Orphan nurse mare foals are a by-product of the so-called nurse mare industry. They are babies born from a mare that was specifically bred to provide milk for a "more wanted" foal such as a race horse or show horse. Once the call comes to lease the nurse mare, her baby own is no longer wanted or needed.
These foals are very young when intentionally separated from their mothers, sometimes only days old. Historically these foals have been killed or sent to slaughter, but recently many horse rescues are stepping up to take some of these babies and raise them. The foals must be purchased from the farmers by the rescues then shipped to the rescue location. Being so young they require a tremendous amount of care such as feeding every 4 hours - some can drink from a bucket, but others still need to be bottle fed.
So there you have it - lovely industry, isn't it! Thankfully there are rescues out there who are willing to do the work to save these little babies. Pure Thoughts Horse Rescue (www.pthr.org) has taken in a large number of nurse mare foals over the last 10 years. Because of the way they are raised and hand-fed, most of these foals are very attached to people and make wonderful companion horses. In the next few days, I hope to bring you a success story about 2 little nurse mare foals who are all grown and living a wonder