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Saving a horse
There are many riders in the United States and abroad. Some people race their animals and some just ride for fun. However, most people probably don’t know about the cruelty that goes on in the horse industry.
A nurse mare foal is a foal that was born to be milked by its mother. The milk produced by the nurse mare is used to feed the foal of another mare, a “more expensive” foal. These are primarily thoroughbred foals, although of course they are not limited to the thoroughbred industry. Foals are basically a byproduct of the mare industry. The goal of a thoroughbred mare is to breed more racehorses. A mare can give birth to one foal per year, provided she is re-bred immediately after the foal is born. Because the Jockey Club requires that mares be bred only with live cover and not artificially inseminated. The mare must travel to the stallion for breeding and can be sent 7-10 days after the foal is born, but usually 3-4 weeks are allowed.
The journey is very risky for these newborn racing foals and the insurance costs are too high for the foal to accompany the mother to the stud. A nurse mare is then hired to raise the thoroughbred foal. In order to have milk, the nurse mare had to give birth to her own babies. When the thoroughbred is sent to the stud, her own foal is left behind. Historically, these foals were simply killed. Orphan foals are difficult to raise and no one has tried to raise a large number of them. Well, these foals have value… their skin can be used as “pony skin” in the fashion and textile industries, and their meat is considered a delicacy in some foreign markets.
This is where many rescue organizations come in. They save these foals by buying as many as possible, taking care of their needs and finding them loving, safe homes. Please help us help them.
What is involved in the rescue?
The needs of orphaned foals can be overwhelming. Even when healthy, they need lots of milk, nutritional support and daily hands-on care until they are adopted into their new home, when their new family takes over these responsibilities.
Some healthy foals settle quickly into their new homes, but many stay with us for longer periods and struggle to survive.
Foals with severely compromised health have advanced needs that can exceed $75-$100 per foal per day in veterinary and intensive care. Once a foal is in stable health, these costs are dramatically reduced and easily manageable for their new surrogate family (caring for one or two is child’s play compared to eight or twelve!).
So, if you are a horse rider, love horses, and want to save a baby in need, look for nurse mare foal rescue organizations in your area. Saving the lives of these amazing animals can be very rewarding. Regardless of your interests, be it barrel racing, hunter jumping, dressage, equestrian, eventing, rodeo, calf roping, western entertainment, anything involving the majestic horse… save a life and adopt a nurse filly for your next champion.
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