Keep working on it. I haven't had the time to work with my boy again yet. A good news story about your situation would be encouraging.
Best of luck and keep us posted with your progress.
Cindy Spruce Lane Stables
Posted on Friday, April 20, 2001 - 11:17 am:
What you are seeing is pre-ejaculate. The actual semen is much thicker and the colour of skim milk.
Now that you are getting some thrusting, you may well assist matters by introducing a hot towel (soaked in hot water - as hot as your hand can stand - and wrung out immediately prior to placement) to the base of the stallion's penis as he is breeding the AV. This will often promote ejaculation.
One needs to have about 6 hands when doing some of this stuff! J
My goodness, I guess so Jos. 6 hands STILL doesn't seem like enough at times. He is DEFINITELY thrusting now, but still doing the pre ejaculate. The hot towel idea is a GREAT one. Ok, another REALLY weird question from a novice. When a stallion 'flowers' how large is 'normal'?? I really am afraid its 'flowering' up so much it might get stuck in the AV and prevent him FROM thrusting. I'm not kidding, it gets as big around as, I would guess, BOTH my fists. Not one, it was REALLY odd looking. Is that NORMAL? Today when we were 'learning' he acted like he would when he had mounted a Phantom after ejaculation. Sort of like a dog when you find an ichy spot, shaky legs, quivery lip, and dreamy eyed. But just liquidy. I'm going to have the vet out tomorrow to see what we can see. She asked me if he needs to pee first. Well, I didn't ask him, so I wouldn't know. Should I try to get him TO pee before trying to collect? And if yes, HOW do we do this? My goodness, this is a LOT of work.
Thanks so much everyone. :o) Mary
double d (22.214.171.124)
Posted on Sunday, September 30, 2001 - 01:45 am:
Jos, we are just contemplating purchase of a stud and would like to prepare as much as possible. Can you recommend books etc that would help us with becoming more knowlegable about safety and handling and his interaction in the off breeding season with our mares. We have many young, under 2 year old mares that we keep on property and want the safest situation for all concerned. The stallion we are considering is an older stud and currently live covers his mares in the pasture. We have a smaller pasture area than his current home, and due to the young age of many of our pastured mares we will need to pen him/ them some of this time. We want him to maintain his wonderful disposition and hesitate to stall him for extended periods, but have not figured a way to seperate all yet.
We also want to evaluate AI alternatives if you have suggestions on source books, catalog, video's etc. Thx
Posted on Sunday, October 14, 2001 - 12:38 pm:
Could you discuss the methods used for pharmacological induced ejaculation(drugs, doses, and time intervals)? Thanks
Posted on Sunday, October 14, 2001 - 12:57 pm:
Double D: You might want to look at the books section of this site, which carries titles that are specifically related to equine reproduction. We are producing a series of breeding videos ourselves, hopefully to be released next spring - check back! You would also probably benefit from attending a seminar - one of ours, or someone else's.
Anonymous (126.96.36.199): Better yet, go to the University of Pennsylvania (New Bolton)'s site and review the article Dr. Sue McDonnell has on the subject of chemical collection. The link is available in the links section of this site or directly by "clicking" here.
D & D STABLE (188.8.131.52)
Posted on Monday, January 14, 2002 - 08:52 pm:
WE HAVE READ YOUR TECHNIQUE FOR ARTIFICIAL BREEDING. WE HAVE A 10 YEAR OLD MAMMOTH JACK AND WAS THINKING OF USING YOUR METHOD. HE HAS ALWAYS BEEN USED TO THE NATURAL METHOD AND WAS WONDERING IF YOU THINK THIS TECHNIQUE WOULD BE SOMETHING WE COULD USE ON HIM?
Posted on Sunday, February 17, 2002 - 07:18 pm:
i have a stallion that i colect with the av it seems that when he does do his thing he eis ejaculate is not a lot nad it is not slimmy only about 20cc worth. he doed flag his tail and thrust the color of the stuff is skim milk color but watery. could this still be his semen or just pre? he does go limp when he is done. he has foundered several months ago but last month he had complete collection. could he not be producing the prelube only semen now?
Posted on Friday, April 05, 2002 - 10:32 pm:
jos. i have been reading about this and I have a stallion that use to let me clean him. but when I tried the ground collection by using warm water, sponges,he has become very aggresive and does want me to touch him, I have brought a mare in heat up and that doesn work. he wants the mare but no part of me around him. I have av and that seems to distract him. he is only 3yrs and really need to do something.thanks
I know it has been a while since you all discussed this topic, but I tried it for the first time today. I had the most sucess when I washed him, then gave him a minute to refocus....then I had the tape stuck to my arm, I stuck the bag on, and taped it really quick as I grabbed a hot sponge out of the bucket. I only applied the one sponge to the very tip of his penis, and pressed pretty firmly, until he thrust one time...then I just used my othe hand to grip the shaft of the penis about 3-4 inches from the base(where it conects to his body) and squeezed pretty hard. I kind of bounced the sponge on the tip to get him thrusting again, and then held on for dear life....he squatted way down and stretched out his front legs straight in front of him and if he quit thrusting, I would bounce the sponge on the tip (with out letting pressure off, just puched harder, then back to normal, harder, etc.) I just had the mare in a pen loose, and tied him low so he couldn't go up. Worked very well.....getting the semen out of the bag is a little tricky and messy, but we got the job done!
Julie Lawler Posted From: 184.108.40.206
Posted on Monday, July 05, 2004 - 10:32 pm:
I have been reading some of the postings and thought I might give a "for what it's worth". Going back to the temperature ?... We have a 4 y/o stallion and have ground collected him using an AV for 2 yrs. now. We use a digital cooking thermometer(with the metal pointy shaft)-I keep the END of the tip in the faucet water to check temperature. The TIP needs to be kept UNDER THE WATER because that is where the thermometer takes a temperature reading from. We also use a hand-held fishing scale. We got it at Wal-Mart in the fishing supply section. We use this to keep the amount of water consistent from collection to collecttion. I fill the AV with appropriate temp. water and then weigh the AV (the "scale" is actually a dial-scale with a metal hook that I hang the AV handle on). I usually put more water than I need in and pour out water until I get to the right weight. I then look down into the AV as I tip it -until the liner is contant throughout. We use the INRA AV and have been very happy with it ...or should I say, our stallion is happy with it. We have him where all we need to do is stand our 24 y/o mare where he can see her(not in heat, just stands there). He knows the AV now and looks for my husband or I to pick it up. I will say, like Jos said, when training a stallion to this -learning their likes/dislikes is very much trial and error. Good luck to you all -keep trying without frustrating them.
I am trying this too as we speak. It is going pretty good, I do not try it in his stall but in another stall that is not his. This way he doesn't associate me and breeding in his stall after all he is 17 hands.
He knows when I come with the different halter and lunge that he is going out to talk to some mares.
I think we got it using an a/v
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