Reproductive efficiency of intensively managed Thoroughbred mares in Newmarket


  • L. H. A. MORRIS,

  • W. R. ALLEN


The findings of a retrospective survey of 1393 Thoroughbred mares visiting 22 studfarms in the Newmarket region of the UK during the 1998 mating season were compared with those of a similar study undertaken in 1983. The effects of mare age and status, stallion, month of mating, application of uterine treatments and other parameters on the rates of singleton and twin conception and subsequent pregnancy losses were analysed. Mare age and status significantly affected the per cycle pregnancy rate and the incidence of pregnancy loss. Overall, the mean number of matings per oestrus was 1.12 and the mean number of times a mare was mated until diagnosed pregnant at 15 days after ovulation was 1.88. An overall mean per cycle pregnancy rate of 59.9% at 15 days after ovulation resulted in 94.8% of the mated mares being pregnant at least once at 15 days after ovulation. This high initial pregnancy rate fell to 89.7% by Day 35 and 87.5% by the time of the October pregnancy test; 82.7% of the mares surveyed gave birth to a live foal at term, which compares favourably with the proportion of mares foaling in 1983 (77%). However, despite improvements in the foaling rates over the last 15 years, the overall rate of pregnancy failure remains high and represents a major loss to the Thoroughbred breeding industry.