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Supplementing the Stallion

Supplementing the Stallion
6 January 2022 | Foran Equine

The breeding stallion works hard throughout his reproductive life, starting early – some before they are even 3 years old – and, if successful, continuing well into his later years. The physicality of covering, expectations of multiple covers per day and travel can all take its toll. 

Fertility is one of the first things to be hit if a stallion isn’t receiving optimal nutrition. There are specific nutrients that are closely associated with the fertility and reproductive performance of stallions, so it is important to ensure that deficiencies are avoided. 

Supplementing the stallion

Sperm quality 

Equine sperm cells have a remarkably high concentration of polyunsaturated fatty acids in their plasma membrane; as much as 30% more than other species. Changes to the fat concentration of the stallion’s diet has been shown to affect the quality of sperm produced. Increased levels of omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to improve the overall number and quality of sperm in stallions with poor fertility. It is possible to satisfy a stallion’s requirements for omega-3s through grass alone, but busy stallions often have reduced access to pasture, so provision of additional sources of omega-3 can be beneficial. 

One consequence of this higher concentration of polyunsaturated fatty acids is increased vulnerability of equine sperm cells to a process called lipid peroxidation. This process is a type of oxidative stress elicited by particles called free radicals and can cause cellular damage. The damage can even extend to the DNA of the sperm cells, potentially impacting any resultant embryo.  

Free radicals are a by-product of all cellular processes. As equine sperm cells are highly motile, their rate of metabolism (and energy requirement) is high, generating higher levels of free radicals, further elevating their vulnerability to oxidative stress. It is the role of antioxidants to neutralise free radicals, making these compounds extremely important to the reproductive health of stallions. 

Physical and mental demands 

Covering a mare is a highly physical exercise, requiring high levels of energy and putting strain on the hindleg joints particularly – especially when delivering multiple covers per day. Add to this the rigours of travel, as is often the case for many performance horses, and it is easy to appreciate how stallions can start show signs of fatigue and even reluctance, at the peak of their breeding season. 

The constant change in environment and stimulation can also make some stallions quite highly strung, affecting his welfare, increasing his risk of injury or less successful coverings. 

Appreciating the demands on a stallion like this can help in tailoring his diet to support all aspects of his work, which can include supplementation to eliminate the chance of deficiencies affecting reproductive performance. 

Supplementing the stallion

For-Repro Stallion delivers the most bioavailable form of powerful the antioxidant CoQ10; ubiquinol, for sperm quality. This molecule is also required to produce cellular energy – especially important for sperm motility. Vitamin E and selenium are also included to further combat damaging oxidative stress known to have a detrimental effect on spermatozoa. Whilst added L-lysine, an essential amino acid, maximises muscle function and recovery. 

Kentucky Karron Oil provides a rich, superior quality source of omega-3 fatty acids in a highly bioavailable format. This highly palatable form of emulsified linseed oil provides its own energy boost, while also encouraging optimal feed intake thanks to its highly palatable formulation.  

Containing glucosamine, a key component of cartilage, MSM for joint and ligament health and marine collagen as a source of calcium, chondroitin sulphate and hyaluronic acid, Ost-O-flex is highly effective for supporting mobility and joint function in breeding stallions. 

With a combination of calming essential amino acids, neurotransmitters, vitamins and magnesium, Nutri-Calm naturally supports the breeding stallion in staying focused throughout his breeding season. For rapid, targeted support (e.g. before travel), Nutri-Calm Gel is ideally formulated into a convenient oral syringe.    

For more advice on feeding and supplementation for stallions, speak to one of our advisers