Louisiana Equine Report 2016 Stallion Edition

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Stallion Issue 2016

Stallion Issue 2016







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Stallion Issue 2016

Stallion Issue 2016



Stallion Issue 2016

Grand Sire of Triple Crown Winner Stands in Louisiana by Mike Milazzo

Yankee Gentleman When American Pharoah crossed the finish line of the Belmont Stakes and won Thoroughbred racing’s first Triple Crown in 37 years, Brett Brinkman was jubilant with the realization that a stallion he stands had a part in that monumental feat. American Pharoah’s sire is Pioneer of the Nile. His dam is Littleprincessemma, and his dam sire is Yankee Gentleman. Yankee Gentleman stands at stud at Brinkman’s Le Mesa Stallions in Carencro, LA. “When a horse you stand is a sire of a broodmare that produces a Triple Crown winner, it definitely raises the stallion to another level,” says Brinkman. Yankee Gentleman has been on Brinkman’s farm for 5 years. The horse has bred other strong Thoroughbreds, including several stakes race winners in Louisiana. Although Yankee Gentleman did not reach the pinnacle of racing success like his grandson, the horse did tear up the track in his heyday. Brinkman said he’s thrilled to have a horse like Yankee Gentleman and he’s been watching American Pharoah’s career from the start. Yankee Gentleman is a triple threat: he can produce quality runners, stallions, and broodmares. “He was a stakes winner on the racetrack and has produced graded stakes horses,” Brinkman says. The horse has also produced a couple of stallions that are now standing at stud, E Z Gentleman and Ive Struck a Nerve. “He has been a very, very above level sire. To have him in Louisiana and have him in our program here is quite exceptional.” Brinkman goes on to say, “A stallion is graded off of his progeny. In that regard, Yankee Gentle has checked all the boxes as far as the results his horses are achieving.” “The lineage is there,” says Brinkman. “It proves to you that he is capable of passing on those kinds of traits to his progeny to win those types of races. It’s just remarkable.” “It’s just another added feature to his resume now, that if you have a filly by him, she can become a very good broodmare and has the genes to pass on to her offspring,” says Brinkman. Brinkman says it’s all about the bloodline when it comes to Yankee Gentleman. He has a bloodline that will keep on growing. “He’s 16 now, you know, still doing his job very well and successfully,” says Brinkman. “So we’ll ride the wave as long as he wants to do the job. I am hopeful that Yankee Gentleman will continue producing winners for several years to come.” In closing, Brinkman says, “The fact that we had a Louisiana bred in last year’s Kentucky Derby, and now a Triple Crown winner with ties to a stallion standing in Louisiana, is great for the Louisiana program. We’ve always had great horses and horseman in the area, but now that they are showing up at an elite level and we’re making our mark, it’s definitely elevating our business.”

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Stallion Issue 2016

Stallion Issue 2016


Monitoring the High Risk Pregnant Mare Sara K. Lyle, DVM, MS, PhD (LSU SVM 2008), DACT | Assistant Professor of Theriogenology Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences | LSU School of Veterinary Medicine Overview After expending considerable time in establishing pregnancy in the sub-fertile mare, it is imperative that she be adequately monitored to detect complications in the later part of gestation. The most likely complication to arise during the last third of gestation in the sub-fertile mare would be placentitis (infection of the placenta). Timely identification of placentitis is crucial for multi-modal therapy to be successful. Most cases of placentitis occur because bacteria gain access to the placenta movement through the cervix. Clinical signs include premature udder development and lactation (Fig. 1), vulvar discharge (Fig. 2), and premature delivery or stillbirth. Abortions can occur from 75 days to term, although the majority of clinical cases are noticed during the third trimester. These premonitory signs are more common with fungal infections than with bacterial infections. A special type of placentitis is nocardioform placentitis, seen most commonly in central Kentucky. With this type of placentitis, discharge from the vulva is very uncommon, but mares will have premature udder development. Diagnostics Ultrasonography is a key diagnostic modality for diagnosing disturbances of the fetus and uterus. Evaluations are made both transrectally and transabdmonially, and are best performed when the mare is restrained in stocks in a quiet environment. Mare agitation or anxiety can elevate fetal heart rate, which could be interpreted erroneously as fetal stress. Sedation is also to be avoided if possible, due to the associated lowering of the fetal heart rate. Hormonal profiling can provide crucial information and is complimentary to the information gained by ultrasonography. Other modalities that can be used include sampling of fetal fluids, and echocardiography. Transrectal Ultrasonography –An increase in the combined thickness of the uterus and placenta (CTUP; Fig. 3), especially with concurrent accumulation of fluid between these layers, is characteristic of placentitis. Edema of the placenta at term is normal and simply indicates impending delivery. Edema of the chorioallantois, or a discernible difference in the echogenicity of the uterine wall and the chorioallantois at other times should be considered as an indicator of potential premature delivery. Fetal presentation and positioning is easily confirmed by identifying the presence (normal) or absence (breech) of the fetal eye adjacent to the maternal pelvis. Figure 1. Ultrasound image of a mare with placentitis, with fluid accumulation (green line) between the uterus and placenta.


Transabdominal Ultrasonography – Transabdominal ultrasonography is useful for assessing fetal heart rate (FHR; Fig. 4), fetal activity, fetal presentation and position, character and depth of fetal fluids, as well as in cases of placentitis not due to ascension through cervix (e.g., nocardioform placentitis or blood-borne infections). Figure 2. Echocardiography (ultrasound) of the fetal heart. Hormonal profiling – Several hormones in the maternal circulation may be useful to monitor during high risk pregnancies. Total progestins (“progesterone”) are commonly measured in pregnant mares, although single samples probably are not as informative as serial samples. Total maternal plasma progestins are low until the last 2-3 weeks of gestation, climb substantially, and then fall abruptly within 24 hours of parturition. Increases in progestins prior to day 315 may be seen with placentitis; abrupt declines in progestins are associated with severe fetal compromise and impending abortion. Therapeutics for the High Risk Pregnancy The exact list of therapeutic agents needed for an individual mare will vary depending on the reason for the high risk status. However, a few agents are commonly used in many high risk mares: altrenogest (Regumate®, flunixin meglumine, pentoxifylline, and antibiotics. Firocoxib (Equioxx®) is useful when prolonged non-steroid anti-inflammatory drug use is indicated. Vulvar discharges from mares with suspected placentitis are typically contaminated with commensal microflora making isolation of the causative organism difficult. Broad-spectrum antibiotics (trimethoprim sulfa, ceftiofur, or penicillin and gentamicin) are indicated in these instances. Conclusions Timely identification of abnormalities during the last trimester of the sub-fertile mare is crucial to achieve the desirable outcome of a healthy neonate. The success of multi-modal therapy for placentitis hinges on early recognition of infection. Unfortunately the clinical symptoms of placentitis are not consistent, but a combination of serial ultrasonography and maternal hormonal profiling may allow the earliest identification of mares with a compromised pregnancy. Sub-fertile mares, or those with a history of previous ascending placentitis, should have serial examinations beginning no later than the start of the last trimester. In some cases monitoring from mid-gestation onward would be prudent. Further research on bio-markers for identifying infection of the allantoic fluid will aid in improving outcomes of cases with placentitis.

Stallion Issue 2016

Stallion Issue 2016


The Copper Crowne Concept By Barbara Newtown

Acadiana Equine Clinic, a multi-disciplinary veterinary practice, has been going strong for over 30 years, most of those years at its original location on Gloria Switch Road in Lafayette, Louisiana. As time passed, a number of veterinarians practiced at Acadiana and retired or moved on. Dr. James “Sonny” Corley merged his practice with Acadiana years ago and now counts Drs. Eddie Cramer, Pat Bernard, Justin Jensen, Patrisor Baia, and Mark Buchert as his colleagues in state-of-theart reproduction services, surgery, orthopedics, lameness treatments, and the care of racehorses. Acadiana Equine is now located in Opelousas, Louisiana, not far from Evangeline Downs. The clinic is part of Copper Crowne—a gorgeous, 210acre property dedicated to equine reproduction, health care, training, and rehabilitation. Copper Crowne, so named for the elegant copper cupolas on the brand-new stables, boasts a 6 ½ furlong track, officially sanctioned by the Louisiana Racing Commission for workouts; a large outdoor arena; boarding, foaling, and rehab space for hundreds of horses; barns with living quarters; and superb veterinary facilities. Acadiana Equine’s official title is “Acadiana Equine Clinic at Copper Crowne,” not to be confused with “The Veterinary Clinic at Copper Crowne,” a facility for small animal care just a few small-animal strides away. Dr. Corley’s wife, Dr. Edna Dean Corley, oversees The Veterinary Clinic at Copper Crowne. Mr. Harold Forman, a prominent builder, developer, and supporter of Thoroughbred racing, envisioned the Copper Crowne concept: a full-service, “cradleto-grave” facility that caters to every need an equine might require. Mr. Forman had been a friend and client of Dr. Corley for years, and he turned to Dr. Corley for input. Copper Crowne Equestrian Center began to take shape in 2009. The story of Copper Crowne is a tale of dedicated horsemen deciding to go “first class.” Good friends,


old and new, are developing a dream that benefits many others, human and equine. I talked with Dr. Eddie Cramer, the reproduction specialist, about what Copper Crowne means to him. You used to work with Dr. Chat Kleinpeter in Baton Rouge. I started off as more of a general practitioner. I always had a profound interest in reproductive medicine, but I really questioned, honestly, whether the region would support an exclusive reproductive veterinarian. But the repro services at Kleinpeter/Cramer in Baton Rouge continued to expand, and dramatically outgrew what was available to us. [The facility is leased from the Dixon family.] I love Bill and Mary Lee Dixon and they are very good friends. It’s a beautiful property, but it was never designed to be a breeding farm. The reproductive services within Kleinpeter/Cramer had just outgrown everything we could do there. We looked into developing a facility in the South Baton Rouge area, but the property values were prohibitive. A large portion of my client base at that point were running quarter horses that were doing embryo transfers. Most of them were in the Acadiana area, but since I was a lot closer than Oklahoma they came to me. So I had a client base in this region already. Kleinpeter and I discussed it for a long time but at the end of the day Chat was not interested in investing in a whole new project 60 miles away at that point in his life. We separated business interests. The “spun out” repro department of Kleinpeter & Cramer became the Louisiana Center for Equine Reproduction, or LACER. I purchased a tract of land for LACER in Opelousas. After I signed the purchase agreement, the realtor mentioned that somebody had just bought an old horse farm two miles away. Two days later Dr. Corley called me up and wanted to have lunch because he heard in the wind that a veterinarian just bought some land down the road. We went to lunch and we hardly knew each other. Frankly, there was some concern on both of our sides—you know, “is there a market that you are going after that I’m going after and how competitive are you?” 10 minutes into lunch we figured out that we could be neighbors and friends but we weren’t going to be in competition. LACER and Acadiana Equine at Copper Crowne were

happening at the same time. We were friendly but really didn’t do a whole lot of work together until about 2012. And what actually happened was that the first thoroughbred stallion we stood at LACER had a lot of ties back to Dr. Corley and Acadiana. The logic was that LACER didn’t have the capacity to handle that influx of broodmares. Copper Crown would function more as the mare farm and we would haul them over to LACER for breeding and repro. It made a lot of sense. What happened practically is that Dr. Corley and I started working together and getting to know each other… January 1st of 2015 was the official merger of LACER and Acadiana Equine. We have probably 250 mares in our care. [Dr. Cramer explains that Harold Forman concentrates on the 150 acres of Copper Crowne that include the training center and track. Dr. Corley purchased Mr. Forman’s interest in the front 50 acres, the location of the original old farm and the new veterinary facilities.] There is not the same ownership across all of Copper Crowne. At this point Sunny owns half of LACER and I own half of the farm at Copper Crowne. I don’t see shortcuts here! Everything is first class. Yes! Breeding and training done right, right here. And LACER has always had that same principle and same core values. Sunny and I see the world the same way. Even though LACER has focused on different breeds and disciplines—particularly running quarter horses—and Copper Crowne has focused on Thoroughbreds, we are open to everything. We moved the stallions to Copper Crowne and now use the nice, big stallion stalls at LACER as foaling stalls. They tie in well to the office where we have overnight staff. It all fits really well. God is a smart guy! He does a lot when we are not looking. What’s so wonderful about the union of LACER, Acadiana, and Copper Crowne is that it is so amiable. Continued on page 13...

Stallion Issue 2016

Continued from page 12... The Copper Crowne Concept By Barbara Newtown The only way to be first class is to have people who are really good at what they do. You have to be able to put together a team. You capitalize on everyone’s strengths. We do really high end reproductive work, which is very near and dear to me, but, for instance, we have the full complement of surgery, particularly emergency surgery. There is a very limited number of practices in the state that offer emergency surgeries. Now we are one of those practices, and especially in this region that’s a big deal. And I think the development of a rehab facility is a huge deal. I am somewhat familiar with the use of frozen semen in the warmblood breeds. It seems that breeders are having more success these days. In the last five to seven years, generally speaking, the quality of frozen equine semen has improved dramatically. When you use high quality frozen semen with really well-managed mares, I can’t say I see a significant decrease in fertility. Ten years ago I wouldn’t have said that. A lot of the extender we use to freeze the semen does a much better job of protecting the cells through the preservation process. Is it hard to time insemination when you use frozen? In the literature it is claimed that you can be anywhere from 12 hours pre-ovulation to 6 hours post-ovulation. However, in my experience if you are on the edges of that time frame you will have very little success. What is the time frame for fresh semen? With fresh we talk about a 48 hour window prior to ovulation, so getting mares pregnant with fresh semen is a lot easier. It’s a lot less time and a lot less work. We have products that can induce ovulation, somewhere between 36 and 48 hours after injection. When we use frozen, when it is 36 hours post injection we check that mare hourly and then we breed her within an hour post ovulation. If you know you are in that very small time window post ovulation, no more than three or four hours, it’s actually very effective. Cattle breeders have been using frozen semen successfully much longer than horse breeders. In general, equine reproduction is very different. The chemicals used to make extenders for bull semen really don’t work that well on the equine sperm cell. Cattle embryos can be frozen. But with horses we have to use cryoprotectants that basically change the freeze point of the fluid inside the cell. The fluid doesn’t actually freeze but turns into a glass-like state. It’s called vitrification, not freezing. Cattle embryos are also much smaller than horse embryos. We have to flush mares a bit early to collect smaller embryos. The chemicals are damaging to the cells. If you have too large an embryo, the chemicals will not penetrate the center of the embryo quickly enough before the chemicals start killing the cells on the periphery.

Oh, no. The earliest you can consistently find vesicles in a mare’s uterus on an ultrasound is about day 11 or 12. Every time we do a flush on a donor mare we are hoping there’s an embryo in there. After we collect the fluid, filter it, and look at it, we are either happy or sad. Conception occurs in the oviduct of the mare. It’s not until day 5 that the embryo enters the uterus. You can’t effectively flush the oviduct with the techniques we commonly use. So we are trying to hit a time frame where the embryo enters the uterus on day 5, and if we wait past day 6 the embryo is too big to vitrify. There are certainly times when you flush the mare on day 6 and you don’t recover an embryo. If she turns up pregnant…well, the embryo was probably still in the oviduct. Not every mare reads the book! You have to assume a mare is normal, unless she has a history of being abnormal. Some older mares tend to ovulate smaller follicles and tend not to show signs of estrus nearly as long. We have a mare of a client and the biggest her follicle has ever grown is 17 or 18 millimeters. She commonly ovulates multiple, very small follicles. She was out of our care for a while, and the stud farm she was at refused to breed her on small follicles. They had her for three heat cycles and never bred her because she ovulated early each time. She came back to the farm I was working at and we settled her back. You have to listen to the individual. Will a foal carried by a recipient mare be the same quality as a foal carried by its real mother? Absolutely no genetic material is passed from the recipient mare to the foal. But you get to the question of nurture versus nature. I would suggest that “nurture” starts immediately after conception. The uterine environment of the donor is very different from the uterine environment of the recipient. Unfortunately our ability to assess [uterine environment] is limited. Still, if you look at Thoroughbred produce records, there is certainly a correlation between younger mares and better offspring. I have no numbers to back this up, but logic would certainly support the idea that you would do an embryo a favor by removing from the uterus of an older mare and allowing it to be carried in the healthier uterus of a younger mare. You mentioned that repro work is very seasonal. Sure. Around May or June repro slows down substantially and I can help out with other areas of the practice. I do anesthesia sometimes for our surgeon, Dr. Pete Baia. Come January, I won’t be doing much anesthesia! Thank you, Dr. Cramer! For more information, contact: Acadiana Equine Hospital | 5124 Hwy 182 Opelousas, LA 70570 | (337) 407-9555 , acadianaequinehospital@gmail.com www.acadianaequinehospital.com

How early in the pregnancy can you flush an embryo?

For more information about the services offered by the Copper Crowne Equestrian Center, contact: Copper Crowne Equestrian Center 5180 Hwy 182 South | Opelousas, LA 70570 8 (337) 942-2401 | sales@coppercrowne.com • www.coppercrowne.com

Six days post ovulation.

For more information about LACER, contact: Louisiana Center for Equine Reproduction 660 Montgomery Road | Opelousas, LA 70570

That can’t be seen on ultrasound, can it?

(337) 407-0708 • www.laequine.com

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Stallion Issue 2016

Stallion Issue 2016


Failure To Conceive: Endometritis In The Mare

Dr. E. Oostelaar, DVM | Dr. S.K. Lyle, DVM, PhD, DACT | Dr. N.L. Heidorn, PhD

One of the most important causes of reduced fertility in the mare is endometritis. Endometritis is the inflammation of the lining (endometrium) of the uterus. This inflammation is often caused by an infection which can be due to the growth of bacteria, fungi, or yeast. These infections can be acquired during natural mating or artificial insemination; however, artificial insemination is usually associated with transmission of lower numbers of organisms.

to anti microbial drugs. The mucus sample can also be submitted for cytology (analysis of the cell types, i.e. inflammatory cells) at the same time for a definitive diagnosis of endometritis. Sample acquisition should be during estrus.

A small piece of the endometrium can be obtained by biopsy as well. In addition to assessing the degree of inflammation, the presence of fibrosis around the endometrial glands can be evaluated and scored. Biopsy is especially useful in cases where a chronic endometritis is suspected. The A normal uterus is protected from external contaminants by three physical biopsy score is used to predict the mare’s chances of carry a foal to term. barriers: the vulva, the vestibulo-vaginal sphincter and the cervix. Injury, anatomic abnormalities and loss of structural function of any of these The presence of endometrial cysts or other abnormalities within the uterus barriers can permit the introduction of air and fecal or urinary contaminants can be diagnosed using ultrasonography. Hysteroscopy (examination of into the uterus, causing endometritis. the uterus with an endoscope) can give additional information about the severity of inflammation, adhesions or the presence of foreign bodies. Every mare experiences a transient period of endometritis after breeding regardless of the type of mating used (artificial or natural). Most mares Treatment: are able to clear contaminants and byproducts of inflammation from their The goal of treatment is to remove the cause of endometritis and eliminate uterus in the post breeding period, but some mares cannot. These mares the inflammation. Any anatomic defects in the mare’s reproductive tract have a disease called “Persistent post-mating induced endometritis”, which should be repaired. Often a simple surgical procedure called a “Caslick is due to impaired uterine clearance mechanisms. With close monitoring vulvoplasty” (partial closure of the top portion of the vulvar lips) is by a veterinarian it is possible to establish a successful pregnancy in mares performed. Other internal defects, such as loss of vestibulo-vaginal with PMIE. sphincter function or cervical lacerations, may need more invasive surgery. A thorough history of the mare can help diagnose endometritis or other reasons of reduced fertility. The age of the mare, the number of foals she has produced and a history about previous (especially the most recent) foaling and post-partum period can give extra helpful information.

Clinical signs: In most mares no visible vaginal discharge or elevated temperature is seen. Sometimes a shorter interval between heats can be noted. A common presenting complaint of mares with PMIE is a negative 14-day pregnancy exam. These mares do not have a shortened interval between heats, and results of culture and cytology on the subsequent heat are usually negative.

Systemic and/or local antimicrobials based on culture and sensitivity results can be administered. Local treatment consists of an intrauterine infusion of a small volume of sterile saline combined with the appropriate antimicrobials during estrus. If PMIE is diagnosed, uterine lavage is recommended. This consists of an infusion and recovery of larger volumes of sterile saline with or without drugs that stimulate uterine contractions, such as oxytocin and prostaglandin, to clear the uterus of inflammatory Diagnosis: products and fluid. Oxytocin and prostaglandin are frequently given Transrectal palpation and ultrasonography are important for detecting and systemically as well, under the direction of your veterinarian. determining the nature of free fluid in the uterus. Mares with endometritis and especially mares with PMIE often have free fluid in their uterus. It Endometritis in the mare does not necessarily mean the end of her breeding is extremely important to examine the mare within 24 hours following career. Diagnostic results and the response to a treatment play an important mating to diagnose PMIE. role in formulating a prognosis for fertility. Most acute infections are easy to treat. Chronic infections are usually associated with a worsened Endometritis is fairly easy to diagnose using a guarded swab to obtain a prognosis, and increased treatment costs. sample from the uterus for culture. Based on growth endometritis can be diagnosed, as well as the causative microorganism and its sensitivity pattern If you would like to consult a veterinarian about equine endometritis please contact: Equine Health Studies Program , School of Veterinary Medicine Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803 | Telephone: (225)-578-9500


Stallion Issue 2016

Stallion Issue 2016



Stallion Issue 2016

New Foal? What should you do? Dr. Frank M. Andrews - LVMA Equine Committee Professor and Director Equine Health Studies Program | Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences School of Veterinary Medicine | Louisiana State University


Tips on Foal Care

1. Vaccinate the mare 30 days before foaling with a product containing tetanus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Western Equine Encephalitis, and West Nile Virus. The normal gestation length for mares averages 335-345 days from the breeding date. 2. Foals should take 15 to 30 minutes from the time the mare starts pushing. The normal foal presentation is similar to a diving position: both front feet should come first, with one foot slightly in front of the other and the soles facing down. The nose should be on top of the front limbs and the neck, shoulders, abdomen and hindquarters should then follow. If the foal presents in any other fashion (no head, only one foot, soles facing upward or tail first), then a veterinarian should be called immediately. Improperly positioned foals are a true emergency and require immediate attention if the foal is to have a chance of survival. 3. Once the foal is on the ground allow the mare and foal may lay there for 5 to 10 minutes. The umbilicus should stay attached so that the foal can get extra blood. Allow the mare and foal to bond before you enter the stall. The foal should stand within 1 hour and start nursing within 2 hours. Within 3 hours the foal should pass meconium (first feces) and urinate (the foal should generate a good urine stream). 4. The foal should nurse every 30 to 40 minutes and should be bright and interested in the surrounding environment. If the foal is lethargic, slow, or wanders around the stall without nursing, this may indicate a “dummy foal” and you should call your veterinarian. 5. Call your veterinarian once the mare and foal are stable tell him/her that you have a newborn foal and describe the foal’s behavior. Keep a record of the foaling activity, including length of time it took the mare to foal, and the timing of events above. Communicate this to your veterinarian. Make an appointment so that your veterinarian can check the foal and the placenta (don’t throw the placenta away) within 12 to 24 hours. 6. During the veterinary visit, blood will be drawn to check to see if the foal got adequate colostrum (first milk) and enough antibodies. The Snap® test is the preferred test for this. 7. Cleaning and dipping the navel in chlorhexidine (or a weak iodine) solution 2 to 3 times daily for the first 3-5 days of life is essential. Don’t use strong tincture of iodine (7%) as it will cauterize the navel and may lead to an abscess later. Check to make sure that the navel is dry and urine is not leaking out of the navel, a condition called “patent urachus”! If this should occur, call your veterinarian immediately. 8. The foal should suckle approximately 20 to 30 times daily and it should latch on to the tit and drink without interruption. If the foal nurses for a few seconds and then goes into the back of the stall or becomes colicky, then the foal may have gastric ulcers and will need to be evaluated by your veterinarian and treated. 9. Nibbling on hay and grain occurs at approximately 1-3 weeks of age. Your foal should be curious about the stall or paddock and frisky (at times). At approximately 1 month you can start the foal on creep-feeding. Consult foal creep-feeding instructions on the feed bag. 10. Turnout and exercise is important for foals and mares after foaling. Observe the mare and foal during the 1st turnout, to avoid injury and problems with dogs, wildlife or other horses. Observe your foal frequently during the first month of life and keep your veterinarian up to date on the foal’s progress. Enjoy your newborn foal and congratulations!

Stallion Issue 2016



OPELOUSAS, LA – Evangeline Downs 2016 Thoroughbred racing season will begin on Wednesday, April 6 and continue through Saturday, August 27. There will be 84 days of live racing run on a Wednesday through Saturday weekly schedule during the season. All horsemen interested in submitting a stall application to Evangeline Downs must do so by Friday, February 19. To obtain a stall application, horsemen can visit the website www.evdracing.com and click on the “Horsemen’s Info” tab at the top of the homepage. To contact Evangeline Downs directly, horsemen can call the racing office at 337-594-3000. The notable events on the Evangeline Downs Thoroughbred racing schedule include the $100,000 Evangeline Mile for 3-year-olds and up at one mile on the main track on Saturday, June 4 and Louisiana Legends night on Saturday, July 2, which will feature eight Louisiana-bred stakes race with purses totaling $775,000. The Evangeline Mile program will also include two other stakes races: the $60,000 Need for Speed Stakes for 3-year-olds and up at five furlongs on the turf and the $70,000 Lafayette Stakes for Louisiana-bred 3-year-olds at seven furlongs on the main track. Louisiana Legends Night, a celebration of the Louisiana-bred Thoroughbred, is highlighted by the $125,000 Classic for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles on the main track. There will also be six stakes races with purses of $100,000 on Legends Night: the Distaff for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles on the main track, the Sprint for 3-year-olds and up at 5 ½ furlongs on the main track, the Mademoiselle for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up at 5 ½ furlongs on the main track, the Turf for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 on the turf, the Cheval for 3-year-olds at one mile on the turf, and the Soiree for 3-year-old fillies at one mile on the turf. There will also be the $50,000 Starter for 3-yearolds and up at 1 1/16 on the main track. First post time for each live racing night at Evangeline Downs for the 2016 Thoroughbred season will be 5:50 pm Central Time. For more information on the 2016 Thoroughbred season at Evangeline Downs, visit the track’s website at www.evdracing.com.


Stallion Issue 2016

Stallion Issue 2016


Florida Parishes - 2016 Event Schedule Saturday, February 19 NBHA LA 06 Barrel Race


Friday, February 20 Finally Friday 4D Barrel Race

Stallion Issue 2016

Page Sponsored By LSU School Of Veterinary Medicine

Stallion Issue 2016



Stallion Issue 2016

Stallion Issue 2016


Proper Broodmare Nutrition

Tina M. Anderson, PhD Equine Specialist | Purina Animal Nutrition

Broodmares have specific nutritional requirements that differ from other classes of horses. There are differences both in the amount of feed mares need and the nutrient concentration needed in that feed. Throughout the year the broodmare goes through three different phases, each with a different nutritional demand. She is either in early gestation, late gestation or lactation. To keep this cycle going consistently requires that the mare receive the proper health care and nutrition. Given the time of year, let’s focus on that early and late gestating mare. Body Condition Affects Reproductive Performance Research has demonstrated that the reproductive performance of non-lactating mares is best when they are maintained at a condition score of 5 or higher. Establishing and maintaining pregnancy becomes increasingly more difficult when the body condition score of mares drops below this level. It is difficult for a mare to gain weight during lactation. She simply cannot eat enough. Most mares will experience a small to moderate weight loss during lactation. To ensure mares are at a condition score of 5 or more at the time of rebreeding, they should foal at a condition score of more than 6. This degree of body fatness should be established during the first eight months of pregnancy, since digestive capacity is considerably reduced during the last trimester. Research has also shown that obesity (condition score 9) is not detrimental to reproductive performance and does not increase foaling difficulty. This degree of body fatness, however, severely limits a horse’s performance capability and is considered unhealthy. Body condition may be the single largest factor affecting the reproductive performance of mares. Mares maintained in moderate to fleshy condition cycle earlier in the year, require fewer cycles per conception, have a higher pregnancy rate and are more likely to maintain pregnancies than are thin mares. Because of the subjective nature of terminology such as “fleshy”, “good condition”, etc., researchers developed a numeric scoring system to objectively identify the body condition of a mare. Using this system, research has determined that a condition score of less than 5 in lactating mares indicates that they may not have enough stored body fat to support efficient reproductive performance. Those mares are more likely to skip a breeding season than are mares with a condition score of 6 or more. This is especially prevalent in mares that are 15 years of age or greater. Reproductive performance often can be improved in thin mares when they are fed to gain weight. However, putting weight on a thin mare, particularly during lactation can be costly and dangerous due to the high levels of feed intake required to achieve gain. While no foaling difficulties have been shown in mares in obese condition, there are no reproductive advantages to keeping mares in condition scores of 8 or 9. Therefore, scores of 5.5 to 7.5 represent the optimum. Management of body condition should be supported by careful selection of feedstuffs and accurate ration formulation, because this is an important step in promoting normal foal growth (see Body Condition Scoring Chart). Total Feed Intake Total daily feed intake by mares (hay plus concentrate) normally ranges from 1.5 percent to 3.0 percent of body weight, with 2 percent serving as an average. Actual daily feed intake depends on the type and quality of hay or grazing and on the crude fiber level and energy density of the concentrate. As the fiber level increases and energy density decreases, the amount of feed required to meet energy demands will increase. However, as forage quality decreases, voluntary intake often decreases as well. This can present a problem in providing enough energy to maintain the desired body condition. This is common this time of year as pastures freeze and become less available. Furthermore, daily feed intake can vary between individuals. Feed intake may have to be increased for hard keepers or heavy milkers, and decreased for other mares who are easier keepers. It is also good to keep in mind that pregnant mares may seem “heavy”, but when handling


their ribs it may appear they lack proper body condition. Early and Mid-gestation A non-lactating, pregnant mare in the first 8 months of gestation has nutrient requirements very similar to those of any mature, idle horse. The developing foal gains only 0.2 pounds/day during this time and does not present a significant nutritional demand on the mare. It is usually considered sufficient simply to meet the mare’s nutrient requirements for maintenance. This may be accomplished with free choice grazing of quality pasture. In this situation, mares may consume as much as 3 percent of their body weight, which can meet their needs for protein and energy during this stage. However, mineral requirements may not be met, particularly in mineral deficient pastures. Therefore, supplemental minerals will be necessary. This may be accomplished with a free-choice loose mineral or a mineral block for horses. A trace mineralized salt block will not provide sufficient mineral to meet requirements, therefore it is recommended that a free-choice mineral and a salt block be provided at this time. High quality hays can also be excellent for maintaining dry, pregnant mares in the early stages of pregnancy. As an average, mares will require around 2 percent of their body weight in high quality hay if no supplemental grain is used. Grazing and/or hay will usually maintain a mare that is already in acceptable body condition, but often will not put sufficient weight on mares that are in marginal condition. When pasture or hay quality declines, or is not available in adequate amounts, mares will need supplemental concentrate to maintain body weight and condition. A quality concentrate fed at .5 to .75 percent of body weight will help keep mares in good shape. Late Pregnancy As a mare enters the last 3 to 4 months of pregnancy, nutrient requirements increase, as the unborn foal is growing more rapidly; averaging 1 pound/day. During this time the intake of protein, energy, vitamins and minerals needs to be increased. Even in situations where forage is sufficiently maintaining mares in acceptable condition, it is important that they receive quality concentrate supplementation. While forage may be able to provide sufficient calories to maintain the body condition of the mare, other nutrients, particularly protein and minerals, will be inadequate. Research has shown that foal birth weight can be adversely affected when mares do not receive adequate protein during late gestation, even when the mares maintain a condition score of 5.5 to 7.5. Therefore, simply having mares in good condition during late gestation does not guarantee proper foal development. It is during the tenth month that the greatest amount of mineral retention occurs in the unborn foal. In addition to this, mares’ milk is practically devoid of trace minerals, such as copper, that are essential for proper bone development. Therefore, adequate mineral nutrition of the mare is critical for normal fetal development and to provide sufficient minerals for the foal to be born with stores of these nutrients to draw upon after birth. A supplemental feeding program that provides a good protein, vitamin and mineral balance is necessary to properly support the growth and development of the foal. Diets containing added fats or oils can be used to help mares in unsatisfactory condition gain the desired weight. The advantage of feeding these diets is that body condition can be improved without having to feed excessive amounts of concentrate, since the higher fat diets tend to have a higher digestible energy level. If there is a take home message to this topic, it is that it is too late to help the development of the foal through nutrition once it hits the ground. Proper foal development starts in utero. A supplemental feeding program that provides a good protein, vitamin and mineral balance is necessary to properly support the growth and development of the foal, particularly in late gestation.

Stallion Issue 2016

Stallion Issue 2016



Stallion Issue 2016

The LQHBA Insider is a monthly feature written by Martha Claussen for www.lqhba.com. She served as publicity director at Sam Houston Race Park for ten years. She continues to be active in writing, fan education and Quarter Horse racing publicity in Texas, Louisiana and other regions in North America.


Fast Prize Jordan, Heza Fast Dash, Furyofthewind and Toast To Dash. New acquisitions for 2016 include Open Me A Corona, winner of six stakes this year and likely 2015 AQHA Champion Stallion and All American Derby winner, Apollitical Blood, who will be in strong contention for AQHA Champion 3-year-old honors. Robicheaux beat out a slew of competing breeding farms for Apollitical Blood. “His trainer Juan Aleman is a great guy and introduced me to the owners (Rancho El Cabresto Inc.),” explained Robicheaux. “I made several trips to Dallas and could feel the others breathing down my neck, but I was persistent. He will be a great addition to our stallion roster.” Robicheaux expects between 700 to 800 mares for the upcoming breeding season and knows he and his staff of 14 will produce many exceptional future racehorses. “I love breeding and finding the right cross for each mare with our stallions,” he states.

LQHBA Insider

Spend just a few minutes with Louisiana horseman Ryan Robicheaux and you will invariably ask the question ‘have I just met the human version of the Energizer bunny’? Robicheaux, 35, is the farm and breeding manager of Robicheaux Ranch, a 100 acre property in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. He and his parents, Jude and Regina, have amassed a well-deserved reputation over the past 16 years as one of the state’s finest breeding farms. The family’s roots were in show horses. Ryan began his lifelong love of horses at the age of 9, showing in 4-H halter competition. He continued to participate through high school, with many state titles and even placing in the World Show. “As much as I like the horse show business, there is no way to make a living,” said Robicheaux. “With the great breeding incentives in Louisiana, we knew we had to take our operation into a different direction.” They began to build an impressive stallion roster, beginning with Game Patriot, Five Bar Cartel,Jet Black Patriot,

The key to keeping his stallions in peak condition is treating them each as individuals. “We feed three times a day and jog them, turn them out and do whatever it takes to keep them happy,” said Robicheaux. Game Patriot, at 18, is still fit. We change up the routine and that seems to work.” According to AQHA statistics, two of the Robicheaux Ranch stallions are in the top ten as sires of winners. Heza Fast Dash is fourth with 99 winners in 2015 and Jet Black Patriot is ninth, with his progeny winning 73 races in 2015. Showing Horses Set the Standard Robicheaux Ranch has a high standard when it comes to sale prepping their horses. The way a horse looked in the show ring was essential in that world and continues for each sale consignee. So as sale time approaches, Jude and Ryan have established a valuable evaluation process, some call it a ritual, to readying the Robicheaux yearlings. “They set aside time on Saturdays and judge the yearlings,” explains Regina. “The boys parade out each baby and Ryan and Jude look them over and decide what needs to be done.” Whether it be adding or cutting back on feed, more jogging or swimming or other fine tuning, the father and son work in tandem to ensure that each horse

looks their best come sale time. Their biggest consignment is for the LQHBA Yearling Sale with over 100 yearlings headed to Kinder, Louisiana each August, but Robicheaux Ranch continues to expand to other states. “We’ll send horses to the Heritage Place Sale, Ruidoso and the TQHA sale, and maybe more in the near future,” said Robicheaux. “We want to bring our farm to a national level.” New Owners Attracting new owners to racing is important to Robicheaux. He and Jude put together an eight person ownership group named We All In Racing, LLC. They paid $22,000 for Micmac Warrior at the 2014 LQHBA Yearling Sale. With Trey Ellis training the son of Heza Fast Dash, Micmac Warrior bloomed at Fair Grounds in August, posting the fastest qualifying time to the LQHBA Sale Futurity and running second to Telarosa in the September 5 final. “Getting new owners is important; there’s no better feeling than watching your horse win,” states Robicheaux. “Once you taste it, you’ve got to have it again!” Ellis is an up and coming trainer in Louisiana and is grateful for the opportunity to know and work with Robicheaux. “I have learned so much about the business side of racing from Ryan,” said Ellis. “He and his parents run a first-class operation, and their attention to detail is amazing. Ryan works non-stop, but is a true family man and as loyal and down-to-earth as they come.” Service to LQHBA Ryan has served on the LQHBA Board of Directors since 2011. He cites a strong need to contribute, in any way possible, to grow the industry. “Louisiana Quarter Horse racing is great right now,” states Robicheaux. “No doubt about that, but we cannot afford to be complacent. Getting the purse for the LQHBA Breeders Futurity to one million dollars was huge for us; we have to keep things moving forward.” Tony Patterson, executive director of the Louisiana Quarter Horse Breeders Association, has tremendous appreciation for the time and positive energy Robicheaux gives to helping the industry. Continue on page 31...

Stallion Issue 2016



Stallion Issue 2016

Continue on page 29... RYAN ROBICHEAUX: TAKING LOUISIANA BREEDING TO THE NEXT LEVEL “Ryan has served this association in more ways than most people realize,” said Patterson. “He and his family have one of the most successful breeding farms in the country, but Ryan won’t slow down until Louisiana racing and breeding becomes a national industry leader!” Positive in Life in Addition to Racing You will rarely see Robicheaux without a smile on his face and his energy is contagious! Regina Robicheaux relates that, since childhood, her son has always possessed exceptional social skills. “Even as a child, Ryan was always very friendly and outgoing,” said Regina. “He treated kids and grownups with respect. Even in grade school, he told me that he chose to be friendly with everyone you because you’ll never know when you will need them!” His wife of 11 years, Danielle, hails from a racing family. Her parents are Rebecca and Danny Trahan, and Ryan met her at a horse sale 18 years ago. They have three adorable daughters, Rhylan, Rheese and Rhayli, and each have their daddy wrapped around their little finger. A recent December afternoon had Danielle off with the girls in dancing, soccer and other activities. Oldest daughter, Rhylan recently became involved in 4-H, but instead of horses, she decided she wanted to show pigs. So, where was Ryan? “I am walking my daughter’s 4-H pig,” Ryan admitted. Recruiting, breeding, yearling sales, serving the industry, pigs and even more. His friend Trey Ellis mentions Robicheaux’s love of football as the lone diversion to his family and horses. “He’s like Nick Saban,” states Ellis. “He won’t stop recruiting and trying to be the best.”

Stallion Issue 2016



Stallion Issue 2016

Stallion Issue 2016


Equine Health

By Neely

Neely Walker, PhD: LSU Ag Center | Equine Extension Specialist

Preparing Stallions for Breeding Season • Sexual Behavior- some stallions may have an aversion to displaying natural breeding behavior based on previous training. For example, stallions that are used as performance animals and show are expected to behave and not display breeding behavior. The training used to teach them to control this natural behavior may create difficulties in the breeding shed. During a breeding soundness exam, a stallion should have immediate interest and interaction with a mare in heat, should obtain an erection within 2 minutes, display a readiness to mount within 5-10 seconds following erection, and should ejaculate on first mount. The total breeding time should not take longer than 5 minutes. A young stallion or a one who does not display normal breeding behavior may need additional training by an experienced • Reproductive History- needs to be complete in order to avoid handler. inaccuracies. The following information should be collected; age, present numbers of mares covered including their pregnancy rate, • Semen Evaluation- specialized equipment is used to evaluate the foaling rate, or infection. Data from previous evaluations, lameness, volume, concentration, motility and morphology of a semen sample. illness, fertility issues, current medications, health status, and The color and consistency of the sample along with contents such as intended method of breeding. debris, urine, or blood. This evaluation determines the number of viable sperm cells available which indicates the number of mares a • Physical Exam- while a breeding soundness exam mainly focuses stallion can breed per collection. In special circumstances additional on the reproductive health of stallions, the general health of the testing to rule out any reproductive dysfunction may be needed. animal should not be overlooked. It is important to positively identify the stallion to prevent legal complications, then focus on While a breeding soundness exam can give stallion owners an the body condition score of the animal. Attention should be paid to indication of potential reproductive soundness, it does not measure any abnormality (physical or genetic) that may inhibit the animal’s fertility. In order to “pass” a breeding soundness exam, a stallion’s ability to mate successfully without passing on negative heritable second ejaculate, that is collected one hour after the first must contain at least “1 billion progressively motile, morphologically normal conditions, including lameness or back pain. spermatozoa.” Advanced breeding technologies exist to help extend • Reproductive Genitalia Exam- an evaluation on the reproductive the breeding career of stallions. Therefore, managing your stallion’s anatomy is also important. The stallion’s penis, sheath, testes and overall health and reproductive soundness with your veterinarian epididymis should be anatomically correct, functional and free from can extend its overall career and impact on the equine industry. injury or disease. Size, shape and consistency of the testes and epididymis should be noted. A veterinarian may choose to use a set References: of calipers or an ultrasound to determine the overall volume of each 1. Squires, E. 2015. A Stallion Breeding Soundness Exam. SRS testicle, which is a valuable measurement that helps determine the Breeders Blog. 2. Samper, J.C. 2009. Equine Breeding Management and Artificial stallion’s daily sperm output. Insemination. 2nd Edition 3. Bedford-Guaus, S.J. 2014. Breeding Soundness Examiniation of Stallions. The Merck Veterinary Manual. A breeding soundness exam is a useful tool that stallion owners and managers can use to evaluate the reproductive status of their stallion. The objective of a breeding soundness exam (BSE) is to determine if a stallion has the mental and physical ability to produce viable offspring without spreading infectious disease. While this type of evaluation is critical to determine the number of mares a stallion can successfully cover in a given year, most often this step is overlooked until there is a problem. While the specifics of a BSE may vary between veterinarians, each evaluation should include:


Stallion Issue 2016

Stallion Issue 2016


Nutraceuticals for the Enhancement of Stallion Fertility Understanding the Importance of Omega 3 Fatty Acids Introduction Over the years, horsemen have been supplementing their animals’ diets with various products in an attempt to enhance performance and overall well being. Most of these products have been geared toward improving stamina, hair coat, joint function and hoof growth. Historically, supplements touted to improve the breeding performance of stallions have not proven to be efficacious. Recently however, supplements have become available that show real promise in this regard. Omega 3 / Omega 6 / Omega 9 - Fatty Acids Semen from virtually all species examined contains relatively large amounts of lipid, which plays a major role in motion characteristics, sensitivity to cold shock and fertilizing capacity of sperm. In particular, Omega-3 fatty acids and Omega-6 fatty acids are the major fatty acids in semen. Sperm have a high lipid (fat) content. Polyunsaturated fatty acids are very important in the human diet and similarly this is true in horses. Omega 3 and Omega 6 are polyunsaturated fatty acids. Nature’s Omega 3 levels peak in grass from March to May, coinciding with the breeding season. Supplementing Omega 3 has a positive effect on fertility markers, increasing both daily sperm output and the number of normal sperm in the ejaculate. Significant improvement is seen in post – thaw semen and in stallions who had suboptimal fertility rates 1. Understanding Fats To understand how fats affect health, we must begin by realizing that fats have two sides. There are fats that kill, which we should avoid, and then there are fats that heal. Both of these fats are obtained through our food, so what is the difference and how do we know what we are getting? To put this question into one sentence, Omega 6 can kill / Omega 3 can heal. The goal is to keep these Fatty Acids as balanced as possible in order to obtain maximum health. 2. What are the functions of essential fatty acids? Essential fatty acids have many functions throughout the body. They are involved in:


• Energy Production. Athletes exercise longer before reaching exhaustion, recover more quickly from fatigue, exercise more often without over-training, heal quicker from injuries, build muscle faster and experience less joint pain. Energy improvement is also seen in non-athletes.

• Brain Function. Consistent improvements in brain function, and research with EFAs from other sources has also shown brain benefits. Among these are elevated mood, lifted depression, increased calmness, better handling of stress, less hyperactivity, better focus, better mental processing, faster learning, increased intelligence, better concentration, and improved motor coordination. • Vision. EFAs are also required for good vision. • Skin, Hair, and Nails. EFAs are required for healthy skin and hair, and are for normal nail growth. They moisturize skin and prevent dryness. • Cancer. Omega 3 EFAs lower cancer risk. • Cardiovascular Disease (CVD). Omega 3’s can decrease most CVD risk factors, including high triglycerides (blood fats), blood pressure, platelet stickiness, fibrinogen, and lipoprotein(a). Omega 3 also keeps the inside of arteries smooth. Omega 3 and Omega 6 keep the heart beat regular. • Diabetes. EFAs are required for insulin function. • Weight Management. Shifts the body from burning glucose to burning fats. Sugar triggers increased fat production in the body. Starch can also lead to overweight. Feed with corn or molasses causes increases fat production. • Digestion. EFAs improve gut integrity, decrease gut inflammation, and decrease ‘leaky gut’ that can lead to allergies. • Allergies. EFAs reduce symptoms of allergies. • Inflammation. Omega 3 does reduce inflammation which helps reduce joint pain. • Autoimmune Conditions. Omega 3 does dampen the over-response of the immune system in autoimmune conditions.

• Injury. EFAs speed the healing of injuries. • Bone Minerals. Omega 3’s improve bone mineral retention, thereby inhibiting the development of osteoporosis and other bone / joint issues. • Stress. EFAs, by optimizing serotonin production, improve response to stress. Calmer feelings, getting stressed less easily, and jittery movement slows. • Sleep. EFAs improve sleep. • Hormones. EFAs improve hormone functions. Hormone levels may decrease, yet the effects of hormones remain normal. EFAs thereby ease the work load of glands. • Organs. EFAs are required for liver and kidney function. • Reproduction. EFAs are required for sperm formation, the female cycle, and pregnancy. 3. Proper Ratios for Omega 3 & 6 - What happens if ratios are not balanced? Too high a ratio of Omega 6 (i.e. Flax oil 4:1; Corn oil 54:1) to Omega 3 (Canola Oil) leads to deficiency with symptoms of deterioration that can harm all cells, tissues, glands, and organs. Too low a ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 increases the risk of cardiovascular, immune, autoimmune, diabetic and inflammatory disease, and leads to subintelligence, concentration, infertility, moodiness, and performance. The preferred balance is as close to neutral as possible; having lower Omega 6’s as compared to Omega 3’s By supplementing the amount of Omega 3/Omega 6/Omega 9 found in Canola Oil in equine diets the fertilizing capacity and semen quality naturally increases. Conversely, lower levels of Fatty Acids relative to DHA results in reduced fertility. Animals are unable to synthesize PUFAs (Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids) and must acquire them from precursor PUFAs in their diet. Vegetable oils, such as corn and soybean oil, found in most equine diets, contain high levels of linoleic acid (Omega 6), the parent compound of DPA. While the precursors for Omega-3 fatty acids, such as DHA, are very low. Since high Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratios in semen are associated with reduced sperm quality and fertility, typical equine diets could have a negative impact on quality of stallion semen and its tolerance to cooling and freezing. Continued on page 39...

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Stallion Issue 2016

Continued from page 36...

poorest semen quality. One test animal averaged a 469% improvement while the second test animal averaged a 273% improvement over initial collections at the start of the trial.

The use of only Non-GMO Canola oil which is the most neutral of all oils is recommended.

Overview of Company and Products • Developing Partners have been in Animal Nutritional Science for 45+ years • Clinical Testing of All Products – Massey University / Food Technology Center, New Zealand • All Products are manufactured from Human Grade raw materials under Stringent Quality Manufacturing Practices and under USDA and FDA Guidelines and have been subject to numerous government inspections • We use only Non-GMO Cold Pressed Canola Oil High in Omega 3 Fatty Acids (Good Fats); Low in Omega 6 Fatty Acids (Bad Fats) / The most neutral oil available – Ratio 6:3; Canola Oil is plant-based (Horses are Vegetarians!) • Chemistry/Synergy – The Overall benefit of palaMOUNTAINS Equine products is greater than the combined benefits of individual ingredients. Our products are All-In-One. You need no other supplementation. • Fat Soluble Vitamins A, D & E, Water Soluble Vitamins (B-Group), Antioxidants and Electrolytes all suspended in a liquid emulsion patented under a One-of-aKind International Patent Agreement. • Other ingredients (available in certain products) Glucosamine Sulfate; Chondroitin Sulfate; Creatine; Garlic; Brewer’s Yeast all supply needed elements depending on equine needs. • 99.5% Bio-available: According to the Physician’s Desk Reference, pills and powders are only capable of 10% - 20% bioavailability. Bio-availability provides transmission of nutrients to the cellular level. • Efficacy Preservation – Manufactured during a low-temperature process which preserves potency of vitamins and minerals

Nutraceuticals for the Enhancement of Stallion Fertility Understanding the Importance of Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Grain diets for horses are typically higher in omega-6 fatty acids. (Omega 6 does contribute unnecessarily to an increased occurrence of pain and inflammation.) It was thought that supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids might improve semen quality. A study at Texas A&M University was designed to test this idea. Stallions were fed typical grain diets plus a balanced Omega 6: Omega 3 supplement to boost omega-3 intake. Supplemented stallions showed a three-fold increase in semen levels of omega-3 fatty acids and an improved semen ratio of omega-3 to omega-6. The stallions’ rations were typical equine formulations containing corn and soybean oils so, even more dramatic improvements in semen quality is observed if the fat content of the stallion diets is modified and incorporated with a more balanced Omega 6:Omega 3 ratio such as is in Canola Oil. Omega-3 and Omega-6 compete for the same metabolic enzymes, therefore, a proper balance must be maintained. It is vital that equine owners and managers understand the correct Omega 6: Omega 3 ratio in any oil based supplement they might consider using. 4. Vitamins and Antioxidants are vital for sperm function Oxidation is an essential chemical reaction that allows the sperm to fertilize the egg. Excessive oxidation reduces fertility. Semen contains a variety of built in anti-oxidants. Studies comparing stallions with and without dietary anti-oxidants suggest that antioxidant requirements in stallions are higher than previously thought. Processing of semen in the non-thoroughbred industry increases the oxidative challenges that semen is exposed to. Vitamin E and Selenium are the main antioxidants needed in the diet. Supplementing with Vitamin E has shown increased daily sperm output, sperm concentration and progressive motility in humans and rats. In humans low Vitamin E is linked to low libido. This appears to be true too in horses. Anecdotally low Vitamin E levels in some feeds have been associated with stallions taking several attempts at a dummy or a mare and being slow to perform. (Vitamin E is much lower in hay than in grass). Use of supplementation protocol to provide the recommended dosage of the daily requirement of Vitamin E and Selenium for busy stallions is essential. Selenium is a key nutrient in supporting the actions of Vitamin E. Vitamin E and Selenium also have a significant role in muscle health and maintaining the muscles of the upper hind limb and the back that a stallion so depends on in order to function. Conclusions – It is clear that dietary alterations can have an effect on semen quality and in some cases, fertility. Controlled studies in stallions are few, but those investigating fatty acids, in particular Omega-3 fatty acids such as in Canola Oil, have shown real potential. Stallions of marginal fertility and those whose sperm have poor tolerance to cooling and freezing would be horses that might benefit most from being fed dietary supplements. The Nutritional Science of palaMOUNTAINS® Equine Products Clinical Studies done for palaMOUNTAINS® Corporate Offices in New Zealand at the Center for Veterinary Sciences in Palmerston North, and carried out at the Tararua Breeding Center demonstrated overall positive benefits of the palaMOUNTAINS® Equine formulations on sperm production in large breeding animals. In all of these studies, the improvements were most noticeable for large animals that initially had

Other Key Facts: 1. Assists Digestive Efficiency / Increased Appetite / Palatable (Finicky Eaters) 2. Provides Quick Re-Hydration for Work Recovery / Energy Output & Production 3. Supports Ulcer Protection / Studies by Dr. Ken Reed, Louisiana confirm such. 4. Provides Joint Support & Anti-Inflammatory 5. Assists Normal Growth & Development in mares and foals 6. Quiets Temperaments / Moodiness / Stress under travel 7. Supports Immune Systems 8. Supports Healthy Skin & Coat 9. Supports Semen Production / Increases Fertility in Stallions and Mares 10. Affordable / Long Shelf Life / At Maintenance Dose - $1.30 per day REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING 1. Asai. Y.; Matsui, A.; Kawai, M.; et al. Digestible energy expenditure in grazing activity of growing horses. Equine Veterinary Journal, Supplement 30, 490-492, 1999. Crowell-Davis, S.L.; Houpt, K.A.; Carnevale, J. Feeding and drinking behavior of mares and foals with free access to pasture and water. Journal of Animal Science, 60, 883-889, 1985. Gallagher, J.R. The potential of pasture to supply the nutritional requirements of grazing horses. Australian Veterinary Journal, 73, 67-78, 1988. Hoffman, R.M.; Wilson, J.A.; Kronfeld, D.S.; et al. Hydrolyzable carbohydrates in pasture, hay, and horse feeds: direct assay and seasonal variation. Journal of Animal Science 79: 500-506. Ohmura, H.; Hiraga, A.; Matsui, A.; et al. Physiological responses of young Thoroughbreds during their first year of race training. Equine Veterinary Journal Supplement 34: 140-146, 2002. Matthew Burd, M.S., D.V.M. The Horse.com Clinical Studies – Massey University Food Technology Center, Palmerston North, New Zealand – www.palamountains.net

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Stallion Issue 2016

Stallion Issue 2016


Richard Shultz Does Due Diligence By Barbara Newtown

Although Richard Shultz lives in Florida, he stands his Thoroughbred stallion Big Band Sound at Gulf Coast Equine in Sunset, Louisiana. He credits the generous Louisiana breeders’ incentives for that decision. Shultz says that Louisiana breeding has come a long way in the past ten years: now it is very competitive and the outlook is excellent. Kentucky can boast big prices and elegant traditions, but Shultz would advise a newcomer to Thoroughbred breeding to examine the evidence: “Watch what sort of stallions are being attracted to which locales. You get an insight into where the economic potential lies.” Shultz says, “Florida may have lost 50 per cent of the racehorse population that we had here twenty years ago. Of course, in the winter months the national horses move to south Florida to race, as well as to California and to the Fair Grounds in New Orleans.” When it’s cold up north, the racing in those places is “major league.” But Florida no longer has the edge of a vibrant, year-round racing/ breeding scene. When the breeders’ incentive program was written in Florida, it was designed to boost Florida racing, but it did not increase the quality. “If you breed a horse in Florida that wins the Kentucky Derby, you don’t get anything,” Shultz says. There is little incentive to breed superior animals and to create demand for Florida horses in other states. Shultz has been breeding Thoroughbreds since 1989. He keeps three to five broodmares and boards them in Kentucky and, of course, Louisiana. He is much more than a check-writing owner: he estimates that he spends four or five hours a day on the computer studying race records and pedigrees. He pays special attention to mare lines. “There are exceptional, deep mare lines that reproduce themselves to a high degree and determine maximum success,” Shultz says. His research led him to breed three mares to Bernstein, an American-bred that had been sold and taken to Europe. He was a two-year-old champion in Ireland. When Bernstein retired to stud, Shultz sensed an opportunity: the horse’s original stud fee didn’t reflect the quality of his pedigree or his conformation, because American breeders hadn’t paid much attention to the horse’s career. Aspects of Bernstein’s pedigree meshed well with three of Shultz’s mares. “I don’t mean to say that Bernstein and the mares were from the same families. But there were certain dynamics and shapes within those pedigrees… Bernstein jumped right out at me as the horse I wanted to breed my mares to,” Shultz says. Continued on page 43...


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Richard Shultz Does Due Diligence By Barbara Newtown The three mares had three colts. Normally Shultz likes to race the fillies and sell the colts, but he trained his three Bernsteins as a group. Each went on to success. Make Music for Me earned $564,000 and was fourth in the Kentucky Derby; Major Marvel earned over $800,000 (his earnings only show $699,000, because one of his races was in Barbados and didn’t qualify for inclusion in the pedigree); and Big Band Sound made $402,000. Why did Shultz keep Big Band Sound and sell the other two? “Big Band Sound was clearly the most talented. He was a Grade 2 winner and was on the board in four or five of the toughest stakes races in Toronto. The competition was really steep, including Horse of the Year Wise Dan who came for a million-dollar race.” And the quality of Big Band Sound’s maternal family is deep. “His first four dams were all bred by the Phipps family in Kentucky, and I think it’s well known in the industry that they developed and own the greatest collection of broodmares that this sport has ever seen.”

decision in high school that he would leave the area. Jobs just weren’t available. “A lot of people get trapped in a location because of family matters or health reasons… There is an incredibly high percentage of people in my old hometown that have to receive government assistance,” says Shultz. He tried college for almost six weeks, but it was not for him. He served four years in the Marine Corps and learned some essential lessons that many college graduates never grasp: “I learned to work as part of a team. I learned to trust the people on my team and I made sure I was trustworthy for them. The formula I learned in the Marine Corps was always to get connected to people smarter than I was, who were hard workers and dependable. I learned to develop a network. I’ve always put a premium on bringing on board the best people that I could find, and then getting out of their way so that they could do their job.” The Marine Corps, says Shultz, teaches its lessons well. “You take your responsibilities seriously, because, if you fail, many will suffer.” Shultz believes that our nation needs some kind of compulsory military service, which can create good citizens and future leaders. While on leave, Shultz went down to Fort Lauderdale to visit a friend. It was January and Shultz was astonished to see everyone running around in T-shirts. “I thought, ‘What kind of world is this?’ It certainly got my attention!” When his Marine Corps commitment ended, he moved to south Florida and took a job with a small loan company. He collected bad debts, usually at night in the worst part of town. He loved the work. After two tours in Vietnam, the collection job was like a vacation. However, he soon decided that he wanted to work in the finance side of real estate and get in on Florida’s booming economy.

When Shultz goes to an auction, he says that there are, of course, specifics of conformation that he considers. Efficient movement is extremely important. But he says that the most important factor for him is whether the horse looks like its lineage. “If I know what the sire and dam look like, I have sort of a fuzzy picture in my mind of what the offspring should look like. If he’s carrying the right traits, the fuzzy image becomes crystal clear. The horse should look like a good horse from those families.” Shultz’s business plan emphasizes the selling of broodmares. If his band reaches eight or nine mares (which can happen when several fillies retire from racing), he immediately reduces the herd to three or four. With the proceeds from those sales, he invests in one broodmare that is superior. It is entirely possible that a superior broodmare will be sold five years down the road, as the quality of the broodmare band keeps increasing. He starts planning in July which stallions his mares will go to in February or March of the next year. He points out that you don’t need to do time-consuming number-crunching to figure out that American Pharoah won the Triple Crown and might be a sire prospect. “Most of us can’t breed to a horse like that. The pricing of the stud fee is prohibitive. But if you are willing to analyze the data, there are profits to be made.” Popular, pricey stallions might look like a sure bet for siring saleable offspring, but often the foal price barely covers the stud fee. Shultz says that he is surprised that more people don’t take advantage of the wealth of data for study. “The thoroughbred industry has a tremendous quantity of information available to us. You can afford to spend time digging and analyzing.” Shultz did not follow the usual track to business success—college, MBA, and a climb up the ladder of corporate America. Although he started some small businesses at an early age, he readily admits that they generated only a small amount of money. “But—when you are young, even a small amount of money is pretty impressive!” He grew up in Batavia, in upstate New York, and made the

“I sat down and wrote out in longhand ten letters to ten different mortgage banking companies asking for the opportunity to interview for a job,” he says. Only one responded: Florida’s oldest and largest banking company, with offices all over the state. Normally the company hired graduates from the Ivy League or West Point or Annapolis, but the novelty of Shultz’s letter intrigued two executives at the local office and they invited him to interview for a position. Shultz told the bosses that he would work for nothing, because he would be learning from them and would not be contributing much of value. He said he would also pick up their dry cleaning and wash their cars and do anything else they could think of. “And I said the only thing I would ask of them in the way of compensation would be that the two bosses would always go to bat for me, based on what revenue and profits I could generate for the company,” says Shultz. The arrangement worked beautifully; they were great teachers and became great friends with Shultz. He worked for the company for seven or eight years, doing feasibility studies, appraisals, site selection, leasing, and capitalization studies for large building projects. He eventually moved on to start his own development company. When Shultz visited Ocala in 1989 to create a shopping center, he decided to retire there as soon as the job was done. Knowing that Ocala was a horse town was “the icing on the cake.” Continued on page 44...

Stallion Issue 2016


Continued from page 43...

Richard Shultz Does Due Diligence By Barbara Newtown

Shultz began refining his plan for breeding, racing, and selling Thoroughbreds. Retirement had to wait, however: the nineties and early 2000s were the go-go years for Florida real estate. Shultz and a partner started a home building business. “It was the right place at the right time,” he says. “But we eventually closed down our business because we felt like the dumbest guys on the block. We had groups bidding against us for land—wildly high prices that, we felt, economically couldn’t be sustained. We couldn’t find anything that worked with a sensible formula and we just chalked it up to being too old and too slow.” Shultz and his partner decided to let the younger and smarter people make the deals. They closed down their business in 2006. In hindsight that year was the peak of the market. Shultz says the final straw was the day that he got a call from a fireman who had visited the company’s website and wanted four houses of a certain model. The caller was certain that he could find four buyers who would pay him more money than he was paying Shultz. “I hung up the phone, walked over to my partner’s office, and said that the time had come to close it down. It was still a profitable business, but we couldn’t see that it was rational.” Shultz is rational about the horse business as well, but he still allows himself to use his intuition, whether it’s a case of a fuzzy impression becoming clear or a passion for a handsome individual. He rode when he could when he was growing up. He wanted to be a professional horseman even in snowy Batavia, where he got work as a groom at a Standardbred track. “Grooms were expected to jog the horses on the track each morning, except when the trainers took them out for serious work. One morning during training hours a horse dumped his jog cart and driver and started going the wrong way. Two of us couldn’t avoid the head-on. The wheels of the carts got tangled up and the carts catapulted everybody in every direction.” He still feels the effects of the accident. Sitting in a chair is bad enough, but sitting on a horse would be worse. Much as he would like to ride, he knows he shouldn’t… Above all, Richard Shultz is rational about this business of horses.


Stallion Issue 2016

Stallion Issue 2016



Stallion Issue 2016

Stallion Issue 2016


Louisiana Equine Report

Ph: 225-622-5747 | Email: mike@laequinereport.com | www.laequinereport.com

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