When I first heard of Texas I assumed that since he was rescued as a baby he must have been a PMU baby. I even did a whole post on PMU babies after having researched them. I will put that up at some point. I learned later that he was not as lucky as a PMU baby. Texas was rescued at 4 days old. He only got to spend 4 days with his Mom before she went off to raise some fancy race horse and he was luckily rescued. Why so lucky? Well let me give you some more info on being a nurse mare foal and you will find out.
According to the site of the organization he was rescued from (which was the kindest that I could find online in its description)…
“A nurse mare foal is a foal who was born so that its mother might come into milk. The milk that the nurse mare is producing is used to nourish the foal of another mare, a more “expensive” foal. Primarily these are thoroughbred foals, though certainly not limited to the thoroughbred industry. The foals are essentially byproducts 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, among these are: loss of maternal mare, mare has no milk, mare rejects foal, and countless other malady’s.
As far as the Thoroughbred breeding industry goes there are also numerous reasons a nurse mare might be needed, these include: travelling and insurance costs which prohibit the foal from accompanying the Thoroughbred mare to the stallion station, and this is just to name a couple out of many other concerns.
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. 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. Now, these foals do have value … 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.”
I had never heard of this…Had you? Was I just blissfully ignorant or is this really a big Thoroughbred industry secret? Texas, just like my Gennyral was a by-product of the Thoroughbred racing industry. And the reason they breed “horses of color”? Because those hides bring in more money for pony skins. This adorable spotted butt could very easily have been a pocket book. Texas’s Owner found out about the Nurse Mare Foal’s nearly 5 years ago (it’s his birthday soon!) and talked her Mom into getting a few shipped from the rescue in from Ohio. They didn’t have any foals themselves that year and were missing have foals around. I think they got 7 the first round (or was it 6?). And she had all of them adopted out before they stepped out of the trailer.
Well, her not getting any babies herself sort of defeated the purpose of her adopting foals! So she put in another call and got another bunch of babies shipped up. Texas was in that bunch. He wasn’t even 2 weeks old when he arrived at his owner’s mom’s farm. He was 4 days old when he was rescued from Kentucky and by the time he was 2 weeks old he had already been shipped 2 times and for hundreds of miles! How could anyone send such a cutie to the killers? His owner still has the baby pictures of him at 4 days old. I was in shock reading about Nurse Mare Foals and feel so lucky that there are such great rescue places out there trying to save them.
The Specific Rescue Organization Texas was gotten from was the Last Chance Corral. I know that of the 13 that were rescued all have turned out to be great little horses. And the only lasting side effect that I can tell so far that Texas was an orphaned foal is the fact that he is mouthy…which is not helped along by the fact that he is so cute every time someone walks by him they give him a treat. No joke. Like someone could just be walking to the tack room and when they see him they stop and feed him treats. He really does have a great personality. And a special place in everyone hearts because they have watched him grow up.
So after reading this do you feel so moved you need to get a baby of your own? Because if you do your in luck. They just got their first crop of rescued foals in and you can see them on their blog.
I was so disgusted when I first heard about this. And went back to check and make sure that my fake fur purse really was all synthetic. I just can’t get over how horrible this practice is. I know Thoroughbred breeding is big money, but you would think that with all the scrutiny racing is getting these days that giving baby race horses nurse mare mothers would be something more people would know about. How is this getting so swept under neath the rug? How come horse magazines are not doing more articles on this? Where is my man Bryant Gumble on this story? Can someone out there tell me why so many of us know of PMU babies and so few of us have ever heard of Nurse Mare Foals? And this is occurring right here in the United States!
I am so glad that the adorable pony at the top of the post was saved. He is a really great horse and I cannot believe anyone would just throw him away. With so many crazy horses out there how can someone dream of sending a sweet, level headed horse like that to death at 4 days old? Is this just one more thing not to like about the Thoroughbred racing industry? Or do you think this is an okay practice? Because I don’t think so. I don’t care how much or a little a horse is worth they should not be taken away from their mothers at 4 days old!!