Could selling embryos online be the next big thing in the equestrian breeding world?

The second equine embryo to be sold via the online ET Auction has been bought for €10,000. It was sold last month (10 September) to a Belgium-based owner.

The embryo is by Darco out of the dam line of 2012 Olympic silver medal-winning showjumper Glocks London.

The embryo attracted bidders from all over the world. ET Auction — the first trading platform to host online embryo auctions — now plans to hold biweekly auctions.

The de Brabander family set up an ET centre at Studfarm De Muze in Sint-Niklaas in Belgium and this summer launched the first online auction for embryos of showjumpers.

Dr Valentijn de Brabander said the advantage of ET is “if you want to breed the best, you have to breed with the best and nobody wants to take the risk that a good mare bears the foal herself.”

“By buying five interesting embryos with an average cost of €15,000, you pay €75,000 in total. The chance that in these five embryos are one or even two grand prix horses is very realistic,” he added.

The online auctioning of embryos “had to come” said H&H sport horse expert Carole Mortimer.

She said that for someone after specific bloodlines, buying embryos online could be useful.

“After all, it is not as though there is anything to be lost by buying online as there is nothing to see, although I would want to see the surrogate mare,” she said.

Although online auctioning is new, Brightwells sold its first embryo at auction in 2005 at Addington and several continental studs are now selling them regularly.

Richard Botterill, Brightwells’ bloodstock auctioneer, sold two at the Flanders Foal auction last month. The first, sired by Cornet Obolensky out of a Careteno Z mare, went for €12,000.

The second was an embryo sired by For Pleasure out of the dam line of Diamant de Semilly, and went for €15,000.

This news story was first published in H&H magazine (9 October 2014).