Saphiro – Breeding FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

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Have more questions? Please contact us. We are happy to talk with you!

Q. Do you offer live cover?

No, however your mare may be brought to the collection facility in Amissville, VA for immediate insemination. The staff at Equine Reproduction Concepts, LLC can manage all aspects of mare care. This is an excellent option for mares with extender allergies, a history of fertility issues, or for mare owners that do not have access to a good reproduction Veterinarian or clinic in their area.

Q. What is the average motility of Saphiro’s fresh cooled sperm and how much is sent?

Aprox 1 billion progressively motile sperm (PMS) are packaged in each fresh cooled breeding dose. On a normal collection averaging 60-75% PMS, 1.3-1.5 billion total sperm will be packaged per breeding dose. Test cools and receiving Veterinarians report an average range of:

  • 40-90% PMS at 24 hours
  • 35-65% PMS at 48 hours
  • 10-40% PMS at 72 hours (limited data)
  • 0-15% PMS at 96 hours (limited data)

We cannot guarantee sperm quality once it leaves our control. The above is for planning purposes only. 1 breeding dose will be sent per shipment. As a courtesy, if it is available, a second dose will be sent. In 2010 Saphiro had an 83% first cycle conception rate of mares bred with fresh cooled semen.

Q. How much does it cost for collection and shipping of fresh cooled semen?

Collection, processing and shipping of semen in the United States for next day arrival via FedEx AVERAGES $250 per shipment. An up to date breakdown of fees can be found at the website for the facility where Saphiro is collected at.

Q. Has Saphiro been color tested? What color will my foal be?

Yes, Saphiro has been DNA color tested by UC Davis. A copy of the results is available upon request. His color test results are eeAACrCr. He does not carry pearl or champagne. He is a double dilute, Agouti dominant cremello. A cremello is a double dilute on a chestnut base. He CANNOT throw smoky black. If your mare has been color tested you can send us the results and we will tell you the possible colors your foal would be and the likelihood of each. On a chestnut mare, the foal will always be palomino. On a bay or black mare the foal will be a buckskin unless the mare carries and throws a red gene (resulting in a palomino foal). Mares contributing a dilute gene will result in a double dilute foal (cremello or perlino). Other modifiers contributed to the foal by the mare may affect coat color of the offspring such as grey (see below)

Q. My mare is grey. What color will the foal be?

The color of the foal will depend on the mare’s base coat, which can be determined by color testing. The same principals will apply as above. If the mare is homozygous grey (carries 2 copies of the grey modifier) then the foal’s coat will eventually grey. If the mare is heterozygous grey (carries only 1 copy of the grey modifier) then there is a 50% chance your mare will throw a foal that will grey when bred to Saphiro. Saphiro himself does not carry grey.

Q. How tall is Saphiro?

Saphiro sticks 15.3h barefoot on cement. He has a proud high-set neck and appears larger in person, so he is often mistaken to be taller than he is. He was measured at his APSL grading to be 1640mm but we feel that 15.3h is a more accurate measurement

Q. Why is there a transport fee and what does it cover?

The $75 transport fee covers our time and expense to transport Saphiro to the reproduction clinic. This is a 100 mile round trip (aprox 5 hours with wait time for collection). This fee is ONLY charged for breedings done out of season. During Saphiro’s defined breeding season there is no transport fee. We assume the cost of transport (and/or the cost of board) so that he is available M-W-F during his defined season. Our breeding season is typically mid-April through the end of June.

Q. Can my mare be bred outside of Saphiro’s normal season?

Yes, however, you should check on Saphiro’s availability, which is not guaranteed out of season. His availability will be scheduled around shows, expos, travel and other considerations. While each year varies, Saphiro is typically not available for fresh cooled semen collections before February 28th 2012 or after August 19th.

Q. What are the advantages and disadvantages of frozen semen?


  • Frozen semen can be ordered in advance and stored to be used when the mare is ready.
  • It may be able to be shipped on a day that fresh collection is not possible due to collection schedule, shows, breeding season etc.
  • Multiple doses can be sent at one time. For owners interested in breeding multiple mares and/or multiple years this may be a potential cost saver.
  • Frozen semen is the only way to breed mares being inseminated outside of the United States and Canada.


  • Shipping is more expensive then fresh cooled.
  • Ideally a storage tank is available to transfer the semen into, however, with correct timing, frozen semen can be used from the shipping tank.
  • A Veterinarian should be familiar and experienced with frozen semen.
  • It requires more frequent checks of the mare.

Q. What is the recommended protocol for breeding with frozen semen?

It is recommended that the mare be checked every 6 hours approaching ovulation. When ovulation is determined to be immanent the AI technician may want to reduce check time to every 4 hours. Ideally the mare will be inseminated with a breeding dose within 6 hours pre-ovulation and/or within 4 hours post-ovulation. If breeding with one breeding dose per cycle, the mare should be bred within 4 hours post ovulation.

Q. How many straws do I get?

A sample from every collection is test thawed. The progressively motile sperm of the test thaw determines a breeding dose. Breeding doses consist of aprox 300 million progressively motile sperm post thaw. The number of straws per breeding dose may vary slightly from collection to collection but average 5-6 straws per breeding dose. It is important to always use the number of straws included in a breeding dose for the best chances or a successful pregnancy. As tempting as it may be, breaking up breeding doses may affect conception rates and will cost more money in the end.

Q. I am breeding with frozen semen. How many doses of frozen semen should I order?

There is a $250 per dose fee for frozen semen. This fee is payable to JC Andalusians and is in addition to the stud fees, shipping, handling and container rental. A breakdown of fees for shipping frozen semen can be found at

The number of doses to request per cycle is usually a decision made by your finances. Many veterinarians prefer to work with 2 breeding doses per cycle so that a breeding dose can be inseminated pre-ovulation, allowing additional doses to be used if estimated timing turned out to be incorrect. Saphiro is successfully getting mares pregnant with 1 breeding dose inseminated within 4 hours post-ovulation. Shipping frozen semen can be expensive, and it is the same shipping cost to ship 1 dose or 10. It is important to remember that frozen semen is sold by the breeding, not by the dose. Additional doses must be destroyed or a new contract signed for retained use of frozen for additional mares or in future years. Your veterinarian will be required to sign off on the insemination or destruction of all semen. If you are interested in having more than 2 breeding doses sent at a time, please contact us to discuss an amendment to your contract. This is considered on an individual basis only.

Q. I live in Canada. Should I order fresh or frozen semen?

We have been successfully shipping fresh cooled semen to Canada with resulting pregnancies. There is additional paperwork and import permits that need to be done regardless of semen being sent fresh or frozen. The expense of shipping to Canada and the added hassle of additional paperwork and potential transport/customs delays makes frozen semen more appealing to some mare owners, especially owners breeding more than 1 mare. It is important to note that same day service is not available to Canada, but the every other day collection schedule remains the same during Saphiro’s breeding season. This is another reason some mare owners in Canada prefer frozen semen use. Fresh cooled semen generally makes more sense for mare owners in the Eastern half of Canada; however, fresh cooled semen is available for all of Canada.

Q. I ordered more frozen semen than I needed. May I breed additional mares or save it for future use?

Without a new or amended contract, it is illegal and a breach of contract to use frozen semen in any way other than it’s intended contracted use. To legally use extra semen you have in storage, additional stud fees must be paid on new contracts. The per dose fee is only paid once, once you have shipped breeding doses only the stud fee would need to be paid for added mare(s) or year(s). All frozen semen not used or on an open contract must be destroyed. Please be sure to read your frozen semen contract.

Have more questions? Please contact us. We are happy to talk with you!