Nurse mares, why we need them, and how to stop the production of nurse mare foals: A rebuttal to Last Chance Corral

“About 17, 18, years ago, I found out about the nurse mare foals.  They’re only born so that their mothers will come into milk. And that milk will nourish a thoroughbred baby so that its mother can go back and get rebred because her job is to have a racehorse baby every year.  If it weren’t for the fact that we were here, all of these foals would be dead.”

– Victoria, President of Last Chance Corral

These are the opening lines for a new documentary entitled “Born to Die” produced by Sue Morrow Productions, LLC.  It is being made to enlighten the masses on the nurse mare industry, and the work that Last Chance Corral does to secure these foals a safe and viable future.

It is a film to show how every thoroughbred mare is pulled off of her foal in order to be rebred, and how every thoroughbred foal is then placed on a nurse mare in order to get the milk that she is producing.  It is a plea for the thoroughbred industry to allow the use of artificial insemination, as that would remove the need for these mares to supplement the foals while their mother is journeying to the breeding shed.

And it is complete and utter bull shit. 

I have already written of the reasons for which the thoroughbred breeding industry  does in fact use nurse mares.  I have explained that in my experience, only roughly 0.05% of thoroughbred foals require the addition of a nurse mare.  And these are for extenuating circumstances – a prolapsed uterus, colic, laminitis, and death.  We as managers do not take this decision lightly, as the initiation of the maternal bond between nurse mare and foal can be devastating – physically, emotionally, and financially.  It is not a decision we take lightly, nor do we gloss over it quickly.

mare-2

A thoroughbred with her foal by her side

 

And I have already urged many donors to this organization as well as others to truly investigate what they are donating to.  The definition of fraud is “wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial and personal gain” and fraud is what this organization is committing. Their taxes speak volumes into where the money they are raising actually goes.  The nursemare foals with which they are “rescuing” are actually bought from a provider that was neither killing the foals nor neglecting them.

And by purchasing the foals, they are perpetuating the problem.

So where are we at?

  • Thoroughbred mares are not taken off of their foals to be rebred.  
  • Nurse mare foals are not murdered the minute that they are born.  
  • The breeding industry is not full of cold hearted crooks wielding clubs and mallets.  

Still with me?  Good.

Because now we’re moving into the science – just like my life.  What once began as the story of a farm manager with a pitchfork and a tractor will conclude with a life surrounded with microscopes, mitosis, and DNA.

Because their solution to this problem is to allow artificial insemination.  And I am here to tell you both why this won’t work as well as to add another option – one that Last Chance Corral will never support because it would drain their pockets and their salaries.

Artificial insemination, or AI, is legal in almost all breed organizations.  It is the collection of semen from a selected stallion and then the deposition of that semen directly into the uterus of the mare through the administration by personnel using a pipette.  Fresh, cooled, frozen – the options are limitless.

It was created for ease of use, in addition to the ability to breed a mare to a stallion that existed thousands of miles away.  In addition, AI was created to allow the practitioner to manipulate the semen in a way that improves its fertility while also decreasing the risk of disease due to the addition of antibiotics and no actual contact between the stallions penis and the mare.

PhD

Performing AI on the research farm

The Jockey Club does not allow this to take place in the thoroughbred breeding industry. And instead of going into why, or how to change this decision, let me stay on topic and make one statement that Last Chance Corral doesn’t want to hear:

Artificial insemination will only increase the number of nursemare foals produced, because it will only increase the number of mares bred.

One of the only limiting factors into how large of a crop that the thoroughbred industry creates a year is simply money.  It costs a lot of money to breed a mare – this is true for all breed organizations.  But the thoroughbred industry adds one factor that the rest do not – natural cover.  And the majority of thoroughbred stallions live within a one hour radius of Lexington, KY.  Therefore the thoroughbred mares need to either be within driving distance to this location, or reside here on a “breeding vacation” for weeks if not months surrounding their breeding date.

This limits who can feasibly do this.  It isn’t just the purchase of the mare for hundreds of thousands or the payment of the stud fee for another $50k.  It is not the vet bills or the treatments needed to clear up an infection.  It is, quite simply, the expense of keeping a mare at one of these chandelier-draped farms that align the winding roads of the bluegrass. Something that can run an owner into the thousands of dollars per month for a single horse.

da-1

It costs a lot to be born and raised here…

With the addition of artificial insemination, this becomes null and void. Semen will be able to be shipped across the world.  The number of owners who will be able to afford to breed their cheaper mares, ones which most likely don’t deserve to pass on their genetics, will be bred. And the crop size will increase….dramatically. Just like it did in the quarter horse industry, one that produces 5x the number of foals that the thoroughbred industry does.

So no, the addition of AI won’t help lower the number of nursemare foals produced.  Although it will help Last Chance Corral, and their thickly padded pockets.

So what will?

Science.

Because we as researchers have found ways to actually induce lactation in mares which are not actually producing a foal.  We are able to simply add miscellaneous therapeutics like domperidone, estradiol, and regumate – and VOILA, a mare is producing milk within a few weeks.

So why aren’t we doing this, and why isn’t LCC proposing this instead?

It comes down, quite simply, to money.

We need to be able to have access to nursemares much more quickly than a few weeks after a mare dies.  We need money in order to research the induction of lactation so that we can speed up the process. And LCC needs the money of donations from the bleeding hearts to keep pouring in. They know exactly what they are doing – and that AI will only exacerbate the issue, therefore providing them with more foals, and more income.

But we  – both as scientists and industry –  can actually solve this problem.  While we can’t eliminate the need for nursemares, as the risk of a mare suffering a catastrophic injury or illness while pregnant or post-foaling will always be there, but we can stop the production of the nursemare foals.

And you can help.  How?

Take the $5, $10, or $500 you would donate to this fraudulent activity and instead give it to an equine researcher.

Stop the need for nursemare foals to be produced here and now.  Be a part of the solution, not the problem.  And put your money where your newly knowledgable mouth is – in the right place, for the right people, and at the right time.  And that right time is now.

Blog2

 

The science, for your knowledge: (As per Equine Reproduction ed. Squires)

Procedure for inducing lactation in the barren mare  
Select a cycling mare who has previously delivered a foal and lactated successfully
Administer estradiol benzoate (50 mg/500 kg), intramuscularly once.
Begin daily administration of altrenogest (22 mg/500 kg) orally once her pay and a dopamine antagonist of choice:

•     Sulpiride (1 mg/kg, intramusculary, twice daily)

•     Domperidone (1.1 mg/kg, orally, twice daily, q 12 h)

Start milking six times daily on the 4th to 7th day of treatment, when mammary gland development it noted
Utilize oxytocin administration (1-5 IU, IM or IV, 1-2 minutes prior to milking) to promote milk let down
Introduce foal after 3-4 days of milking, when production has reached 3-5/day in a 500kg mare
Discontinue altrenogest on day 7 of treatment and discontinue dopamine antagonist treatment several days after adoption

 

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86 Comments on “Nurse mares, why we need them, and how to stop the production of nurse mare foals: A rebuttal to Last Chance Corral

  1. I’d love to share this on my facebook page. I saw the trailer for her documentary & it intrigued me, I had never heard of this practice before. In the back of my mind I was thinking she should attack the Premarin horse problem instead.

    • LCC used to be in the Premarin horse business and the lies they told about that were just as rampant. You should apply the same level of investigative rigor to that story. It is a domino effect. You know what happened when the giant spotlights were focused on the PMU mare industry? Drug companies move to the operations from Canada, where NAERIC tightly regulated the treatment of the horses, to China and India, where even the treatment of people is questionable. Be careful what you wish for.

      • Maybe YOU don’t do this but I believe there are people who do! People have become very greedy and only care about money instead of being KIND. Even farmers are cruel locking animals in tiny cages. Such as pigs, chickens,bulls,dogs,etc.! If you are kind God bless and keep up the good work. But if you are cruel you will pay in the end!!!

    • She has had Premarin foals. In fact, they were her main target. Don’t know why she is on the nurse mare bandwagon.

    • You are a lying piece of shit. LCC genuinely cares for and loves those goals and you should be deeply ashamed for your evil insinuation that they do it for the money. You will stand in front of God one day lady and pay for the deaths of these innocent creatures you have helped slaughter if Karma doesn’t deal with you first. Rot in he’ll.

      • Good morning Kim. First off, thank you for coming to my blogs page and leaving a comment. I am glad to gain a new reader; and hope you will take the time to read the post in addition to the comments section, and maybe educate yourself. If you have any questions beyond your threats, feel free to respond with them so that I, myself, and others,can educate you. But if you would just like to threaten me and pray that I go to hell, maybe your church would be a better place to sound off? Again, thank you for visiting! Have a great day and God bless.

  2. Bravo! I’ve been arguing with the ding dongs that think all nurse mare foal are killed for a long time. Glad you are bringing to light LCC’s shady practices.

  3. What a thought provoking article! Do these mares produce colastrum? Assuming the drugs enter the milk, what is the effect on the foal? What is the cost?

    • To properly induce the mare, your drug administration would be roughly $300-$500/mare, and none of these drugs are found harmful for the foal. Many of the mares are already on these treatments for other things (domperidone was found to treat fescue toxicosis). And unfortunately not, I do not believe these mares would produce colostrum, but that is easily supplemented!

    • The first ‘milk’ that comes in is actually colostrum, a thick, sticky, milky substance very rich in antibodies that the newborn foal needs within the first six hours after foaling, when its digestive system is set up to absorb the larger molecules. What drugs are you referring to ?

      • Lindsey–Mac had already mentioned colostrum, which I said could not be reproduced through the induction of lactation–but you can buy it from a clinic such as Hagyards, and then either tube feed or bottle feed it to the foal.

        Induction includes an estradiol cypionate injection, dosing with altrenogest, and then repeated administration of domperidone or sulpiride (I have been told sulpiride works better). All of these drugs are safe for use in both pregnant and nonpregnant mares.

        Just a side note–the GI tract shuts off in foals at approximately 24hours, not six. So you have a day to get colostrum into a foal.

    • You are milking the mare out many times a day. Even if she produced colostrum it would be completely stripped out. The process to produce the “first milk” the takes many many weeks on a normal mare. Even checking a normal mare with milk test strips designed to let you know when foaling is imminent places her at great risk for poor colestrum quality and its just a few drops a day. none if the large farms rely on this due to the risks of depleting her colostrum. BTW supplements that are powered and touted to be replacement colostrum don’t work. The molecule of colostrum is huge and gets destroyed in the dedication process involved in dehydration powering processing. Any colostrum supplementation has to be done hopefully with a GI tube in the first 12 to 24 hours of life. After that the foals gut wall changes and he’s no longer able to absorb the large molecule and it must be then done by IV plasma transfusion. Most foals that need a nurse mare are days to weeks old as they’ve been with their dams in the hospital. Even if their mother dies giving birth due to a ruptured uterin artery she will get milked out post mortem and her colestrum then bottle fed to he foal.

      • Colostrum is actually a very complex substance, not just one big molecule. We measure IgG (antibody) as a MEASURE of if colostrum intake was adequate, but that really is all IgG measurement functions as. There are many functions of colostrum and not just passive immunity acquired from the dam. It cannot be replicated with supplements, particularly those lyophilized IgG products. The immune protection can be replicated in part by administering fresh frozen plasma IV if for some reason the foal did NOT get ANY colostrum. A LOT of the immune protection is local, in the gut, and colostrum is useful no matter when it is given in the first few days of life if the foal has been deprived. It just won’t increase IgG much if given at more than 8-12 hours, even though it is commonly stated that the gut doesn’t ‘close’ for 24 hours. Closure depends on the gut being fed, so no colostrum, minimal feeding = minimal closure!

  4. As someone who has followed this organization for a while, this makes sense. I wondered how they were able to have job openings as if they were a for profit entity instead of soliciting volunteers. I considered “adopting” from them in order to have a buddy for my foal that is due in April to grow up with, but once I did the math, I realized that once I purchased the foal, hauled it to the farm, fed it appropriately for the recommended amount of time, and God forbid, have any extra vet bills from it, I might as well wait and purchase a papered weanling that would be easier to resell later if I decide to.

    • I agree with everything in your comment, but just want to dispel the myth that good non-profit organizations don’t have paid staff members. In many cases non-profits can exist on volunteer hours alone, but many responsible organizations find that in order them to do the best work and make the most difference they need paid staffers for certain positions. In my experience neither the presence nor absence of paid staff can truthfully indicate a “good” or “bad” nonprofit.

  5. In all the years I worked for race trying and breeding farms, not a single foal was removed from its mom and not one mare was used for a nurse mare. The mares did not start producing till they both proved themselves worthy of being bred and retired from the track.

  6. I scream foul each year this comes up. I have spoken to this rescue to see where they get their info and was told that some guy in LA actually does this so they assume everyone does. I gave them the Numbers which make no sense, but they wouldn’t listen. I told them how Florida Mares shipped to KY, NY, Canada and CA, along with their very own foals, in very nice Box Stalls, to be bred to Stallions standing at a distance.

  7. Great article. I have been fighting this fight for years. Trying to correct the misinformation that people lap up like a cat laps milk from a saucer. People can so quickly forget the things that they have always known – the rolling bluegrass hills filled with mares and foals, was that just staged? Or mares like Zenyatta with her foals. The question always came down to where they could’ve gotten the foals if this wasn’t happening, and I’m still not clear on that. But the fishy smell is real.

  8. Nurse mare foals often make GREAT horses for many riding disciplines! We have one that my teenage daughter helped break and train and they’re growing up together. She was a buddy foal for an orphaned thoroughbred and is a very special part of our family.

  9. Unfortunately they’ve also convinced nurse mare owners to give them their foals rather than bucket raising them themselves. I talked to once nurse mare owner who was really under the impression that she was doing something great by giving her foals to LCC. She’s one of the good ones too, the ones that take care of their mares, vaccinate, etc. I didn’t know what to tell her. I mean, is there a need for a place for some nurse mare foals to go? Yes. Is LCC going about this the wrong way? Absolutely, 100% wrong.

  10. Where are these foals coming from then? They are cross bred foals, with unknown backgrounds. So many that are days apart in ages. Seems unlikely unless the mare passed or is a nurse mare. I’ve always thought this rescue was one of the good ones, This is upsetting..

      • Have you personality been to LCC during foaling season? Or spoken to anyone at Last Chance Corral? Well I have several times. Yes the foals are mixed breeds and come in all Breeds, colors and ages from Hours old to days old to even weeks on a few lucky ones. The people both staff and volunteers alike, work endlessly to save the lives of these precious creatures. Last Chance Corral has a mortality rate of 2 percent. I have seen them come in so dehydrated they can’t stand or sick and near death, the really bad ones are the induced labor ones. Yes they really do that!! Have you been to the auctions that have in the past had nurse foals, where if to weak or sick they are thrown in the garbage.
        And no, nurse mares are not just used by TB owners. And no one ever said all TB foals were taken away from their moms. And yes these foals come from Providers some care for them and make sure they get colostrum and are stable before they are taken from their moms. But others are not so caring.
        As to having staff vs volunteers, does your university use volunteers to do medical research? At Last Chance Corral there are certain medical procedures that need a trained staff person to do. And Last Chance Corral MOST CERTAINLY has volunteers each and every day cleaning feces from butts and applying desitin cleaning stalls and endless loads of wash. And mixing endless buckets of milk and cleaning buckets and even just sitting on the floor giving love!!
        I understand the Video is eye opening AS IT SHOULD BE!!! Unless you plan to step into Last Chance Corrals shoes and save as many foals as they do, and have done for the last 38 years you really should stop taking quotes out of context. And go there and meet the people that are there day after day trying to save these little lives.

  11. Great points!
    We could induce lactation in mares without foals, especially with a little more research. I had a sweet young mare turned out with a couple of weanlings to babysit, and she started producing milk for them, despite the fact that she had never been bred. Had to wean them all over again!
    The cost would not be an issue to most big barns, and worth it for nice horses.

  12. Ive raised several bottle babies.my problem they make you take two.its really expensive to feed one let alone two.its bull that they dont do well..mine have grown up with adult horses. Loving and incredible babies.
    Never will answer where they get them.
    Why!!!!.they know where a particular load of foals come from.why all the invasiveness

  13. Bullshit! Of course you are going to say that nurse mares done exist you’re in the damn thoroughbred industry! You’re a liar and I would love to be the one to smack you across your face for doing so. I don’t see anyone in the racing industry raising these abandoned foals, probably because you are the ones killing them out back of the barn! Your story is totally full of lies about how the great and wonderful thoroughbred industry works, open your eyes people, the author is pulling the wool over them. Racing sucks, nurse mares exist and a lot of foals are simply left to die.

    • Denise,

      I can only combat your threats and hate with love.

      So, I would love to invite you to Lexington, KY where you can take a tour of a farm of your choice; or even the farm I live on, and see that none of these are lies.

      But until you come, you are more than welcome to keep your opinions posted on my blog, but you are NOT invited to threaten me. If you do so again, the comments will be deleted.

    • Hi Denise, I used to work in the Thoroughbred Industry and due to geographic constraints, I no longer work in horse racing. I tell you this to reiterate that I have no career/financial/political ties to the Thoroughbred Industry, therefore no reason to lie to you. Carleigh has lied about nothing. I have worked for 3 different commercial Thoroughbred breeding operations of various sizes and have never witnessed what Last Chance Corral speaks of. Instead of invoking violence with threats, perhaps a more productive approach would be to spend your energy researching the matter personally. Take up Carleigh’s offer: go to Lexington and learn about it firsthand. No one is trying to hide information from you, so step out from behind your keyboard and educate yourself, or at the very least, stop the threats. Threats of violence don’t make you seem knowledgeable or passionate, but rather quite ignorant. I will share with you a lesson that I learned in elementary school: bullying is not a sound or productive way to get your point across, but respectful, educated dialogue is.

    • I am deeply sorry to inform you that your threats and accusations are the ones that are wrong. I have been in this business since I was born, my whole family is in the thoroughbred business and not once in the multiple states or farms that I have worked for has a foal been put on a nurse mare for anything less than a life threatening circumstance where the mare could not feasibly raise the baby without fatal or near fatal consequences to the mare or foal. And I would never participate in the death of a nurse mare foal or any foal for that matter. It is my job to raise the healthiest happiest horses I can and I don’t care how much they cost or if they cost at all. it’s against everything I and the organization I work for stand for to flippantly end a horses life. I second whoever urged you to come visit a thoroughbred farm and see for yourself Instead of flouting your ignorance and making nasty comments you obviously know nothing about. I am sick and tired of listening to you people assume we are all the devil. Before you go parading your stupidity check a few facts.

    • Denise, I would question if you have spent any time in TB industry? You feel so strongly about your opinion yet your “facts” are so incorrect. Go to Lexington tour the farms. Go in the spring. You can tour most of the farms at no cost. They will take you through their paddocks where you will find hundreds of mares WITH their foals. The general practice is to keep the foal by their side outside of extenuating circumstances. I’m only speaking for those facts that you have so misconstrued. I have no opinion on LCC simply because I’ve never looked into them or what they do. I’m only speaking for the misunderstanding about the TB industry.

    • Thank you Denise! I can’t wait for the documentary/movie or is that also be “lies and fraudulent”! The author has her own agenda…

    • Nurse mares are not produced for the thoroughbred industry exclusively, can be used for any horse of value that is to be bred back, readied for the show ring, etc…. Nurse mare foals are the product of the sport horse industry.

    • If you look at what the TB Race Track industry does at the other end, throwing away non performing or injured and unable to perform TBs, that perspective might make it easier to understand what they do at the foaling end. Check out TBFriends.com. Guy named Joe in Woodland, Calif rescues thrown away TB from the race track from kill pens or other places they are tossed to. He has done this in a big way for a long time. They doctor them back to health and then sell them to the public for the costs they have into the TB. Also, look up Alexander Nevzorov. “The Crusifixtion and Resurection of the Horse, Russian film maker and horse lover who, among others, has in this film examples of the terrible treatment TBs receive at the hands of their loving owners. Pin firing and other methods used to patch up TBs so they can get them back out on the track and try and make some more money. Until they break down for good and are thrown away.

      • I would have to strongly disagree John. The Tb industry is one of the ONLY breed industries that has an entire sector dedicated to the rehoming, rehabbing, and retraining horses who re done with their first career. Look at New Vocations, The Secretariat Center, CANTER, Turning for Home, ReRun, the TCA, the TAA, just to name a few. We breed only a portion of what other registries do, and also have specific monetary allotments to fund criticL research that benefits all equids. So no, I would have to STRONGLY disagree with you.

        And if you don’t agree? Read through a few more of my blogs. I’m currently retraining 3 OTTB’s. All three were followed by their Breeders, retired when they needed to be, rehabbed if they were injured, and then placed with me. 3 different horses. 3 different owners.

    • OH please. I worked 8 years in the industry and never one time saw a nursemare, And it is a money making scam for these people. You are the one that needs to open their eyes.

    • What?? You prefer that a foal die if the dam is not capable of raising it?

  14. I have supported Last Chance Corral for years. They are an honest rescue effort to save foals that would otherwise be killed. Their mothers were taken from them for whatever reason the owner wanted to do this. How dare you try to ruin the reputation of such a quality rescue. They perpetuate nothing. They barely make it on the donations they get. They will even save horses from the Kill Pens when they can. Are you trying to put them away to serve your own needs, sounds like it. You should be praising them not disparaging them.

    • And how dare you let a so called honest company try to ruin an entire industry with their false accusations. Like everyone above has said, no Thoroughbred mare is removed from their baby permanently when they are bred, and if you want proof, come to KY and see Thoroughbred mares with their babies and how well they are taken care of.

  15. I’m confused. So when a nurse mare has a foal, and you need the nurse mare for a TB foal, where does the nurse mare foal go? And how does LCC get their foals? And if you are getting your nurse mares from a source outside your stables, how do you know what is done with the nurse mare foal? I’m just trying to follow this. If you create foals from nurse mares at your farm, what is done with those nurse mare foals? Are they sold? And if you get nurse mare foals from an outside source, how do you know what is done with the nurse mare foals? I used to see some FB postings by LCC and those babies were cute as can be, but I do want to understand how it works. I know that all rescues are not without controversy on how they run their business. Thanks in advance.

    • Usually the nurse mare provider will raise the nurse mare foal, if its mom has to raise another foal.The farm I work at uses a nurse mare provider who raises the foal. He keeps the fillies as future nurse mares and trains and sells the colts to be used as riding horses. It’s not just Thoroughbreds that use nurse mares by the way.

  16. Having worked and volunteered for the Last Chance Corral for more than 15 years I can only say that your article is devoid of pertinent facts and sources.
    $300,000 in donations? Even if correct this is not cash but likely about 50% in material donations (horses & tack) with artificially high appraisal by the donor or donors agent for the donor’s tax benefit, as is almost always the case.
    Draft, QH, Gaited, Paint, etc crosses – as I have been there helping off and on for MANY foal seasons and adopted a few of the foals myself I can state that almost all appear to be either 1/2 TB crosses of the aforementioned or half completely unknown (teaser pony?)
    “Born to Die” was not produced by the LCC but more likely by a student at Ohio U so that misunderstandings can easily take place and drama is perhaps part of the grade for the course the video was created for. Victoria Goss has never claimed that all farms use these mares – this is a fairly limited problem 200 mares bred for (last I researched, ~20,000 tb foals and who knows how many of other breeds). Regardless, the LCC would rather be rescuing far fewer foals because their care is VERY expensive (many arrive nearly dead from dehydration and/or diarrhea) and they’re difficult to find homes for.
    Inducing lactation with drugs is one possible solution but many of those who lease the mares are skeptical – they want natural hormones to help the mare accept a foreign foal. Worse than that, many of the nursemare “proprietors” are complete backwoods hillbillies who would not even know where to begin.
    In short, my husband and I are extremely disappointed in your distortion of the facts and purposefully tarnishing the reputation of an organization that in no way promotes nursemare use and simply provides a caring, labor intensive, and costly solution to a problem that does exist. Your logic is flawed, canceling your support of women’s shelters will not result in fewer abused women!

    • Thank you Lani! Carleigh Fedorka has already tainted a fb friend of mine. Last Chance Corral is a reputable rescue and thank god for the babies they save!!!

      • Catherine–who did I taint? TBSH? You do know that Geena, Sandra’s daughter has come home to take over their business since I wrote this blog–right? I don’t think that was a coincidence that they changed management….

    • They took in over 316,000 dollars in 2014, that is on their tax records. How dare you try to perpetuate the lies they tell. That is public information and called a 990. But you could look it up if you would take the time to actively think about what you are doing..

      You are part of the scam in other words.

  17. Well, then, these two women ought to get together and talk and get the real information out to the public.

    • Karen, I have offered to speak with Victoria on the record. I have also reached out to the producers of the documentary with this blog. I am open and available. Victoria has deleted every comment and every blog. So if anyone can arrange it, I am there.

  18. Have you personality been to LCC during foaling season? Or spoken to anyone at Last Chance Corral? Well I have several times. Yes the foals are mixed breeds and come in all Breeds, colors and ages from Hours old to days old to even weeks on a few lucky ones. The people both staff and volunteers alike, work endlessly to save the lives of these precious creatures. Last Chance Corral has a mortality rate of 2 percent. I have seen them come in so dehydrated they can’t stand or sick and near death, the really bad ones are the induced labor ones. Yes they really do that!! Have you been to the auctions that have in the past had nurse foals, where if to weak or sick they are thrown in the garbage.
    And no, nurse mares are not just used by TB owners. And no one ever said all TB foals were taken away from their moms. And yes these foals come from Providers some care for them and make sure they get colostrum and are stable before they are taken from their moms. But others are not so caring.
    As to having staff vs volunteers, does your university use volunteers to do medical research? At Last Chance Corral there are certain medical procedures that need a trained staff person to do. And Last Chance Corral MOST CERTAINLY has volunteers each and every day cleaning feces from butts and applying desitin cleaning stalls and endless loads of wash. And mixing endless buckets of milk and cleaning buckets and even just sitting on the floor giving love!!
    I understand the Video is eye opening AS IT SHOULD BE!!! Unless you plan to step into Last Chance Corrals shoes and save as many foals as they do, and have done for the last 38 years you really should stop taking quotes out of context. And go there and meet the people that are there day after day trying to save these little lives.

  19. Have you personality been to LCC during foaling season? Or spoken to anyone at Last Chance Corral? Well I have several times. Yes the foals are mixed breeds and come in all Breeds, colors and ages from Hours old to days old to even weeks on a few lucky ones. The people both staff and volunteers alike, work endlessly to save the lives of these precious creatures. Last Chance Corral has a mortality rate of 2 percent. I have seen them come in so dehydrated they can’t stand or sick and near death, the really bad ones are the induced labor ones. Yes they really do that!! Have you been to the auctions that have in the past had nurse foals, where if to weak or sick they are thrown in the garbage.
    And no, nurse mares are not just used by TB owners. And no one ever said all TB foals were taken away from their moms. And yes these foals come from Providers some care for them and make sure they get colostrum and are stable before they are taken from their moms. But others are not so caring.
    As to having staff vs volunteers, does your university use volunteers to do medical research? At Last Chance Corral there are certain medical procedures that need a trained staff person to do. And Last Chance Corral MOST CERTAINLY has volunteers each and every day cleaning feces from butts and applying desitin cleaning stalls and endless loads of wash. And mixing endless buckets of milk and cleaning buckets and even just sitting on the floor giving love!!
    I understand the Video is eye opening AS IT SHOULD BE!!! Unless you plan to step into Last Chance Corrals shoes and save as many foals as they do, and have done for the last 38 years you really should stop taking quotes out of context. And go there and meet the people that are there day after day trying to save these little lives.

  20. “It is a film to show how every thoroughbred mare is pulled off of her foal in order to be rebred, and how every thoroughbred foal is then placed on a nurse mare in order to get the milk that she is producing.” If you watch the film Last Chance Corral never claims EVERY thoroughbred foal is pulled, they also do not claim every nurse mare foal farm discards the foals. they do claim it does happen and and it happens frequently. Happening AT ALL is not ok. Before you go bashing Last Chance Corral go volunteer their and see first hand what happens there and the sad state these foals arrive in. The world needs more Victoria Goss!!!

    • Nope…I have seen where they have claimed every TB foal born is put on a nursemare, to the tune of 20,000 foals a year. Which is funny because most years TB registers about 20,000 foals.

      It is a lie.

  21. If we use your definition of fraud then the tbred industry is as guilty as Last Chance Corral. Indeed your representation of the tbred industry as an industry that cares about its horses and you proudly point to aftercare programs as an example. I have been pulling tbreds from the jaws of death since the early 1980s. Indeed the industry is doing much better now with respect to its horses. But why is that? Did all tbred people suddenly grow a heart and have a revelation that they really needed to care for their animals? No a tour of the minutes of the Jockey Club and current day economics gives you the answer and it has little to do with the welfare of the horse. The untimely death of Ferdinand to slaughter and the many pesky NY Times articles about the track to slaughter tract of the tbred industry along with the growing realization by the JC that entertainment dollars were going to things other than racing made those kind and loving souls in the JC board rooms realize that racing had to clean up its act in order to stand half a chance in staying profitable for anyone. Hence aftercare and adoption programs were born. ” see look at us..see how much we care about our horses” When you look at so many of these horses they come with the words ” low level career, not for jumping, recovering from ….(fill in the blanks), makes a good companion … People who care about their horses aren’t putting their “beloved” two year olds into training ( AQHA is as guilty) and having throw always by the age of three or four Horses are faster when they are younger but certainly not physically mature at 2 or 3 and ready to run for their lives..literally. And yes there are many less tbreds going to slaughter. And why is that? Well if you look at how racing is collapsing, tracks closing, and registrations falling ( indeed by half in the past 20 years) you realize that of course there are less horses going to slaughter. There are simply thousands of less tbreds being born each year. Duh! Racing is a dying sport. The public doesn’t care and doesn’t relate to it and doesn’t spend money on it. In your lifetime it will be gone and regarded with dismay by future generations that people could treat animals that way. I cannot tell you how many breeders and trainers I’ve called asking for a contribution to pull their “beloved” and “well cared for” animals put of the slaughter pipeline and how many of those people have laughed at me and not contributed a fracking nickel for their “beloved” and “well cared for” horses. They didn’t care because the hirse was not their responsibility and they weren’t spending another nickel on a horse that hadn’t made them any money or broke down or didn’t want to run. And you have the temerity to call out a rescue that is caring for throwaways? And yes nursemare foals are real and yes there are those in the tbred business that use them. These foals are bred in anticipation of market demand. You and your friends can sit around and high five yourselves for how noble you all are but spare the rest of us from your self aggrandizing fantasies. I have seen too much and still experience to much to do anything but shake my head in despair realizing that with that kind of attitude things won’t get better for these animals.. The tbreds or the foals.

    • BRAVA!!! Patricia. I have had a long train of blown out legs and ruined feet from TB horses right off the track. Mostly, though, it’s their minds that have been blown. They were denied a childhood and put into work before well before their psyches and their bones could handle the stress. It’s an industry built upon gambling. Is there anything more corrupt?

      • Jeannie–for every horse that you have found “abused” by horse racing, I can find you 10 that have been held in the highest level of care and were retired to sound.

  22. I’m confused, I have read the article, I still don’t have an answer to why, where, how these foals are coming up with no mothers????? If these babies aren’t born to die, WHY ARE THEY WITHOUT MOTHERS IS THE QUESTION. So you are basically saying ( I’m not stating I’m asking) That LCC is in with shit bags that breed mares, take their Babies away then pull the heartstrings of caring humans just to make big money???? So therefore someone just made up a business of making money this way? I truly am confused.I do agree that the TB industry should not be singled out in the opening statements, I’m sure all industries are involved.

    • Beth,

      If you read my previous blog about Transparency in the TB industry, I explain when and why we utilize nursemares in the breeding industry. I have never said that we do not use them, but I argue with the amount used and the reasons why. LCC would have you believe that all 20,000 TB mares bred a year will be pulled from their foals to be rebred, and this is simply ludicrous. In the 500+ mares that I have foaled, I have used a nursemare FOUR times. All because the mare died. Artificial insemination plays NO part in this, and LCC is utilizing our use of live cover as a platform that makes no sense.

      • when you use a nurse mare due to problems with the original mother, what happens to the nurse mare’s foal?

      • It is raised by either the provider or the farm and either kept in the herd as a future nurse mare, sold as a teaser, or castrated and sold as a riding horse.

    • It is a scam.

      You can find foals for free at many auctions, you can also get them from the feral horses in the coal mining country, not that hard to come up with foals if you are going to profit from having ones needing rescue.

  23. Need an outsider to write this vs someone so closely involved with the industry who’s clearly biased (and profiting).

    If you’ve ever worked at a rescue, shelter, non-profit, etc you’d know how difficult it can be to have reliable, committed volunteers. Volunteers are exactly that and often have jobs, responsibilities, etc. Having paid staff is not a negative, it’s necessary.

    These foals need round the clock care when they first arrive if they’re to survive, having enough hands is not a luxury, it’s imperative.

    Have you actually seen the facility? It’s charming but Victoria isn’t exactly living in a mansion or driving a Rolls Royce. Have you seen some of the farms around Lexington? It’s clear who’s sitting on the bulk of $$$$.

    If nurse mare operations are to give the cast off foals a decent start and ensure a quality life why breed crosses vs something they can paper so they’re more marketable? Why continue to breed with so many already going to slaughter (20,000+ being TBs)? Seems counterproductive from an industry that “cares so much”. New Vocations, CANTER, ReRun, etc are great but only necessary due to the constant churn.

    Don’t misunderstand; TBs are my favorite breed and the years I spent working the backside gave me a vested understanding of the industry. But I’ve also worked with rescue organizations and see the thankless toil and efforts, it’s not for the weak of heart or those looking to get rich quick.

    Shame on someone from the industry for targeting a group that’s trying to clean up the mess you contribute to.

    • Shame on me? The person who is not targeting anyone who is doing this in a correct way. The Lexington Equine Humane Society is also adopting out nursemare foals-do you see me condemn them? No. Because they are not procreating falsities about the industry. Fundraise ethically, fundraise correctly, and I will back away. But as long as you continue to lie about and belittle the industry, I will stand on the rooftops and explain to people the lies they are spewing.

      Ps–I am no longer “so connected.” I am obtaining a PhD in veterinary sciences. Not managing a farm. Not owning racehorses. So at the crux of my livelihood is ethics. Something LCC would benefit from gaining.

      • I have read your post, and what i hear you saying is that the nurse mare foals are born in order to save another foal that will be more profitable or has superior athletic genes.

    • Something everyone who is donating to ANY registered and TAX EXEMPT charity, as LLC is, should be aware of. They (LLC) are required to provide a publicly readily accessible accounting of the money that is donated, how it is spent, how much they pay everyone employed by the charity, how much the director and BOD are paid, and any other income sources. There should be NO PROFIT at the end of the tax year. It appears from examination of the website that LLC does none of this and has even been sanctioned/listed as failing by the local Better Business Bureau in the very large majority of measures that are used by the BBB. No list of BOD, no salaries, no accounting, no list of employees etc etc. It appears to me that they are actually selling and not adopting out these foals. They are saving on lot of money by using their tax exempt status and that actually needs to be investigated, if anyone knows a tax investigator! You want to ‘save’ one? Contact any nearby nurse mare farms and see if you can get one from them! If LLC is ‘saving’ foals from distant nurse mare farms, that may be the reason why they arrive in poor shape if they have a long transport in the type of vehicle I saw in the video. If they are an HONEST charity and rescue, they will provide all needed information to make a sound judgement for potential donors related to the value of their contribution. LLC also completely refuses to answer any direct questions, including regarding the cost of adopting unless you have already signed up to be an ‘adopter'(purchaser). I am very happy to support legitimate and transparent horse rescuers, LLC is simply not one of them.

      • Thank-you Pamela Great post. It also appears the taxes are not done by a professional.
        Thanks to Carleigh for Keeping a cool head while replying to some of the nasty comments!!.
        First, this if for some of the other comments on here, I’m not questioning the facility or its volunteers, they seem like the are very compassionate about what they do .As for volunteers commenting, read carefully: LCC is NOT being attacked as to the care giving to these foals or the condition of the facility, STOP telling people to go volunteer there, as I’m sure volunteers are not allowed to go threw the books. Its about the tactic they use to promote there fundraising. If you still feel the need to comment, please have legit “(meaning physical proof)” answers to my concerns below!
        With that said, My questions are about the numbers(taxes) they don’t add up and and how they acquire these foals, plus the promotional tactics they use to get funding.

  24. If any of you think LLC volunteers are rolling in money your fools. NO ONE in horse rescue makes money, ever. I’ve been to Victoria’s the pen the babies are in is right outside her back door, her kitchen window looks out on the nursery. Everything Victoria has goes to these babies, everything. The farms you say take care of the nurse mare foals are the big farm/breeders the ones who do care but have the money to do so. The big name breeders aren’t the problem it’s the small breeders that can’t afford to take care of the foals they have. I think there are valid arguments to your artical AI would be a huge mistake in my opinion. However your blanket statements on LLC are inflammatory at best.

    • My blanket statement? Go listen to the documentary or read their website. They are LYING, it is plain and simple. I have no issue with what they do-adopt as many foals as you want-but asking for funds based on a lie is fraud. Plain and simple. Stop lying, and you stop committing fraud.

  25. If, as you claim,, this documentary is lying, then please do explain where all the foals they rescue come from. I’m not talking about two or three here, two or three there, I’m talking about dozens and dozens of them. Go on then, tell us where these foals are coming from. We’re waiting.

    • And if they are telling the truth? Then why isn’t lcc openly calling their believers to protest in front of the nursemare farms? At racetracks? Suggest that and see how far you get.

      And not that hard to end up with foals either, not that hard to have people breeding them for you to use as bait for donations.

    • I am wondering the same thing. Why has this outfit just hit 100 motherless foals for this year alone? As far as I’m concerned, deliberately creating even one foal just to throw it away to save another is inexcusable. They don’t “need” nurse mares. The want them to keep the money flowing and make their own lives easier.

  26. It seems to me – from very far away – that there are elements of truth re both sides of this issue. USA is a vast country and I cannot possibly fully understand the scenarios and differences – heck – just in teeny weeny UK we have the horrors of puppy mills that we cannot get sorted out and far too many animal welfare issues arising ‘under the radar’ here – I wish it were not so. Thankfully there are also many folk who are empowered to address these situations (usually with inadequate resources) and others who do their very best to back them up by providing rescue care. Usually without adequate funding.
    My understanding of your racing industry is that it is vastly different to U.K. Rules and regulations – certainly as regards medication and doping allowability – which appear to be different with variable enforcement in different states. So perhaps it is possible that there are ‘rogue’ breeders and exploitative nurse mare providers in some areas who are guilty of the reported dumping of unwanted foals – even if this is not happening within the ‘best practice’ TB stables. I would guess too there may still be some Premarin premises. And possibly breeders looking towards the sushi market who will happily sell to the highest and easiest bidder.
    None of this denies there being a basic honesty and authenticity of LCC – who appear to be achieving success in their mission to assist survival and optimise futures of foals without mothers (for whatever reason). Doubtless the exact use of words on some posts may be a little lax and lacking absolute validity – but show me an internet site – or a user! – that never makes mistakes… but this is not a valid reason for condemnation of LCC activities. And people who volunteer to help raise foals may not be willing (or have time and energy) to travel distances and wage protest campaigns.
    I appreciate that there must be areas of the racing industry who are trying to promote best practice and highest welfare, with lifelong care as the gold standard. Realism is required, however, in a country who export so very many thousands of horses into the slaughter pipeline, many with evidence of racing tattoos and post-race sweat and saddle marks. That these do not have authentic ‘passports’ and should not be legally entering the food chain is both without question and unquestioned… and is indefensible. And largely irrelevant to this post.
    So maybe we need to recognise that both sides of this issue hold elements of truth, and honesty – seriously deserving respect – but are also, maybe unintentionally, wearing blinkers…

  27. Humans betray horses over and over. From the millions that died carrying humans in to war and then if they survived being eaten…to those that carried humans burdens and bodies all over before the automobile. Not to mention agriculture where they were sent to slaughter by the thousands once tractors came in to use. And the mustangs, made in to dog food and popularized by Rin Tin Tin.
    There is not need to race horses at all. It is all for human greed and ego. They start the horses to young. And when they are broken they dump them one way or another. And what about the elderly brood mares? Do they retire them?
    The TB ‘industry’ used to send horses directly to slaughter, selling them right off the track to the trucks.
    It is only because this practice was brought to light that any change happened at all.
    Shameful.

    • Wise Pati,

      I have a field of 10 pensioned (retired) broodmares in my back yard. My boyfriend is the broodmare manager at Mt Brilliant Farm and they’re retiring another this year. I know for a fact that the other large breeding farms here in Lexington have the same-including Lane’s End.

      I own 3 OTTB’s personally. Each were retired sound by their connections. Each given to me for free. None were dumped, none needed rescued.

      So in a nutshell, you picked the wrong person and the wrong blog to lament about the TB industry too.

  28. carleoghfedorka, I am doing a reseach paper and I was wondering where you got the statistic of how many nurse mare foals are needed each year. I would appreciate any other statistics you could share as well. I am not a fan of the use of nurse mares as an industry, believe in HIL, and I thoroughly support good rescues, I have also seen “rescue retail” so I would like to get information from as many sources as possible.

    • Aireal, you would have to do your own epidemiological study for true “statistics” I was simply citing my own personal knowledge which encompasses the majority of the TB breeding farms here in Lexington. My boyfriend has foaled roughly 1,500 mares and has used 5-10 nursemares. I have foaled 500 and I have used 4.

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