We offer a wide range of fertility services from pre-breeding examinations to comprehensive artificial insemination (AI) packages.


Breeding your own foal from a beloved mare can be immensely rewarding, but remember that it is a long term project requiring a lot of commitment in terms of time, energy and money.

Consider what type of horse or pony you are hoping to breed in terms of size, temperament and ability; as well as the facilities that will be required for keeping a mare and foal both in the first summer and through the winter.


Preparing your mare

  • Most mares stop cycling in the winter months and begin cycling in spring in response to the longer day length.
  • Breeding an early foal can be more difficult as mares may not have started to cycle regularly. Get in touch about methods that can be used to attempt to hasten the onset of cycling.
  • Make sure your mare finishes the winter in lean to good body condition. Overweight mares have reduced fertility.
  • Ensure the mare is fed a vitamin and mineral supplement or a complete balanced diet. Maintain good foot care and trimming and remove hind shoes if she is going to be covered by a stallion.
  • Ensure your mare’s vaccinations, worming and dentistry are up to date. Our Equine Care Plans are an effective way of spreading this cost.

Natural Service or Artificial Insemination (AI)
AI can be done using chilled or frozen semen. Chilled semen can be shipped overnight from the UK and from some places in Europe. Chilled semen has a limited lifespan, which means postage delays are a significant risk, especially when shipped from abroad. Frozen semen allows you to use a stallion from anywhere in the world and even those who have now died. We require the appropriate health paperwork to accompany semen before inseminating mares.

AI enables more control of the process, and the risk of injury to mare, stallion and handlers and the risk of spread of disease are reduced with AI compared to natural service.

Natural service is the most economical and is a good option if the stallion you want to use to very local to you.

Choosing a stallion

  • Ensure that he has a good temperament and fertility and produces quality progeny.
  • Consider the size and type of foal that you want to produce.
  • Find out when the stallion is available and if they offer natural service or AI.
  • Make sure that you are clear on the terms of the stud fee and what will happen if your mare does not get in foal.
Mare being examined


Our experienced equine vets can carry out a pre-breeding examination on your mare to assess her suitability for breeding and to highlight any possible fertility issues. Finding out this information at an early stage can prevent the expense and disappointment of trying to breed from a subfertile mare. The examination includes:

  • examination of the conformation of the vulva
  • examination of the vagina and cervix using a speculum
  • ultrasound examination of the uterus and ovaries carried out internally through the rectum

Based on this examination your vet may suggest some treatment prior to or during breeding or pregnancy to improve the chances of her successfully conceiving and carrying a foal.

Pre-breeding health tests can also be carried out at this time. You will need to check the requirements of the individual stud or AI centre. Pre-breeding health tests may include:

  • clitoral swab for Contagious Equine Metritis (CEM): the culture takes at least 7 days so you need to plan ahead. While PCR is slightly more expensive than culture, having a result within a few days is much more convenient
  • blood test for Equine Viral Arteritis (EVA), Equine Infectious Anaemia (EIA), and Strangles
  • other test as requested e.g. uterine swab

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Horse AI


Did you know that Oakhill Equine Vets is a BEVA Approved AI centre for both chilled and frozen semen?

Our experienced stud vets are on hand to discuss the options available to you, and will guide you through the process from start to finish.

AI Packages include:

  • Breeding soundness examination & taking of swabs if required (excluding lab fees)
  • All ultrasound scans pre-insemination (these are more frequent in frozen than for chilled semen)
  • Semen quality evaluation if insemination performed at Oakhill
  • Routine reproductive drugs
  • One post-insemination wash-out (intra-uterine lavage) if required
  • Pregnancy scans (up to 3)
  • Storage of frozen semen for a season (if doing frozen AI package)

Not included:

  • Sedation & muscle relaxants if required
  • Lab fees
  • Regumate (if required)
  • Return postage of semen containers
  • Twin pregnancy management
  • Caslick’s operation if required
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Pregnant mare being scanned


Ultrasound imaging is a key tool in equine reproduction. A reproductive tract ultrasound scan helps to determine soundness for breeding, guides timing of mating/AI and identification of pregnancy including identification of twin pregnancies.

Ultrasound is relatively non-invasive and can be performed in many horses without sedation especially where stocks are available to provide restraint. Reproductive ultrasound:

  • is normally used to assess a mare’s suitability for breeding and to predict the most suitable time for covering or artificial insemination (AI);
  • is used to detect pregnancy from 14-16 days after ovulation. This allows the prompt diagnosis and treatment of twin pregnancies
  • can be used to investigate infertility in mares failing to conceive or to maintain a pregnancy
  • trans-abdominal ultrasound can be used to assess foetal health in the latter stages of pregnancy
  • can be used in the investigation of mares with erratic behaviour and suspected hormonal problems


We work with a variety of studs across Lancashire and the North West. Our vets are well placed to assist your mares breeding journey both before, during and after being at stud.

We welcome conversations with new studs, and our vets are available to discuss what services we can offer you. Don’t hesitate to get in touch.