What are Nurse Mare Foals?

16 Mar

Many of you have asked, “Why are these foals not with their mothers?”I wondered

The following info is from The Last Chance Corral website;

“What are Nurse Mare Foals?

A nurse mare foal is a foal who was born so that its mother might come into milk. The milk that its mother is producing is used to nourish the foal of another mare, a more “expensive” foal. Primarily these are thoroughbred foals, though certainly are not limited to the thoroughbred industry. The foals are essentially by-products of the mare’s milk industry. A thoroughbred mare’s purpose is to produce more racehorses. A mare can give birth to one foal each year provided she is re-bred immediately after delivering a foal. Because the Jockey Club requires that mares be bred only by live cover, and not artificially inseminated, the mare must travel to the stallion for breeding and may be shipped as soon as 7-10 days after giving birth to a foal, but a period of 3-4 weeks is generally allowed.

In general there are a number of reasons why a nurse mare may be called upon.  Traveling is very risky for these newborn racing foals, and insurance costs are prohibitive for the foal to accompany the mother to the stallion farm. At this point a nurse mare is hired to raise the thoroughbred foal while the mother goes and gets re-bred. In order to have milk, the nurse mare had to give birth to her own baby. When she is sent to the thoroughbred breeding farm, her own foal is left behind. Historically, these foals were simply killed. Orphaned foals are difficult to rise and no one had tried to raise large numbers of them. These foals do have value, however, their hides can be used as “pony skin” in the fashion and textile industries, and the meat is considered a delicacy in some foreign markets.

This is where Last Chance Corral comes in. We rescue these foals by purchasing as many as we can.  We bring them home, tend to their needs, and find them loving, secure homes. Please help us help them.

Please note that we have to purchase our Nurse Mare Foals.  Each foal costs us between $200 and $400.  The adoption fee of each foal is based on what we pay for each individual foal.  We add an extra $50 to the price we pay to try, and I emphasize the word try, to help cover the expenses of transportation, milk, and medications.”

My first reaction was how can this be stoppedand from reading comments I can see that many of you are with me on this. The idea of putting pressure on the industry is a natural first reaction but then I had to think deeper and more broad. Think about human problems such as human trafficking and modern day slavery…and the idea of people, as well as animals, struggling takes on a more broad, historical, almost un-ending feel. There are good farms that do good and bad farms that do bad. Last Chance deals with the bad farms. Saying you would fix the bad farms is like saying you would make drugs and other illegal things unavailable in jails…yet it still happens.

But I can help one foal. That doesn’t feel too big.

The whole practice is wrong… but it struck me as ultra-wrong that Last Chance has to BUY the foals from these farms. So, in a very real since, donations do directly save these lives.

Between now and April 10th, Last Chance Corral is looking for donations of used saddles or tack that they can resell and use the money to BUY and care for foals.

The Last Chance Corral is a Federally designated 501(c)3 non-profit organization and a member of the The American Horse Protection Association and American Humane Society.  They are one of the oldest, large animal rescue organizations in the country.

Thank you from a foal

A foal at Last Chance Corral says, “Thank you” for donating saddles and tack to help save more foals.

Donations can be sent directly to;


Victoria Goss, President

5350 US 33 South

Athens, Ohio 45701

(740) 594-4336


The foals thank you.

Below is a video for those of you who would like to learn more about the nurse mare foals and Last Chance corral. If you don’t have time to watch the whole thing, I suggest watching them teaching the foals to drink from a bucket around 4 minutes and then visit the Last Chance Facebook page to see the two foals after they have mastered drinking.


Posted by on March 16, 2014 in Controversial, Life, Video


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

43 responses to “What are Nurse Mare Foals?

  1. Kerry Morgan

    March 16, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    Now that DNA testing is available, there is no longer a need to require TB mares to be physically bred to stallions, AI needs to be allowed. It would HUGELY reduce transport costs and associated risks, and greatly reduce the need for nurse mares. Time to put pressure on racing industry to allow artificial breeding.

    • Stacy

      March 16, 2014 at 5:27 pm

      Kerry- I thought about this too and I agree. I would bet that the issue becomes, like it did in the AQHA, that people sued the AQHA for not allowing multiple foals…and they won. Judges forced the AQHA to allow multiple foals from mare…interesting to think about.

  2. Lynn Turner

    March 16, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    Just another thing in the horse industry that makes a person sick to their stomach….OM gosh…..

  3. Penelope L. Penderhausen

    March 16, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    When the Jockey Club finally moves in to the 21st Century and allows AI this will put a big hole in this horrible practice.

    • Tracy

      March 16, 2014 at 4:38 pm

      When they do that this will still happen it’s not breeding part.. It’s the mommy/mare has to go back and make money problem..

  4. Carol Haley

    March 16, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    I wonder if they have ever tried the Igloo cooler method with a nipple. Especially on the youngest ones this might be a little easier.

    • Stacy

      March 16, 2014 at 5:25 pm

      Carol- I’m not familiar with what you are talking about but you could email the farm.

  5. Christine

    March 16, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    This industry even disposes of their “expensive” foals–big contributor to “unwanted”horses–so sickening


    March 16, 2014 at 4:37 pm


    • Stacy

      March 16, 2014 at 5:24 pm

      Melissa-they train them to drink from buckets because it is easier for them to adopt them out, bottle feeding is not as practical. I like that the video shows that the foals don’t just understand how to drink from a bucket. This is a rescue place that has rescued them after someone else took them from their mothers.

  7. jillstrachan

    March 16, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    Ok, the situation is somewhat different in Australia. These foals are hand reared by farms and in my case I was able to “borrow” a foal for a period of time as I had a very sick foal and the mother rejected her. The breeding farm had a number of clydie mares that are much sought after when the natural mother has died and their foals are taken off the mums and hand fed. I had the joy of hand raising a clydie x TB and my TB! She took 3 times the amount of food though LOL! I have also provided my mare who had just lost her foal to a breeding farm to be a nurse mare for another youngster whose mother died giving birth.

    These Clydie crosses are very much in demand here in Australia as riding horses and I know that there are waiting times to access them…. NOW there is a positive process that may be implemented in other countries, create a demand for them as performance horses.

    Cheers Jill

  8. Lorena

    March 16, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    Great work you are doing! Do you have volunteers that help out?

    • Stacy

      March 16, 2014 at 5:28 pm

      Last Chance Corral does take volunteers.

  9. Heather miller

    March 16, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    I am a little upset that you did not once mention that sometimes these nurse mares are brought in to save a foal who’s mother died during birth. I work at a vet clinic and see this a lot. Please at least put a line in the article that whole most mares may got to TB farms there are many that go to help out orphaned foals.

    • Stacy

      March 16, 2014 at 8:32 pm

      Heather- I failed to link to my other blog which told that whole story. You can find it by clicking here. The first nurse mare I heard of used was by a QH breeder who had a mare die.

    • Angela

      May 1, 2014 at 2:31 am

      Heather, you would like to bring attention to the fact that some of these nurse mares are brought to save foals who have lost their mother??? Well then what about the foal this nurse mare just gave birth to??? Apparently you don’t get that these nurse mares just gave birth themselves and then are taken from their own to ‘save’ another…..leaving an ORPHANED FOAL!!! Ya that makes sense….

  10. Jo

    March 16, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    Damn the racing industry! When are their heinous money making schemes going to be outlawed!!!

    • Stacy

      March 16, 2014 at 8:35 pm

      All industries have their problems. I know lots of people who love gaited horses…and don’t ‘sore’ them, yet everyone has heard over and over about ‘sore-ing’ gaited horses. It is a problem but it is not the whole industry. The TB industry has this issue…but it isn’t the whole industry.

  11. Flo Browne

    March 16, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    Standardbred racing allows artificial insemination, and has for a long time. What’s the problem, Jockey Club?

  12. Sherri VanTassel

    March 16, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    Stacy, thanks for highlighting Victoria and Last Chance Corral’s work. I have worked with her for almost 6 years and they are AMAZING! It is so tempting to talk about “solutions” to the nurse mare foal problem, and I’m not saying that we should not work on it long term, but each of us CAN do something now and that is to support Victoria’s work by DONATING, DONATING, DONATING. Believe me when I say to those of you who have never visited Last Chance or met Victoria and her band of volunteers – you feel as though you are in the presence of God’s work.

    • Stacy

      March 16, 2014 at 8:30 pm

      Sherri-Thanks for writing in. Until I went to visit Victoria I didn’t really understand. I agree completely. Keep posting to let people know it is worth helping. She, and the team, are really saving lives.

      • Sherri VanTassel

        March 16, 2014 at 8:36 pm

        Stacy, having you speak up really helps because we all respect you. I keep educating people about Last Chance, taking people to the big Christmas fundraiser, sending people to their booth at Equine Affaire. We all need to educate and support. Thanks for your help!

  13. audrey Kortz

    March 16, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    Whatever happened to the mare going to the stallions home to foal, be bred, then sent back to her own barn after check-back? Eliminates the need to transport a newborn.

  14. CJ

    March 16, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    Allowing the AI also leads to problems. Some that AI use host mares to breed other mare/stallion crosses via embryo transfer. Having 20 full brothers and sisters in a year leads to an overabundance of horses, too. Quarter Horse owners have over bred to a point they’ve devalued their breed, too. It’s not the Jockey Club’s fault people are sick enough to do this to their animals.

  15. katzarr

    March 16, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    Disgusting;; live in Texas; would like to adopt a couple of foals,; too far to drive.; can’t help money wise,; have 14 head of my own to feed…. feel bad about these foals; people are sick, just for the money. sad…

  16. Fran Kerik

    March 16, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    Perhaps the jockey club needs to get with the 21 century and allow AI. Then the farms won’t be having to make the decision to use a nurse mare.

  17. dj

    March 16, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    We have a nurse mare foal. We bought her when she was a month old. She is a coming 2yo. She has excellent QH breeding and is a sweet filly. When looking for a horse, I encourage people to look at buying these foals.

  18. Rachel Bendler

    March 16, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    For those of you asking about bottle vs. bucket feeding, hopefully this helps clarify. Last Chance Corral chooses to bucket feed for a variety of reasons.
    1.) You do not want the foals to associate human hands with food. This prevents them from becoming nippy, which makes for easier training later on.
    2.) A young foal nurses from his mother every 15 minutes or so. Their digestive systems require lots of tiny meals. LCC has so many foals, it just isn’t realistic to try to bottle feed all of them. With bucket feeding, they can wander over to a bucket 24/7 and drink as much or as little as they like, whenever they like.
    3.) The people that adopt these foals can’t always be available for bottle feedings around the clock. To ensure that our foals can find homes with people that don’t live at home, they are bucket fed. This way, adoptive parents can mix a bucket of milk and go to work, and the babies won’t be hungry while they are gone.
    4.) LCC does not use nipples on buckets for cleanliness reasons. Each bucket is washed with soap and hot water multiple times a day, and nipples on the bottom of a bucket would complicate things. Also, buckets are the easiest, cleanest, and healthiest way to feed the foals, and most pick it up within 24 hours. The foals that do not pick it up immediately receive “drinking lessons” around the clock, and if there is no suck/swallow reflex at all, they are tube fed until they learn.

    Hope this helps explain!! :-)

  19. Wendy

    March 16, 2014 at 11:43 pm

    Heartbreaking to know this even exists. It would be a great thing to have rules set in place to allow a mare to only give birth every other year. (In a perfect world). It would help the value of a foal I would think. But then again a two year old horse shouldn’t be racing either. It’s all about the money for the most part. I’m so glad that the wonderful people at LCC can help these poor babies survive and have a wonderful life.

  20. Cheryl Daniel Bailey

    March 17, 2014 at 12:07 am

    Just don’t adopt 2 foals and have some lowlife kill one while trying to steal it. And the other foal about grieves itself to death and finally just when it starts to eat and is better they come and tell lies about you and raise all kind of money to treat your MISTREATED foal even though ANIMAL CONTROL was there and couldn’t fault my care of the foal BUT where they make you sign a contract ANIMAL CONTROL couldn’t stop them. ALSO this great animal rescuer when I lost my husband in Dec. and had nothing to feed my dogs & I begged for help never even replied. Guess they couldn’t make thousands of dollars lying about why I couldn’t feed my dogs. But some lovely people came from CANADA and rescued 5 of them and another rescue came from Va. and took 16 of our babies. AND guess what they have raised around $12,000.00 so far for the dogs care. I will never forgive or forget the lies told about me and also my Vet Clinic was slightly pissed about the lies told on them also. Oh yeah I also found good loving homes for 7 of the horses too without their help either. Also I have pictures taken the night before they came and stole my foal and the hernia was the size of a dime but later after they had her it was HUGE and that was their main reason for taking her. THAT LIFE THREATENING HERNIA. I will never forget or forgive those LIARS. They are a money making racket and nobody can tell me any different. They even sold me outdated Milk for the foals as I can prove by the date on the containers and my canceled check.

  21. Terri Anderson

    March 17, 2014 at 12:14 am

    Then there is the whole industry of the Premarin horses that are used to make hormones, the bigger the horses, the more urine they make…I believe there is an adoption set up for those horses too…they are in Canada I believe. I have a friend that has a couple of those horses he adopted….


    March 17, 2014 at 5:41 am

    Thank you Terri for bring up the Premarin foal problem. In my opinion, it’s just a big a problem as the nurse mare foal disaster.

  23. Samantha Pollock

    March 17, 2014 at 7:08 am

    I was on Premarin for 7 years. Then I discovered how it was made and simply refused to support such a practice. I have now been Premarin free for 15 years. If I had the place required to raise a foal, I would adopt every one of them that I could. Sadly, because of the economy in recent years, we no longer have access to a horse facility. I so miss having a foal around. I miss having my horses around period!

  24. Janette

    March 17, 2014 at 9:25 am

    Just wondering how you all get your milk in America? The same thing happens on dairy farms. Where do you draw the line?

  25. Donna shaver

    March 17, 2014 at 10:25 am

    I am so touched and impressed with your heartwarming endeavor. I live in Parkersburg and would like to donate some tack. Probably be June as we are snowbirds. I will save your info and get in contact with you when we come north. Thank you for what you do. I was so pleased and proud that you were located just 40 some miles from our home! Good job!! Donna

  26. Jersey Jennifer

    March 17, 2014 at 11:11 am

    My name is Jennifer and I recently read what exactly a nurse mare is. I was raised on a horse farm and my mother has 5 of her own, 3 Paso Finos, an American Saddle Bred paint and a thoroughbred. I’ve never heard of this but I would like to get involved and help as much as I can. I see you are located in Ohio, however I am in New Jersey. I am limited on donations but will do what I can, when I can. However, I have a beautiful Australian Saddle I was going to sell because it is too big for my small stature and I could really use the money. After reading what a Nurse Mare is, I believe you need the money more than I do. I t would be for a cause that is dear to me. How would I go about shipping such an item? Please email me and I will discuss the issue further with you by providing a contact number. Please provide in the subject line Nurse Mare Info. or I won’t open it. Thank you. I am looking forward to helping you as much as I can. My email is in the space provided at the bottom.

  27. Peggy Lamb-Everett

    March 19, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    Thank you Stacy for spreading the word, for I would not have known of this wonderful rescue. I Admire, Respect, and Appreciate what YOU and Last Chance Corral are doing. Since I have read about it on your blog, I have to admit that I am just alittle obsessed with it. I will be traveling to Last Chance Corral to take 5(+?) saddles, and miscellaneous tack, Boot Jacks that my son as made, and Horse Hair Jewelry that I have made for my donation for them. As happy as I am about helping, it seems small. I plan on making it a day of Volunteering if they allow, and I will one day have me a foal or two. Thank You again,

    • Sherri VanTassel

      March 20, 2014 at 10:05 am

      Peggy, as a long time supporter of Last Chance Corral I can tell you that your visit will change your life forever…sounds like a clique’ but when you see what this dedicated group does on so little, you can’t help but be changed. Please spread the word and enjoy your visit!

  28. Patricia K

    April 23, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    Very sad indeed. The race horse industry should be ashamed.
    For even more interesting information read about Premarin (female hormone replacement)
    Premarin comes from Pregnant Mare Urine and they keep the mare pregnant and confined with a urinary catheter in her to harvest hormones. Reality is there are other forms of estrogen that work just fine. So don’t let your doctor prescribe Premarin or Prempro, many docs don’t even realize what they’re writing for.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 9,656 other followers

%d bloggers like this: