Nurse Mare Foals. Tragic. Our Bucket Fund for April!

I have a soft spot for every horse and feel that they all deserve quality of life.

For me, horses who are created by humans should be guaranteed a good life.  But that isn’t what happens with Nurse Mare Foals.  The plan for them is … well, there is no plan.  These babies are ripped from their mothers at a very young age and just destroyed.

That’s it.  Get rid of them.  So TRAGIC and totally unfair.

Aw C’mon.  Is that the best we can do?  Really?  Isn’t there a better idea out there?

Grrr.  I have a real soft spot for innocent babies who are brought into this world just to be left out of it.

Today, we are going to help and support orphaned foals from the Nurse Mare Industry.


New Nurse Mare Foals

THE NURSE MARE INDUSTRY and NURSE MARE FOALS (I wrote about this last year, linked here.)

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 very valuable natural mother has been taken away to be re-bred.  The valuable mare’s  “more valuable” foal is moved onto the nurse mare.  The original foal of the nurse mare is outta luck.

That’s it.   That is the process.  Create a wet nurse by disposing of that mare’s newborn so that she is free to nurse a more valuable foal.

Just rescued, in the trailer arriving at DETC

Their first walk towards their new paddock and new lives!


What is that Jack Nicholson line in A FEW GOOD MEN?

“You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties…”

Yup.  The babies are either sold to slaughter (yes, illegal in the US but not in other places…), shipped overseas for Cordovan leather and delicate meat, fattened up to sell to slaughter on the mainland, shot, or just abandoned to die.

But, sometimes, if these babies are very lucky, a Rescue familiar in the extreme care needed for neonatal foals, will come along and negotiate the purchase of these unwanted foals.

Exhausted baby...


Depending upon the age of the foal, they either are introduced to milk buckets or, if too young, fed through syringes or milk tubes.  The babies need feeding every 2 hours.  Milk replacement is costly as well as all the medications that newbies need when they show signs of failure to thrive.

Mostly, they live in a large stall(s) and bond with each other.  They are constantly touching one another for security and they make fast and excellent buddies within their group.

When these babies are in knowledgeable and capable hands, they thrive.


Milk and water buckets


Last year, we focused on The Last Chance Corral. This year, we are helping DREAM EQUINE THERAPY CENTER.


Recently, I received a flyer for a “Foal Shower” fund raiser to enable DETC to purchase as many NMFs as possible.  The idea was unique and it caught my eye.  I thought that was very creative!  I’m always impressed when organizations come up with creative ways to grab attention for their causes.  So, I decided to investigate DETC.

The newbies playing and exploring the next morning.

After careful digging, I learned much…  I found out that the Director of DETC was previously an equine ICU nurse.  That is a plus for sure!  She can insert needles and tubes, understands all the medical signs and knows the remedies and tricks to help foals through this difficult time.

DETC has an extensive adoption process.  Nice.  I’d hate to rescue a baby just to put it into harm’s way again…


Ahhh, fresh water!

DETC attends area horse shows, with a few of the most mature and immune strong babies, every weekend.  They put up a booth for education and awareness.   Usually, the babies have potential adopters after each Show!  I like that DETC is proactive in the adoption process.  This makes me feel like they are in it for the entire process, not just the rescue aspect.  And, healthy adoptions make more space for the many foals still awaiting rescue.

And, DETC is developing a program to cut down on the number of these hopeless foals in the future through HIL – Hormone Induced Lactation.  We will speak about his later, but basically, the idea is to take open broodmares, give them hormones to induce lactation and then lease these mare to the farms so they can adopt their foals.  (Or, teach the farms how to create their own HIL mares.)  In this way, there are no unwanted foals created.

Although hormones aren’t great for any being, this program potentially saves the life of a non-valued former broodmare, stops the creation of an unwanted foal and also feeds the newborn ‘valuable’ baby.

I like that… thinking of solutions.

Oh, and the last tidbit, DETC fell in love with a foal last year and kept her.  They are using her as their spokesbaby.  Her name is Phoebe and here is her story.


As our April Bucket Fund (any amount is wonderful because it all goes into one bucket and we donate the total amount at the end of the month), we can donate to the Bucket Fund for DETC so they can secure and treat/feed as many of these foals as possible while they await adoption.

Or, if you live near South Carolina, you can contact them regarding their adoption process – and see all the babies –  via this link!  They have a FaceBook page where you can read all about the available foals (there are new babies often so check back).

And, if you’d like to sponsor a baby (or any other long nurse mare foal) you can do that as well on this link.

Foals loving the attention at DETC!

Everyone receiving theraputic love!




Tall Colt born 3/14


Red Dun QH filly, born 3/18

QH filly born 3/17

Paint filly born 3/17

Grulla filly, born 3/10

Belgian draft cross colt, born 3/6

Paint colt born 3/18


Sadly, there are two very sick babies who had to be tubed in order to get nourishment and colostrum into them.  These babies were depressed, not eating and disoriented.

This is Armstrong… he has a feeding tube, poor baby.  He cannot get up by himself but he does OK once he is standing.  He can nicker.

This is Armstrong... he needs help.

This little guy is a bit stronger.  His name is Sarid (means ‘survivor’) and he is a paint.  Really cute!


Sweet boy... he kept trying to pull out Armstrong's tube.



If you feel moved, please donate (by clicking here or clicking the donate button below)  so we can help DETC bring these babies to health and forever adoptions – as well as make room for MORE babies to be rescued!  These innocent babies deserve a plan for their lives.  Many, many thanks!

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

5 comments have been posted...

  1. Diane Lyn Lindfors

    Hi there! Any volunteer positions open? I am on SS Disability for a back injury but I still have capabilities at helping out on things.
    I would need a place to live that is close to the ranch and no so expensive that I could not afford to live there. I don’t have transportation so I would have to figure out how to get there, get a place (small just me and my four Chihuahuas) to live and then be able to get back and forth to your ranch. I would love to spend the remaining years (25) at least, working with this type of program.
    Let me know?

  2. Pam Mazerolle

    If you were closer I would take afew of those babies off your hands and raise them here with alot of love and care, then find them their own forever loving home. What is happening to these inoccent babies is so not fair, it is amazing what money can do. Please give all those tiny creatures gentle (((hugs))) from us here in Ontario, Canada

  3. evielynne sanchez

    Hello. This article was just perfect for a Sunday, celebration of our Lord. My husband has ZERO education on anything to do with horses and is also asking me questions because I grew up with them. But I am only so so on knowlegde compared to you. This article is so important…. I’d like to post this article as a guest post on our RV travel adventures blog to help you spread the word. Email me first with your permission or send me anything you wish to have posted on their. I can even donate my time and make a web button and place on both of my blogs where when they click on the picture it will take them to your web site. I need to help!! We want to help!!

  4. Becky Jeffrey

    The Last Chance Corral in Athens, OH takes sometimes up to 100 every year and somehow manage to take care of them and find them good homes. I don’t have the patience for babies but I did get my OTTB from them and I LOOOVVVVEEEE my horse!! Tell Finn I said HI!:)

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