What are nurse mare foals?
Nurse mare foals are a byproduct of the racing and show horse industry. No, they are not the foals born into this industry;
they are born to the mares that often raise these fine champions, while these foals are left without much opportunity to survive.
Expensive show and racing broodmares are bred back each year, usually during their foal heat, but due to the requirements of many
registries they cannot be artificially inseminated. As a result, the mare is required to be transported to the breeding farms for a
period of about 30-40 days. Due to the high value and insurance restriction associated with her newborn foal it remains at the owner's
farm and is nursed and nurtured by a surrogate nurse mare. The mares’ own foals are left without the care they need to survive and
they often die or are sold to tanners where they are killed for their hides.
Recently much has been learned about this little known industry and many nurse mare farms are beginning to attempt to correct the
inherent wrongs of the industry. More and more farms are placing their foals with rescue groups and others who can give the foals
the care they need to grow and thrive. However, the cost in time and money can be astronomical. These foals need constant care and
commitment, just as any baby does.
The AHDF supports new regulations proposed by the equine industry that would ensure that all nurse mare foals be at least 2 months old
before being separated from their mother and that the industry support the rescues that take in these foals. This is an old industry,
one that has remained hidden for decades, but one that needs to change NOW.
You can help protect these helpless foals by refusing to buy items made from “pony skins”. Many people do not realize that these items
come from these young defenseless foals. Do not buy ropes, tail extensions or other items made from horse hair at all unless they can
guarantee that the hair is gathered humanely from LIVE horses (most are not).