Some of  you may not be familiar with the term, NURSE MARE FOAL.

I have written about them previously here.

Basically, a nurse mare foal is the by-product of creating a nurse mare.  A nurse mare is an equine wet nurse.  Nurse mares are needed to nurse foals whose natural mother has been taken away to be re-bred.  The ‘more valuable’ foal of the mare being re-bred is moved onto the nurse mare.  The original foal of the nurse mare is … outta luck.

It is very sad.

Most of the time, the nurse mare foals simply expire…

Unless someone comes to their aid.

And, the good news is – there are kind humans who rescue the poor nurse mare foals.

A herd of very lucky nurse mare foals at the Last Chance Corral.

A herd of very lucky nurse mare foals at the Last Chance Corral.


The Last Chance Corral, (located in Athens, Ohio) is one such Rescue that specializes in nurse mare foals.

After years of taking on these tiny charges, The Last Chance Corral has the foal nursery system down!

Truly, these incredibly dedicated people know the 24/7 drill.  They know how to nurse these scared babies, care for them, watch for danger signs and administer aid.

Nonstop, they provide nursing buckets of milk replacer (expensive), colostrum (very expensive), shavings, love and comfort.

And, they have a very successful adoption record.

So sad... abandoned.

So sad… abandoned.

The Last Chance Corral is one of the Rescues who specializes in saving these foals.

The Last Chance Corral is one of the Rescues who specializes in saving these foals.


For the few months of foaling season, the devoted workers at LCC, work tirelessly caring for these babies and locating forever homes.  Click here to go to their FB page and follow the daily goings-on.

So, without further ado, please meet this season’s crop – so far… (more will come.)


Foal 8

Foal 8

Foal 9

Foal 9

Foal 10

Foal 10

Foal 12

Foal 12

Foal 13

Foal 13


Rational Thinking, foal 13

Rational Thinking, foal 13

Foal 14, After Dark.

Foal 14, After Dark.

Red Ranger

Red Ranger

Red Ranger

Red Ranger

Foal 16, Bobby

Foal 16, Bobby



ANYBODY want to help these babies – and the more who will join them this season…?  Buckets of milk and colostrum and love and care… how about a few drops in the Bucket Fund!



Fundraising Thermometer





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




Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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

23 comments have been posted...

  1. Debra Rowe

    I have taken care of bucket foals before. It’s a lot of work, but worth it. I am especially drawn to that black filly..We have horses, and my husband trains, using NH methods. I guess I should have explained all that before. Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you.

  2. Kitty

    By the way, those babies are beautiful, how can people just throw them away like that? I’ll never understand the evil that people are capable of!

  3. Kitty

    This is so sad, to think these poor babies are being bred just to be thrown away so their mothers can be used to nurse more valuable babies. I’ve come to detest horse racing for how they’re used and abused and thrown away when they can no longer perform. Most people have no idea how many are broken down or just killed every year when they’re no longer “useful”. It always amazes me the evil that men are capable of and don’t even think twice about it. What kind of a soulless person can just kill a sweet little baby like that? It breaks my heart to think about all the suffering of the babies, as well as the mares having their babies taken away-the nurse mares and the “valuable” mares as well.

    Thank you to everyone who’s making a difference and saving these poor babies!

  4. Kayla

    With last chance corral, if you are going to adopt a foal, you must adopt 2. It’s their policy and what they have found works best with the foals mentally & physically.

  5. Jeanne Reid

    Sarah is so far out. Yes, this is a common practice. People make a living breeding mares and unloading the baby. And, they aren’t real particular how they do it. The mare then nurses a “valuable foal”. This is all part of the ugly world of racing. Don’t even attempt to insult our intelligence and say this isn’t common. A mare who can’t feed her own foal, should not be bred. Of course they would solve that problem by sending her to the killers. The corral full of motherless baby horses speaks a thousand words. The racing industry is full of people who love money and glory, not horses. Well, they will love them for a while, as long as they are making them money. People who care for homeless animals are saints.

  6. Ramona Benton

    I wanted to say Thank you to Horse and Man for setting up this bucket fund and helping these foals and educating the public about this deep dark secret in the breeding world! And a BIG Thank You to THE LAST CHANCE CORRAL for loving and caring for the foals giving them all a chance to live!
    God Bless~

  7. Kelly

    What you are doing is an amazing thing. The nurse mare practice is horrible when used like this. I think some people don’t fully understand what this practices entails and what the “by product” of this practice is. To intentionally breed a horse so that she will come in to milk so she can nurse a different mares foal. In the mean time…that first foal will be pulled from her mother because she now has to nurse the ” more important” foal…well it’s just sickening . You basically are running an orphanage for unwanted foals. Breaks my heart and wish more people knew about this practice . Thanks for all you do….

  8. Janelle

    Sometimes I wonder if people actually READ a blog post before replying. Good grief! I had no idea this kind of thing existed. Of course it does. Money creates a myriad of evils in the commercial horse industry. I was aware of surrogates but hadn’t even thought of a foal being pulled. Patty, you’re not naive… I figured the mare would nurse both too. Silly me. Reading about these sweet little muzzles makes me sick. 4 day old babies. What an outrage. I do know that it is important to socialize the youngsters. Since they are being bottle fed, a grown up orphan is a horse that needs all the “lessons” the mare would have taught. Cute now, but as a big horse they need manners. They can be bullies (as professed by Buck Brannaman). It all comes down to training, consistency and time in the herd. Hopefully they adopt with instructions about what they can lack if not taught to help the adopter be as successful as possible. That being said, they could be the most spectacular horse relationship you have ever had. From the ashes could rise a diamond! Amazing work you are doing. Keep it up. They are so darling and honest. Such an injustice. Thank you for making a difference!

  9. Lin Month

    IF there are some people who are removing newborn foals from their dams for reasons of profit, it must be stopped. Obviously cruelty. Your efforts to help animals put in a terrible situation by other people though is very much appreciated.

  10. mellie

    I do not know the situations or the full story here but just to think about these babies being alone, bothers me. I would defiantely buy some of these guys and have them here in my small acreage just to be here and live life!!! I live in SD so it would be a haul…… Wished I lived closer

  11. Lori

    What kinds of problems can you expect down the road with these abandoned babies? Do they come with papers?

  12. Lisa Ballard

    The practice of breeding a mare to nurse a thoroughbred foal and discarding the nurse’s foal is common here in Ireland too.Sometimes the thoroughbred dam is wanted to return to racing,sometimes it is because of the belief that she will have more to give to her developing embryo if she is not feeding a foal.The nurse mares here are always what you would call Gypsy vanners as they have such placid natures and more readily accept the loss of their own foal and accept its replacement.Their own foals are destroyed or sold for $10.

  13. D. Mills

    There’s always got to be one contrarian know-it-all in every group and Sarah Smithey is ours in this one. We all understood what this post is about, no need to pick it apart to show your superior intellect. Besides, being contrarian doesn’t help raise funds for the critters and THAT’S what this is about, Sarah, don’t co-opt the message.

  14. Susann

    I fail to understand what is going on here. On the pictures I see many foals. What has happened to their mothers? Having worked with animals most of my life, I know for a fact that if a baby (anything) is abandon, it has problems and I don’t mean just physical problems. I don’t understand why the babies are taken from their mothers, why their mothers are being bred and re-bred before they had a chance to raise their babies. If understand it correctly, this is a heinous practice as far as I am concerned. Just more skin merchants. Greed is a painful killer of all life.

  15. Carol

    Your reply to Sarah was VERY well-written! I’m sure her intentions were good, but her approach I found to be unnecessarily harsh.

  16. dawndi Post author

    Sarah: I appreciate your message. However, I am not writing about Nursemares here. I am writing about these particular foals who did come from an unnamed breeding farm.
    If you look in my archives, I have written about HIL mares (Hormone Induced Lactation) and have also written several stories of heroic nurse mares who have come to the rescue and adopted orphan foals or have aided in their recovery. I think perhaps you have mistaken the intent of this blogpost. The only intent here is to tell how these particular foals got to where they are today. I clearly denote that I am speaking about the nurse mares who are used to nurse foals whose mother is taken away to be re-bred and that foal is abandoned. I am not speaking of any other kind of nurse mare use. One cannot deny that these particular foals were created in this manner with this intent. My blog today was written to support these poor babies. Nothing else.

  17. Sarah Smithey

    The verbiage on this page is slightly erroneous. All foals are not taken away from their mothers when they are rebred. And ALL nurse mares dont have foals at their side that are removed and left to die just so she can take on another foal to nurse. Mares are rebred on their foal heat ALL of the time and the foal is not weaned. When a mare dies, a nurse mare is used to replace her. When a mare refuses its foal, a nurse mare is used to replace her. When a very high value foal such as Rachel Alexandra’s has to be removed from the side of its mother due to serious illness, a nurse mare is used to replace her. But you are alluding on here that every mare who is bred with a foal at her side uses a nurse mare after the fact and thats a blatant lie. You really need to be more careful with the incorrect information you are choosing to spread on this site to people who dont know better. It IS true that some nurse mares have taken on important foals (ie Rachel Alexandra’s recent baby) but to act like this is an every time, commonplace sitiuation is malarky. Why not be honest and say there are SOME situations where this happens and THOSE babies need help? Geez. That said, Im going to donate to these little guys because THEY are abandoned and need help. But lets try to tell the full story for those who may not know going forward.

  18. Patty

    Naive me. I thought an orphaned foal shared the nurse mare with her own. Is this the method they used for Rachel Alexandra with her filly this year?

  19. dawndi Post author

    Tina: I don’t know for sure. Generally QH and Pains, but you’d have to call them to find out for sure. I have seen some draft mixes, etc.

  20. Joan Herrold

    How much are these foals to adopt? I am i I am looking for a foal.

Post a comment!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *