Nurse Mare Foals
Female racehorses can give birth to one foal per year. Once she gives birth to her racehorse foal, a mare/mother is transported to a stallion to be bred for the next season. Her foal is considered too valuable to endanger in transportation, so another mare is brought in to be a wet nurse to the racehorse foal that has been left without a mother and subsequently, the valuable milk it needs to thrive. These nurse mares are called "junk mares." She is only bred to produce milk for the racehorse foal. Her own foal – known as a “junk foal” - is left to starve to death or is "bumped" on the head with a hammer to kill it. Unlike the PMU foals who live with their mothers and nurse for four months, the Nurse Mare foals are rescued when they are only hours or days old and are even more vulnerable than their PMU forebears…
MercyFoal is Flying Change's answer to a heart-wrenching situation. We rescue these foals from death and once stabilized, we partner them in therapy with clients who have been abused and neglected themselves, so that mutual healing can begin. Our therapy clients raise these foals as part of their own therapy. They become the parent to their foal and are able to give the love, nurturing and safety that they both long for.
The Nurse Mare foals are essentially orphaned when their mothers are taken from them. Their needs are great. They are so small you can hold them in your lap; they have tiny little hooves with an imprint smaller than the palm of your hand. Given the chance they will suckle on your fingers hoping for milk to flow. Without a mother, they do not receive the immunity in her milk to protect them. Without a mother they do not receive her teaching about social skills. Without a mother they do not receive her warmth and nurturing, the feeling of safety that she gives, that all babies cling to.
The MercyFoal program provides for the needs of these vulnerable foals through rescue, medical stabilization, replacement milk and a nurturing environment of humans that tend to them. Through staff and volunteers we care for the foals around the clock and love them to safety. We provide warm milk, a clean environment, anti-diarrheal medicines to soothe their tummies and blood plasma transfusions to strengthen their immune systems. We hold them and parent them to prepare them for relationships with humans. We raise them and keep them safe until they are ready to be adopted into families. Growing up this way they know no other love than ours. When they see us approach they nicker expectantly, whinny and trot over as if to say “There you are. I’ve been waiting for you!”
Please consider giving of your heart and time to love and raise the MercyFoals with us. It is a relationship unlike anything you have ever experienced.