In May 2015, Rainbow Equine Hospital started a joint venture with Equine Reproductive Services (UK), also of Malton, to form the Equine Fertility Unit. This collaboration between the 2 practices provides owners and breeders with superb purpose built facilities and the very best in equine fertility expertise.

The fertility unit is a purpose built facility featuring 23 spacious stables, 2 foaling boxes, 24-hour CCTV monitoring, a large rubber floored examination area with mare stocks for safe gynaecological examinations. We utilise state of the art foaling alarms with wireless technology allowing mares to be monitored closely without disturbance. The unit also has several individual post and railed paddocks for safe turn out and grazing for your mare and foal.

The unit is also situated less than 100 yards from the Rainbow Equine Hospital ensuring unrivalled access to the hospital facilities and expertise should any horse in the unit require more intensive medical or surgical intervention; a vet on-site 24/7, 365 days per year. The on-site state-of-the-art laboratory at Rainbow also facilitates the breeding process.

The Team

The dedicated team of Equine Fertility experts brings together over 50 years of collective Fertility experience. A truly bespoke approach to each case will provide superior care for the horse and tailored support for the client.

The team includes equine reproduction and stud medicine experts James Crabtree BVM&S Cert EM(Stud Med) MRCVS and Charles Cooke BSc(Hons) BVetMed Cert(Stud Medicine) MRCVS from RERS and Brian Reed BVMS CertEP MRCVS from Rainbow Equine Hospital. The team are also supported by surgical and medical specialists in the Rainbow Equine Hospital referral team.

James and Charles each have 15 years’ of round the world experience practicing in the UK, Australia & New Zealand in addition to which James has 5 years as an honorary lecturer of Postgraduate studies in Stud Medicine at the University of Liverpool. Brian Reed works in all areas of equine practice but has a long-standing interest in equine reproduction and has a certificate In advanced veterinary practice.

As thought leaders in equine reproduction, the team lectures regularly on the national and international stage and writes and publishes on a variety of subjects from breeding soundness examinations for stallions and bent legs in foals to embryo transfer & freezing.


Artificial Insemination with Fresh, Chilled & Frozen Semen

Our vast experience is used to advise our clients on the most appropriate method to achieve optimal pregnancy rates. Competitive AI veterinary schemes are available (please enquire for more details) or work can be on a “pay as you go” basis.  We have good working relationships with many studs across the UK and Europe which also helps contribute towards our high pregnancy rates. All mares that enter the unit will require health tests taken according to the HBLB code of practice for venereal diseases (negative clitoral CEM swab for the current breeding season and Negative EIA/EVA blood test for the current breeding season).

Embryo Transfer Service

Embryo transfer is an increasingly common procedure for competition mares who are unable to carry their own pregnancy due to health reasons or competition commitments. The donor mare is inseminated with fresh/chilled or frozen semen as usual and then the embryo is flushed from the mare’s uterus on or around day 7 after ovulation. This embryo is then processed and non-surgically transferred into a recipient mare’s uterus (whose cycle has been synchronised with that of the donor mare) to be carried until full term. Clients may wish to use a recipient mare of their own or utilise the recipient mare service from an external facility. Please feel free to discuss your requirements with a member of our team.

Foetal Gender Determination

Otherwise known as “foetal sexing” this is a technique best employed around 60-65 days of pregnancy and is a service offered to clients wishing to make commercial decisions for sales animals or for those owners who just want to know what their mare is carrying.

Mare Infertility/ Barren Mare Investigations

A raft of procedures and techniques may be utilised to investigate a cause of poor fertility by our veterinary team, but every case will first be subjected to a thorough historical & gynaecological examination before a plan is formulated to diagnose any problems. Examples of techniques used to investigate/treat infertility include: vulval conformation assessment and correctional surgery, endometrial cytology, endometrial biopsy, uterine endoscopy (hysteroscopy), laser or electrical ablation of endometrial cysts, intra-uterine lavage and therapy .

Twin Reduction/ Management

Mares often conceive twin pregnancies but the nature of the equine placenta is such that the successful carriage of twins to term is very rare, often resulting in the unfortunate demise of both foals. Whilst most twin pregnancies are hopefully dealt with during the first 2 weeks after conception, occasionally some continue past this time. At The Fertility Unit we can examine mares carrying a twin pregnancy and attempt successful reduction of one conceptus leaving the other to grow on. This can be particularly difficult for pregnancies in the same uterine horn (unicornual/unilateral) or for pregnancies that are at an advanced stage. If you have a mare carrying twins, please contact the unit to discuss the available options.

Stallion Infertility Investigations

The team at the unit also offer a stallion fertility assessment service. Semen can be collected from your stallion for evaluation and any issues discovered can then be discussed and addressed.

Foaling Service

We offer a foaling service whereby pregnant mares with a medical/physical problem or mares with a history of difficult births and thus compromised foal survival can be admitted to the unit for 24/7 observation and supervision at the time of foaling. We have CCTV monitoring of the foaling stables and also use wireless foaling alarms on the mares which notifies the duty vets and nurses when the mare begins the foaling process.