The elite of the horse world are the high-dollar mares. They are show animals or racing animals, bringing high dollars for their foals because they have a history of excellence and winning. For them, time is money and it's important that the mare be kept busy birthing instead of spending weeks nursing her offspring. That job is given to a nurse mare.
Much like the old-time wet nurse employed by wealthy mothers throughout history, the nurse mare is of uncertain or unimportant bloodlines and incapable of bringing substantial income to her owner. In order to nurse the important foal, she must have recently given birth and produce the necessary milk. The question is: What becomes of the nurse mare's foal?
By many called a “junk foal,” this unfortunate newborn is considered a necessary
evil, a disposable byproduct. The cost of trying to nurse this foal until it is
weaned is high, so often the“junk foal” is killed outright and disposed of.
Sometimes it's shipped off to auction and bought by manufacturers who use its
hide to make expensive bags or shoes. Whatever its fate, the nurse mare's foal
is considered an unimportant nuisance.
The nurse mare’s foal is usually taken from its mother anytime from one day to a
week after birth instead of the ten to twelve weeks that foals commonly nurse.
The times vary, depending on when the high-dollar mare foals. Generally the
nurse mare is shipped off to the farm to nurture and foster the high-priced foal.
The horse industry benefits from this barbaric practice because the high-dollar mare gets back in shape more quickly, so she can show well and invite more offers for her offspring. While some stables allow the mare three to four weeks to
recuperate after giving birth, many are sent to the stallion for rebreeding
within seven to ten days of giving birth.
There are Equine Rescue Leagues that have spent their time, energy, and money to help the rejected foals. Without them, more of these small lives would be lost. Most of the rescuers are knowledgeable, but there are a few well-intentioned people who want to save the newborns without any knowledge of horses. In some cases these organizations succeed almost by accident, and in others they make matters worse for the animals in their care. Unfortunately these groups sometimes rely on unscrupulous people, self-proclaimed experts who have their own hidden
The lucky foal is adopted by people who know and love horses or who go out of their way to learn the needs and care of this fragile baby animal. Too many are
adopted by men and women who know little or nothing about horses, let alone the
unique care these foals require, and the new owners soon become overwhelmed. As a result, some foals are bought and sold several times before they reach
maturity. Others die from lack of proper nutrition and proper parasite control.
The nurse mare's foal unfortunate enough to fall into the wrong hands usually
grows up with multiple deformities and bone development problems. Some have
social development issues, never learning how to be a horse or understanding the
role of a horse with a human companion.
This book is the story of one nurse mare's foal and its fight for survival.
Marta Moran Bishop and Toni Boyle
My heart and soul are full today; the holiday season has brought peace and joy to me. Spending time with family on
Christmas Eve and then spending Christmas with my husband, watching the Kittens play with their toys.
Our three horses were so overjoyed with the extra treats in their breakfast bucket and the extra time we spent with them. It was a quiet day, Ken and I watched a few movies some old John Wayne and some new brought a much needed respite for both of us.
I hope all of you had a joyous Holiday season, however you celebrate it and wish for all a happy, prosperous and healthy New Year. Blessings
Spirits danced high on waves of colored lights
Joyful song, laughter and well wishes fill the air
Kittens snuggled up near the woodstove today
Warming their backsides on this cold winter day
Bless all the children and the furbabies too.
I care not what your race is for we all come from the same foundation.
I care not what religion you practice, for all paths lead to the same source.
I care not how much you have in your bank account for this is not who you are.
I care not how high your education level is, for ignorance isn’t the mark of a formal education.
I do care how you treat people, men, women, children, and animals.
I do care how hard you will try to understand others.
I do care whether or not you attempt to accept others or judge them without
I do care whether you wish to leave the world a better place.
I do care if your thoughts are only upon your own status.
I do care if you only think of those whose beliefs or lives are what you think they should
I’m a living, breathing person
I think, work, and love as you do
I’m not an extension of you
Nor am I a part of the house
Not just mother or grandmother
I’m not a breeding animal
Nor child needing a parent
I’m a woman with desires
The need to be loved, heard, and seen
Recognized as a human being
Copyrighted 2012 Marta Moran
All six stockings hung above the fireplace, one for each of us. Slyly looking at the stockings each time one of
us went by, the report was the same, nothing, nada, they were still empty. Of course, none of us had shown any knowledge of them when the momma’s were around. It was fun to hear them all wondering about our lack of interest.
“It has to be soon.” I told Poofie.
“They put up the tree and decorated it days ago. I even helped momma Marta to make our little catnip balls today, but I don’t know where they disappeared to.” Beau added.
Poofie’s had a gray coat with little white stockings and a white collar, and I was totally black, we always got the short end of the stick when it came to spying, it was the two of us that did the extra round. Of course, there were reasons for this. Mamma Paula always noticed Kitten; he could barely walk through the house without her playing with him or petting him. It was revolting to watch. Morris and Champ’s coat was bright orange, so they were too conspicuous and Mikey. Well he was just a kitten and always distracted or into something. His calico gray coat would have made him an ideal candidate for spying. He couldn’t be trusted to carry out a mission, because of his youth.
After everyone had walked through once, Poofie and I as usual did the rest of the undercover work. After all, we couldn’t let the Mamma’s notice we were interested in our little stockings. They might take them down and make us wait.
“Beau, you are so much older than I am. Since we moved to this house, everything has been different. Poofie asked. Have you ever seen the momma’s just hang the stockings and leave them empty Beau? Do you think they going to fill them?”
“Poofie, I don’t know, everything is different tonight. I never saw things happen this way. Beau said”
In fact, everything had been different since we moved here. Gone was the snow we used to see when we looked out the windows, so many months of the year. The days here were foggy in the morning and sunny in the afternoon. This house was darker than all the others; we had lived in, especially the last. Still we all preferred it to that first house. The first one we lived in, when we moved out here to the land of sunshine and flowers. The first house was smaller and high up in the air, with a door that opened to an outside area.
The outside area wasn’t for us cat’s we always heard the mommas say. Seldom could we even see a bird circling over the water if we strained our eyes. If we sat on the top of a chair or the couch we could see the ocean off in the distance, but that was about it. In this house, they seldom opened the back door so we didn’t get to sniff the air. The mommas didn’t like the noise from the highway, but the back yard held all kinds of
critters and birds to watch and it filled our days. There was a lot of room for all of us to run and play. Best of all the mammas all had their own rooms again.
It was in that first house that we all met. Kitten and Mama Paula moved in last. They had a separate room for many months. Mamma Paula worried about Kitten and so the rest of us could not go into that room. We didn’t much like that. Closed doors are never a pleasant thing as for the six of us. Cats don’t believe in we should be barred by a door.
Those first months were difficult, especially when Kitten moved out of the room and joined the rest of us. He always got into a fight with someone. As a result of his fighting, none of us could figure out why mamma Paula worried about him. He especially didn’t like Mickey, once they got into a brawl that woke the momma’s Marta and Pat, in the
middle of the night. That was not a happy scene. The rest of us hid during the bulk of it all though we watched. Kitten jumped and bit mommy Marta on her backside, when she bent down to separate the two of them. Lordy, it was a sight. In the middle of the night, mamma Pat sat in her motor chair, and cleaned up the blood from mamma Marta’s backside, but I digress.
“I signaled to Poofie, we crossed the room, slinking away through the shadows to meet our friends. We had a report to give. The excitement in the air was tremendous. Even
old Morris loved Christmas. Little Mikey asked. “I heard the momma’s talking about Santa Claus, is that who will fill our stockings?”
“It could be.” I answered him, as Poofie and I reported that all the mommas were still sitting and watching TV. “The stockings are still empty.” Poofie said. “It doesn’t appear anything will be happening tonight. Morris do you have a rule to help with this situation?” He asked. “I can’t figure out how to train the mommas’s to fill our stockings.”
Interrupting Kitten piped in. “Can I go get my brushing then? If we aren’t to get our stockings tonight, I would like to get my brushing. I don’t honestly care about catnip
“Kitten, you are such a brush slut.” Morris said full of disgust. “Can’t you leave it be for one night? After all, there are more momentous things going on just now. You may not be interested in catnip toys, but the rest of us are. I suppose if you aren’t going to help, you might as well go and get your brushing, but keep your mouth shut around the momma’s, please.”
“Stay out of my life Morris.” Kitten snarled. “Don’t be so snarky, if I prefer brushing to catnip it is none of your business, and don’t act like I am not stupid, of course, I won’t tell
“Shush, one of the mommas turned off the TV. Something is happening.” Champ said diffusing the situation.
Sure enough the mommas gave each
other a hug and went into their separate rooms, our stockings still empty. Each of the mammas called out for us to come to bed. Kitten tearing off, he never missed going to bed with mamma Paula. Though, he did come out later to play or terrorize Mikey if he could get away with it.
“Morris, you are the oldest, what do you think Santa Claus and the momma’s will put in our stockings this year? Do you think we will get any other presents?” Champ asked
“Champ, there are already bright packages under the tree, that I think are for us, but you can go look if you want.” He answered. “Now everyone off to bed, we will meet up later. I expect Kitten will find us, even though he didn’t wait to find out the meeting spot.”
The house remained quiet for a while; soon I heard mammas Paula and Marta. Quietly we made our way out of the bedroom. Poofie and I watched as the mammas stood at the fireplace filling our little stockings to the brim and giggling. From the shadows, I signaled Poofie to sneak over near me. “Beau, should I go tell the others?” Poofie asked. “Not yet Poofie, the mammas are still up, let’s go back to bed with mamma Pat, until
they go back to sleep.” I whispered as we both crept through the shadows, to mamma Pats room.
“Shush, Beau, if you keep banging the stocking so loud, you’ll wake the mammas.” Morris whispered. “Let me take a turn, I am taller.” Morris said as he began to jump to reach for his stocking.
All of a sudden the room was full of light! We all turned and scurried out of the room. Leaving one stocking on the floor half open. “You were too loud Morris.” Champ whined, watching the mammas taking the little stockings off the fireplace and removing them from the room. “Now we will all have to wait.” He said sadly.
From: Keeping the Upper Paw: The cat’s guide to training your human.
Copyrighted 2002 and 2012 Marta Moran Bishop
Whether I am reading, or writing I am taken out of myself and will return more enlightened. From the magic of the places I have been, the people I have met, and the story that captured me for a while.