A Problem to be Solved
In 1981, Meg Douglas-Hamilton, co-owner of the renowned Hamilton Farm, was certain there was a more efficient and cost effective way to breed horses. Because mares needed to be at the stud farm for insemination, breeding season was always tough on mares, especially those with foals at their sides. Even after the mares were in foal, being vanned back to their home could be risky and result in loss of the foal. In addition, the mare traffic, quarantine procedures and limited stall space often resulted in a logistical nightmare for the stud farm. There had to be a better way. Return to Top
The Solution Came in a Dream
As the story goes, the idea of transporting stallion semen to the mare, instead of the mare to the stallion, came to Meg in a dream one night. After waking up her physicist husband, Diarmaid, and describing her idea, it was agreed that the concept was possible - but it needed to be a simple process which the small breeding farm could easily use. That ruled out using frozen semen but would it be possible to extend the viable life of stallion semen without freezing? There was only one way to find out - to give it a try.
The Equitainer becomes a Reality but will Breeders Use It?
After rigorous in-house research and testing at top U.S. veterinary schools, the patented Equitainer became a reality and Hamilton Equine Systems was formed. However, the adventure was just beginning. The $64,000 question was "now that the system was developed, how would breeding farms be convinced to try this new process?" It wasn't easy. Breeders were apprehensive about the new technology and reluctant to change their ways. Thus, it was decided that the only way to prove the reliability and success of the Equitainer was to use it to breed mares to the Hamilton Farm stallions.
The pivotal field trial occurred in 1983 and involved three different stallions and the breeding of 50 mares. The results were irrefutable - with a total conception rate of 90% over three cycles, the Equitainer was deemed a success! Based on the amazing results of this field trial, gradually equine breeders began using the Equitainer as part of their A.I. programs. Soon, breed registry after breed registry approved the use of transported semen and the Equitainer is now a trusted partner for breeding farms around the world.
Continuing the Legacy
Driven by the exciting potential of reproductive technologies, Meg and Diarmaid continued research and development within this field. With the introduction of their Computer Assisted Semen Analysis (CASA) systems came a company name change from Hamilton Equine Systems to Hamilton Thorne Research. Today, Hamilton Thorne Research is considered the top manufacturer of CASA systems worldwide and is pursuing new and exciting avenues in both human and animal reproductive domains.
Where We are Now
While Hamilton Thorne Research has become synonymous with the Equitainer over the years, company restructuring resulted in a decision to take the equine products division back to its roots, so it could once again focus on the needs of the equine breeder. The result was the formation of our new company, Hamilton Research, Inc. (HRI), which has sole rights to manufacture the Equitainer and its accessories.