Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Genetics of Teaser Mares Matters

Why does a stallion curl back his upper lip when he's getting ready to mount a mare (or phantom)? Apparently it's so he can adjust his semen quality according to the genetics of the mare. Good grief! This seems just huge to me.

It's called the Flehmen response, and what it does is take in all the olfactory information (smells) from the mare and direct it to the vomeronasal organ, where special processing of smells occurs. 

The Flehmen response collects all sorts of information from the scents picked up. For example, mares often "flehmen" soon after giving birth. I wonder what the mare learns about her foal from that. Foals do it too, and interestingly, colts up to five times more often than fillies.

A recent study was reported by Kentucky Equine Research about how stallions react to the genetics of the mare they think they are going to breed. Within seconds of snuffing up a mare's smell, usually from the mare's urine, the stallion's serum testosterone level can change, and he can change both the individual sperm and the seminal fluid. 

What does this mean for stallion managers? It means that the mare you use as a teaser mare can affect the quality of your stallion's semen.

To read the full article, with more details about what stallions are reacting to, and how and why, click here.

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