Frequently Asked Questions
At Hilltop Farm, we strive to make the breeding experience as easy as possible for you and your vet. Please contact us at any time with questions you may have.
May I come visit the stallions?
Definitely! We encourage breeders to come visit the stallions and offspring that may be at Hilltop Farm. Please note however that not all stallions are located at Hilltop or may reside here only during breeding season. We do ask that you call to schedule your visit to ensure we have staff available to show you around.
Can you help me with a stallion recommendation for my mare?
Hilltop Farm is committed to assisting our breeders in reaching their breeding goals. Our website, DVD, and Stallion Brochure are excellent starting points in your research, but we also enjoy connecting with you individually and learning more about your mare and breeding goals. Our Help Me Match My Mare form is a great starting place for us to provide you individualized feedback, but you are welcome to call or email at any time.
How do I secure a space in a stallion’s book for my mare?
In order to secure a space in a stallion’s book, a breeder must return a contract and applicable payment – either full payment for Per Dose semen or a minimum of the booking fee for a Live-Foal Contract. We cannot hold spaces in a stallion’s book without submission of a signed contract. It’s always a good practice to give us a call or send an email if you do not hear from us within a few days of submitting a contract to verify its receipt.
Where do I find a stallion’s breeding contract?
Each stallion’s contract(s) can be found on their respective stallion page. Under the green “Breeding Information” bar, you’ll find links for information on the Fees & Incentives, Breeding Forms, Shipping Guidelines, Mare Management, and Registration Information. Stallion contracts can be found under the “Breeding Forms” link, along with the Mare Breeding Passport.
Do you offer any discounts?
Hilltop offers numerous discounts, though many of stallions have restrictions on the types of discounts and maximum number of discounts. Please see your stallion’s contract for information on restrictions. Below is a comprehensive list of the each of the available discounts and their qualifications.
- Quality Mare Discounts – 10% discount for Premium, Elite Mare Candidate, or Ster Mares 15% discount for Elite or Keur Mares
- Exceptional Producing Mares – 10% Discount for Mares with 3 or more premium offspring; 3 or more inspection site champions; or 1 or more National Champion offspring or International level competitors.
- Performance Proven Mares – 10% discount for Performance Proven mares that have shown in Prix St. Georges dressage, Level 6 jumpers, Intermediate level eventing, or 3’6″ Hunters are eligible for a performance discount.
- Multiple Mare Discounts – 10% discount on multiple mares booked at the same time. Mares do not need to be booked to the same stallion. Contact Hilltop to discuss special discount for four or more mares.
- Return Breeders – 10% discount for all breeders who have previously bred to any stallion through Hilltop Farm.
- Early Booking – 10% discount for contracts returned prior to December 31st, of the upcoming breeding season.
What is a Mare Breeding Passport?
The Mare Breeding Passport is a form, provided by Hilltop and signed by your veterinarian, which supplies Hilltop with written confirmation of your mare’s insemination dates, pregnancy check dates, and pregnancy status. A Breeding Passport must be returned in order for a Breeding Certificate to be issued for the respective foal or for a breeder to receive a rebreed year on their contract. Return of a completed Mare Breeding Passport is a required by your breeding agreement. Click here to download a copy of the Mare Breeding Passport.
How do I get a Breeding Certificate to register my foal?
Breeding Certificates are emailed each winter to mare owners with mares confirmed in-foal to a Hilltop stallion. Breeders must return a Mare Breeding Passport to receive their mare’s Breeding Certificate, as the passport supplies all the necessary information for completion of the Breeding Certificate. Certificates may be held until accounts are settled with either Hilltop Farm or Select Breeders Services.
How do I request a semen shipment?
Instructions on how request a semen shipment can be found here. We’re happy to go over any questions you or your vet has about the collection notification schedule prior to the requesting semen. It is particularly important to be aware of our semen request deadlines and dates of availability for the stallion you’ve selected.
What does a dose of semen consist of?
Each breeding dose of cooled semen distributed by Hilltop Farm consists of at least 1 billion total sperm and at least 500 million progressively motile sperm per dose. While processing is individualized for each stallion, in general our doses have a minimum of a 3:1 dilution. We most commonly use an SMG extender with Timentin and volume per dose is typically 40-60ml.
Each dose of frozen semen distributed by Hilltop Farm meets the industry recommended minimum for frozen semen of at least 200 million progressively motile sperm/dose; though, most of our stallions well exceed this. On average, SBS freezes 800-100 million total sperm cells per dose, which results for most of the stallions in 300-400 progressively motile sperm. All semen shipped meets or exceeds 30% progressively motile sperm/dose. All of the stallions frozen by SBS, and almost all the stallions we import semen from, are frozen in .5ml straws. The number of ‘straws’ per dose will vary based on stallion and specific lot (typically the range is 3-8 straws/dose).
Hilltop Farm’s frozen semen has all gone through SBS’ Quality Control program. What does that mean?
To ensure the highest level of service for our breeders, Hilltop Farm has Select Breeders Services (SBS) perform quality control testing on all of the semen we represent. SBS is the largest provider of frozen semen services in the world. With unrivalled expertise accumulated over 25-years in the business they are recognized by breeders and veterinarians as the most trusted source of frozen semen in the industry.
SBS independently verifies post-thaw motility, velocity, and concentration of the frozen semen to ensure the semen meets their recommended minimum for commercial distribution of 30% post-thaw progressive motility. Based upon the results of post-thaw analysis by SBS, we can also ensure each dose includes the industry recommended minimum number of progressively motile sperm per dose, optimizing your chances of conception.
In addition to determination of sperm concentration and motility, bacterial cultures are performed to test for potential mare pathogens, either originating in the semen or from contamination that may have occurred during the semen collection or freezing process. Unfortunately it is not uncommon for us to find bacterial contamination in semen. SBS estimates that approximately 80% of the semen they test from Europe shows bacterial growth (as opposed to approximately 6% of the semen they freeze) and about half of the imported semen produces a heavy growth of bacteria. If the cultures show bacterial growth, we then submit samples to the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center for secondary culture and identification, to determine if it is a potential pathogen for the mare’s reproductive tract. Hilltop Farm and SBS will not distribute semen containing known mare pathogens. Semen containing bacteria not regarded as mare pathogens can be considered contaminants and will be shipped with a Contamination Notice providing your vet with information on the bacteria founds. If your veterinarian views your mare(s) as susceptible to uterine infection then post-insemination intra-uterine antibiotic therapy may be indicated.
Why are some frozen semen stallions available with a LFG and others by the dose?
Availability of each stallion is determined by the current inventory of frozen semen of the stallion. Our preference is to sell each stallion with a LFG contract, but we work closely with each individual stallion owner to plan the contract approach that best fits their stallion’s availability and meets the needs of our breeders. When our inventory on a particular stallion is very limited, offering a per dose option allows more breeders access to the stallion.
Do you keep fertility data on the stallions?
We do compile fertility data on each of the stallions we manage and that is one reason breeders are required to return the Mare Breeding Passport. Call us to discuss fertility details on the stallion that interests you.
What if I have an emergency question and your office is closed?
Hilltop Farm’s office hours are Monday-Friday 8:00am-4:00pm. After hours emergency voicemails should be left on extension 702. Your voicemail will be forwarded to the appropriate person and responded to as soon as possible.