Born, Orphaned and Abandoned in an Auction Yard. Our NOVEMBER BUCKET FUND: AUTUMN


This story is very sad… but could end well.  The jury is still out.


It started with a pathetic human horse breeder who abandoned his pregnant, sickly, emaciated mare at an auction yard in Washington state last Thursday.

The auction workers didn’t see the truck come or go, but they did notice a very, very thin and sick horse in their yard.  They had no idea that she was pregnant.


Imagine their surprise when the auction yard employees found a baby in the pen with the body of the emaciated and now deceased mare.

Let me say that again… There was a foal inside of the sickly, emaciated mare who was dumped at the lot and DIED after giving birth to this poor foal who was alive – standing there – next to her dead dam,  born at some point in the cold dampness of a dismal auction yard pen.

Happy birthday, baby.

She was crashing. The Vet from Rainland Farms determined it was time to take her to Emergency.


No one at the auction yard knew when the foal was born or what to do with her.  So they called Animal Control.  Twelve hours after discovering the baby, Animal Control arrived.

Baby still hadn’t been treated or fed.

Animal Control wasn’t sure what to do so they called the Whatcom County Humane Society.  The Whatcom County Humane Society was the first entity to feed the filly approximately 18 hours after she was discovered.

All this time, the tiny girl was standing and walking.  She was eager to finally drink milk replacer.  But, understandably, she was weak.

Obviously, the mare had given everything she had to this baby before she died…

Autumn snuggled in several blankets in the back seat of the truck on the way to the hospital


Realizing that they were in over their heads, the Whatome County Humane Society called HOPE FOR HORSES who rushed to the scene.  Within two hours, they had the foal on plasma (it was determined that the foal had not had any colostrum), IV fluids and all the possible remedies known via their vets at Rainland Farms.  Hope for Horses named her Autumn and she quickly became the darling of the ‘vet and volunteer’ manned 24-hour foalwatch regimen set up in her stall.

But, it wasn’t enough.   All the King’s horses and all the King’s men…

This morning she crashed.

Autumn standing again and rallying in the hospital.


This morning, Autumn quit eating and drinking.  Her eyes were dull.  She was dehydrated.  They were losing her.

HOPE FOR HORSES raced their girl to the nearest equine hospital where sitting in wait were a crush of doctors anticipating her arrival.  They set her up with a huge IV stream, administered every possible aid, took every test, gave her all the baby boosters available and then sat back and watched.

The specialists are keeping her in the hospital, but they think she will pull through.  She is rallying.  She’s a tough little filly.

Stabilized and alert at the hospital. Please help her - in the name of her dam


OK, I don’t know about you, but the idea of abandoning a sick, skinny, almost dead pregnant mare ON HER FOALING DATE in a disgusting (sorry) auction yard and then driving away – just makes my blood boil.


How in the bleep does anyone do that?  How can they breed their mare, not feed her and then wait until the very last moment to dump her so she could foal alone and then die – alone.

I WANT THE DAM TO BE VINDICATED.  I want those twit former owners to have foiled in their attempt to kill this baby.  I want this little filly to not ever have the awful and lonely life of her dam.  I want that dam to not have died in vain.  I want the baby to live – in health.

The November Bucket Fund is for Autumn and her nameless, faceless dam who gave her life to create a life.  Any small amount will add up in the Bucket.  THANK YOU, for helping this baby and her angel dam.

If you receive this via email, please click here to donate.
PLEASE PASS THIS FORWARD!          Update:  (11/6/11) The goal amount was raised because Autumn will be in the hospital for at least another week…

To watch the donation thermometer rise, click here.


This is Autumn at Hope for Horses before she crashed. You can see how much of a personality she has with her human mom! Please help Autumn in the name of her fallen dam.

 HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!



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HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!

33 comments have been posted...

  1. Tracy

    There are actually quite a few collostrum banks available. One is headed by Debbie Pabst at Blue Ribbon Farms in Buckely. AS well as Nina Hagan at El Dorado In Enumclaw. They also have Nurse mares available. Check any of the TB networks they are always helpful with providing for orphan foals. Good Luck John and Jenny your saints

  2. Mallena Cox


  3. Anne

    Michelle (November 4th around 10 am) – I understand your frustration with the “animals over people” concern but I don’t think it’s an “either-or” situation. People seem to have a “way in” to their hearts and often that “way in” is through the pet door, so to speak. Very frequently, the milk of human kindness starts flowing for an animal and continues flowing for people. In this world where there are people who don’t care about anything (except perhaps money), it’s heartening to see that people are able to care about something. Judging people for what they care about does not help maintain the flow. Also, in my experience, people who donate to help animals also donate in large quantities to help people, too. The urge to be generous should be encouraged, not judged. JMHO.

  4. Kimberly

    I have a small rescue with 9 horses currently and 4 of them are babies that people cast away before they should even consider weaning them. People amaze me sometimes with their ignorant, greedy ways. God bless the people caring for this little filly. I pray she makes it.

  5. teresa B

    how is this baby now.? I rescued a baby like this and it still brings these tears to my eyes as mine didnt make it

  6. Janet Murtha

    Best wishes to all of you who make such a difference in the lives of needy horses! I hope everything works out well for the orphaned baby horse. Thank you.

  7. donna

    Just send in my donation.
    Please update us and thank you for helping Autumn! Her poor mother! What cruel person/s could do such a thing? I pray for his baby!

  8. Carol

    I went out to Philchuck yeterday and Autumn was eating from a bowl. Is was awesome to see her understanding and doing it. She is a fighter. I was there at 2pm and they said she had been eating enough on her own that they had not had to tube feed her which is a huge progress. She is such a little fighter and so beautiful. Thanks to all who have helped and continue to help all of our little equine friends.

  9. linda

    That poor defenceless foal , how dare the onwers of tha mare do that , they should be shot for what they did , just to leave a mare their to die after the foaled a beautiful baby , i congratulate the people who are doing their best to keep this filly going and very happy to know their are people out their who care alot to help her survive , hope the owner of the mare gets brought to justice , bloody Mo%g*els

  10. John

    We appreciate all the help but at this point, please do not call the hospital. We welcome any email to us at HFH.
    We are flush with fresh Goats milk and will introduce new things very slowly. Thank you for the offer.
    Equine Colostrum is readily available frozen. The problem is that the foal gut can only absorb it in the first 12-24 hours. The effectiveness drops off to zero very quickly. It was never an option for the rescuers of Autumn.
    I think time is now working for her. Thank you all very much

  11. Joan

    I can’t believe that there is no mare’s milk colostrum bank. Though an orphan foal is not to common, it does happen and they still need that first colostrum to get the antibodies they need. Perhaps there is a mare in the area that has recently foaled?

  12. Beth

    Assuming she is still at Pilchuck, I just left a message to be passed on. I called then realized Sunday I’d get the answering service. Not sure which way someone will get the message faster, but if you need goat milk kefir to help her gut. I have some to get started with and extra kefir grain to make more if needed.

  13. John

    Just got back from Pilchuck Hospital. Autumn is stable, alert, getting up and sucking on your fingers. Still on IV fluids and nutrition and unfortunately still with extreme diarrhea. Blood chemistry also indicates some sort of severe bowel inflammation. They are training her to suck from a pan rather than a bottle but she has not had any oral liquids since she came in. Just letting her gut rest until tomorrow when its either the pan or a nasal gastric tube.

    Thank you all very much

  14. Audrey Wood

    What a heartbreaking story. I will mail a donation, if you could please provide an address for the ‘Autumn Fund’. BUT, importantly, is there no way to trace the owners or truck driver who dumped the mare at the Auction yard? Anything on Security Cameras, or perhaps someone saw them at a Gas Station? Because, the help for this little filly is wonderful, but the root cause of neglect has to be dealt with, as well. They may have more horsew who are hardshipped and need help. Great work to everyone on the team! Audrey, LAER – Large Animal Emergency Responder. P.S. My experience with some of the Sale Barns, is that the staff don’t notice, or don’t choose to notice much. : (

  15. April

    I am a volunteer at Lucky Horse Equine Rescue in Mass and one of our special projects is orphan Nurse Mare Foals. Most if not all are seperated at birth from their mothers and do not receive colostrum. We have found that using 8-16 oz of probiotic yogurt per bucket of milk really helps to set up the good bacteria in their bellies and to put on weight. It is expensive, but Chobani was kind enough to donate dozens of cases to our cause. Best of luck to beautiful baby Autumn – it sounds like you have a wonderful team
    working with her:)

    April –

  16. Debi Knight

    I am donating what I can to help this precious foal. She deserves a full, happy life with someone who loves her. It makes me so sad to hear of cruelty like this. Unfortunately, so many horses are victims of cruelty and neglect. my best wishes to Autumn Hope.

  17. John

    Sorry on the photo updates, we are having Facebook problems. Should be fixed soon. They just started pan feeding her and we are working the realities of getting a brood mare for her. Thank you all very much.

  18. John

    Just came back from the hospital. Autumn is doing very well. A night of IV fluids and a second bag of plasma have done wonders. Pilchuck is training her to drink from a pan. New pictures should be up in a few minutes

  19. Lindsay

    The problem right now is that since Autumn did not receive her mother’s colostrum within the first 12 hours and she has no immune system so she can’t have contact with other horses… She’s on a milk replacement and supplements and has someone with her 24/7 to meet her every needs. She is the most spoiled baby!

    Autumn is the sweetest little thing, when she’s sleeping she’ll sleep with her head on your lap and she makes the cutest noises when she’s asleep. She’s in very good hands at Hope For Horses and is getting so much love :)

    Please send good vibes and donations because the med’s she needs to survive at this point are very expensive and any amount helps!!!

  20. dawndi Post author

    Michelle: I hear you and agree. However, there are thousands of sites that help humans. HORSE AND MAN is set up to help the horses.

  21. Michelle

    We should think about crying 5 yer old girls huddling next to their mummies who lost their jib and were foreclosed on. Why do people not care for people, little baby kids and yet sob their eyes out about one filly. O wish you could see what I see in social devices. Wake up people, we have CHILDREN, HUMAN BEINGS living with parents foreclosed on, jobs outsourced and no where to go.

  22. Michelle

    This is the state of the horse market and the Country as a whole. I work in social services and see CHiLDREN, newborns abandoned, mothers with small kids homeless, 10 year old kids being prostituted (same are as this filly) and millions out if work. I have had horses brought to my farm owners lost jobs and begging for us to take them (we have taken 5 this year, poured money we don’t have into them them gave them away to good homes) and with my husband laid off we can’t do anymore. The horse over population needs to be dealt with. Shelters are full, people are homeless and abandon horses as Hines are foreclosed on. Where do you go with no job, no home, kids to feed and a horse? Happens every day in social services. Imagine a small child homeless in this cold snap??!!

  23. Kosse Feral

    We have three mares here who’re lactating. One a former PMU mare who clearly lost her babies before their time and the other two experienced horse moms whom we adopted from rescue. Is it possible to bank mare’s milk?

    Will spread the news of this foal’s plight–hope she makes it.

  24. Victoria Rose

    I am in WA state and I have a mare getting ready to wean her foal. She is a good mom. i would be willing to donate her if is needed. people make me sick. good luck to you all.

  25. Dianne Partington

    I would like to adopt this filly if that is at all possible. I’m sure you have a list as long as my arm who would do the same, but I am a responsible horse owner and have the facilities and heart to raise her in a loving, caring, healty environment.
    Dianne Partington

  26. Mary Ratliff

    I do not have the money to help…however, I do have a mare that LACTATES all the time and wants a baby. I have been looking for a baby that has no momma because the VET feels like that if she can raise a baby and wean it full term, when the baby is ready to be weaned she will stop this terrible cycle of lactating all the time. It has cost me a fortune to treat her when this happens because it usually ends of as mastititis…very clostly and painful for the mare. I do not know where you are located by if my lovely mare can help this baby I would be happy for that to happen. I am in Florida. Phone 386 684-6860

  27. LVS

    OMG I’m sobbing!!!!!!!!! I’m with you on this one. Somebody needs to track down the idiot that dropped this poor mom off. I just want to hold this little foal. We need prayers NOW for this little miracle of life.

  28. Jen

    I donated for this little baby what I could. Please let us know her progress…I have a pony mare that is still nursing her baby…do you think baby could make it to PA?

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