Stallion Collection Fee - WWYD?

I bred my mare last year to a stallion in Canada. The first shipment of cooled semen was sent in a disposable container and arrived at my vet with only 20% motility. My mare was ovulating (and I was at work and unable to be reached) so my vet used it and told me that the odds weren’t good but the timing was perfect so maybe I’d get lucky.

My vet contacted the stallion owner and their response wasn’t at all what I expected. There was no concern shown that the semen arrived in what my vet considered non-viable condition. Their response (to me) was that when she was contacted by my vet “she went straight to the sample they kept back, put a drop on a pre-warmed slide, warmed the sample in the incubator at 38 degrees for 5 mins. When looked at, the sample was well over 50% PMS”. I expected some concern that something happened during shipping, complications at the border, I don’t know but certainly not, essentially, “not our fault”.

Not surprisingly, my mare wasn’t pregnant when ultrasounded. So we tried again. Did hormone shots and ultrasounded, the mare is due to ovulate so our vet calls the stallion owner for a shipment and has them send the semen in an Equitainer this time. The semen arrives at LESS than 20% motility. My vet is very good with years of experience but still had two other vets take a look because she wanted confirmation that the semen really was that bad since this was the second time this had happened. It was that bad. My vet called me at work and I told her to go ahead and use it since my mare was ovulating and this was all we had available.

I received my bill from the stallion owner (all this is by email or FB messenger) and it’s much higher than I anticipated. I was expecting it to be high, the Equitainer was a lot more to ship and had to be returned, but here’s the big one: I was charged a collection fee of $210.64. I was shocked. I don’t breed very often but know several stallion owners and the ones that I’ve dealt with have always been awesome! The stallion contract clearly reads “[Stallion owner] agrees to provide fresh cooled semen from [stallion] in viable condition at time of delivery to the shipping address provided on the Semen Request Form." When I inquired about the collection fee, I was told, “Once the semen leaves our control we cannot be held responsible for what happens to it.” I’m sorry, but the contract I signed states otherwise.

At the same time that this was happening we were making a very long distance move, the truck broke down on the way, etc. So I paid my bill, minus the collection fee, and moved on. We didn’t ultrasound the mare because the odds were so low that she was pregnant and she appeared to come in heat shortly after we got to our new place. The mare was on pasture in a mixed herd and appeared to be cycling normally since we got here. I had no plans of breeding until I got better facilities so I didn’t worry about it until, about a month ago, I did a double take on our fat mare. She still had a “hay belly” but she was looking a little ribby and just not quite right. You guessed it! Mare was pregnant! I vaccinated the mare, started feeding her better/extra, and waited. A few days ago we had a beautiful, healthy colt! I made the obligatory Facebook announcements and yesterday received an email from the stallion owner basically saying, “We told you it wasn’t our fault, now pay the collection fee”.

So. What would you do?

I know nothing about breeding and am not a lawyer. But you obviously have a contract. What does the contract say about collection fees? If the contract is silent on collection fees then I would think you didn’t agree to collection fees and would not be obligated to pay them. If the contract addressed the collection fees then you are obligated to pay whatever is spelled out and that you agreed to in the contract.

On the other hand for the $200 if the stallion owner can refuse to sign paperwork that would allow you to obtain breed papers then I would just pay it and move on. Some things are not worth the fight.


I would pay the collection fee.


You got a successful foal, I would pay it.


Isn’t the first collection generally included in the stud fee but if you require subsequent collections, you need to pay the collection fee each time? I’d guess this would be spelled out in your contract.


There are WBFSH industry standards for chilled semen-

“Chilled semen:
diluted/transported sperm dose :
minimum of 600 million progressively motile spermatozoa at time of portioning

  • maximum volume 40 cc (dilution 1:2)
  • insemination 24-36 hours after collection
  • storage conditions maintained
  • progressively motile spermatozoa at time of insemination no less than 35%
    All semen leaving the insemination center has to be treated as diluted/transport semen”

The first shipment of semen arrived at my vet with 20% motility, well below minimum industry standards. The contract reads:

“[Stallion owner] agrees to provide fresh cooled semen from [stallion] in viable condition at time of delivery to the shipping address provided on the Semen Request Form."

So I should just suck it up and pay for a collection fee on the replacement semen even though the initial shipment didn’t arrive in viable condition at my vet? I hate conflict and it’s probably not worth the ulcers that this is giving me but this just seems unethical.

Dutchmare433, the first collection fee was paid for with the stud fee but the semen shipped did not arrive at my vet in viable condition, per my vet, which their contract states that it will:

“[Stallion owner] agrees to provide fresh cooled semen from [stallion] in viable condition at time of delivery to the shipping address provided on the Semen Request Form."

I already paid a collection fee on the first shipment of non viable semen. They’re wanting me to pay a second collection fee for the replacement semen.

This also makes me wonder how many other mare owners are receiving non viable semen but are afraid to say anything and just pay their bill? If I would have known that post thaw motility was going to be 20% I certainly wouldn’t have chosen to breed to this stallion, there are too many other good stallions available. I have learned my lesson though, I’ll only be using stallions in the US from reputable breeders that I know! Breeding is risky and expensive but I at least like to stack the odds in my favor!

I do not breed and I am not a lawyer.

If it was me reading that contract (the parts you have quoted here) I would think the same way you do, @Miichelle .
You bought a product, they did not ship you what the contract says they will ship you, they should be providing you a new product to replace that product.


I would absolutely pay the fee.


You need to pay the fee and should have paid it to begin with. All stallions have a collection fee and unless the semen you are receiving is at 0 motility the stallion owner did their part (unless the contract explicitly states % of motility). Some semen looks terrible under the scope but does the job.


You need to specifically ask about progressive motility numbers. Again, we have used a particular Canadian stallion numerous times and his semen look horrid under the scope and we have always gotten a pregnancy.

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How was the 20% determine?

Either way, you pay the collection fee whether you have a foal or not. They still collected the stallion and shipped.


An eyeball, no matter how experienced, is not a CASA. Your vet’s 20 may be their 40. You got a foal and in the grand scheme of things a $200 collection is pretty reasonable. Pay the fee.


I want to know how you talked breeder into collecting and shipping without pre-payment? Anyone I work with is paid for rebreeds before the stallion leaves his stall. I would pay that bill ASAP.


Well this has been an eye opener. Obviously there are no industry standards that are adhered to in the breeding end of things. Ironically every person that I talked to outside of the horse world thought the contract looked pretty straight forward. The stallion owner sold a product, product did not meet industry minimum standard of 35% PTM, stallion owner replaces said product.

The foal resulted from the second shipment, which was a replacement for the first shipment of subpar semen. It all seemed pretty straight forward but apparently not.

Now I know what questions to ask of stallion owners in the future. I wrongly made the assumption that “viable semen” meant that it met minimum industry standards, not that it it wasn’t completely dead.

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Again - how was motility determined?


Question from someone clueless - Are their multiple ways to do this? I figured there was just one way.

Did the vet “eyeball” it and say what it was? Or was it run through a CASA machine.

More often than not, samples are eyeballed which is not accurate.


I had 25% motility on a recent shipment, so I feel your pain. I had spent $2500 on board, vet, and collection/shipping fees for the first cycle, and was very upset to have what several stallion owners told me was an unethically low motility level. I would have a lawyer read the contract if you are uncertain. A lot of what goes on in the horse industry is not how contract law always works (ie agency fees). Did the SO agree to send you the second shipment for free when they shipped it out?