Snow Day: The Tragic Consequence and Life-Affirming Perseverance of the Nurse Foal

Snow Day:  The Tragic Consequence and Life-Affirming Perseverance of the Nurse Foal

By Anna Twinney

I had never seen a horse graze from its knees. But that was exactly what Snow, a majestic, 2-year old, Appaloosa Colt was doing. I thought to myself, “I couldn’t have made him do that, I barely touched his line.” I had wanted to move a short distance, so I could relax on the bleachers nearby while he ate, but just requesting those few steps made him drop to his knees. Perhaps it was a desperate attempt to stay on the lush patch of grass or, potentially, a learned behavior pattern.

I reassured him he could stay. He got back on his feet and walked with me so I could sit down.   I could have ignored this mannerism and chalked it up to a fun story about a playful and mischievous colt, but the behavior was so unusual I felt the origin was worth exploring.

I also noted that instead of nibbling at the grass and continuously picking little tufts, like most horses, he took chunks of grass. He filled his whole mouth with one bite and would bring his head up high, as he did his best to swallow the mouthful.   At first I thought it might be that he needed to settle into a groove, but it became clear this was his way of eating. He looked rushed and was taking whatever he could get. With each mouthful he would take the grass out by the roots before moving onto another. There was no casual grazing.   Snow’s way of eating resembled a hungry orphan or someone who was never taught how to eat. I had not seen this behavior before either.

Not everyone would have noticed his unique way of eating, but I did and had to wonder where it originated. A herd will mirror one another and casually graze with their heads down for long periods of time. It’s a beautifully tranquil and spiritual occurrence, to watch wild ones blissfully eat in harmony, but this was not the case with Snow. I wondered if he had ever learned to graze and if this was as a direct result of his youth.

It was then I remembered Snow’s past.

At just a few days, or possibly weeks old, Snow had been rescued 2 years prior by a group including Ray of Light Farm and Reach Out to Horses. He was “Orphaned”. Not because his mother had died. Instead, is was determined that he had been forcibly taken from his mother and found himself abandoned, too young and innocent to take care of himself.   New to this world he was most likely left to fend for himself in either a stall or trailer. His only choice was to figure out how to eat and drink… or die. He was the smallest of the foals we had rescued and the smallest I had ever seen in my twenty years of rescuing horses.

I could hardly believe someone could do this to an innocent being.

 

Unfortunately he had been born into the nurse foal industry. A heartless, cruel business in which, reportedly, thousands of foals find themselves as “biproducts”, of no value to the stewards who manage the nurse foal barn. Their mothers are bred purely to function as nurse mares to raise more valuable foals, normally born to top performance horses. Nurse foal barns can usually be found primarily close to racetracks.

Not only had Snow found himself isolated and lost without ever knowing why, but he also came to us very sick. Within days he sought out human connection and valued the comfort of human touch in the gentling process. Innocently and trusting he forgave the very same species that had tossed him aside to die.   I remember thinking, that nobody deserves to be punished or treated this way, let alone a newborn infant.

When his group of foals first arrived milk replacer was arranged for them and placed in special buckets for the foals to drink. Quickly they began suckling on the side of the buckets for comfort, mimicking suckling their mother’s teats. It was heartbreaking to watch. We noticed missing hair from many of their ears and discovered this was due to the foals suckling one another. Innately they knew to find dark and damp places from which to suck, be this around the buckets, each other’s ears, or sheaths.

We kept the foals next to one another during the day’s training and together in the herd at night. We never wanted them to feel isolated or abandoned again. It was like watching a group of kindergarteners with little parental guidance. With hay provided freely they would munch away throughout the day sporadically napping in between meals. While we watched some of them adopting natural grazing habits, Snow must have created his own way.

We offered our very best; a second chance at life, asking, and apparently receiving, his forgiveness. At first touch he would buckle in pain and through veterinary care we discovered that not only was he not able to drop his penis to urinate, but he was suffering from a potentially fatal parasite. This ailment would take months of special ongoing care from the rescue, but this little warrior showed his true nature and eventually pulled through.

The sound of horses returning to their stalls snapped me back to the present. I realized my time with Snow was up. I had assigned the students in my Holistic Horsemanship Foundation Course a fun exercise of discovering the motivating interests of their horses and, in the distance, I noticed horses returning to their stalls.

Giving Snow a couple more minutes to enjoy his banquet, he understood my telepathic message this time, and willingly came along with simply a soft touch. It had been precious time together. After leading him back to his stall, with gratitude I removed Snow’s halter, and said my farewells, looking forward to our many meetings in time to come. I left him with my love, appreciation and admiration.

Later I inquired with the farm as to why they thought Snow had developed this strange behavior of “knee grazing”. Bonnie the manager of the farm knew exactly what I was talking about and remembered how Snow had even drunk his milk in that manner.

She explained that after the rescue, the farm had found 2 surrogate mares willing to accept the foals, which happen to be mini’s. Both mares took the foals on as their own and accepted their suckling. The youngsters had to lower their heads down quite low to reach these mares teats and it was then that Snow learned to make himself smaller. Snow had the chance to graze and learn from the small herd and yet somehow missed the grazing style. They had provided the most natural lifestyle they could with the circumstances they had available to them.

My heart was filled with both sorrow and admiration for this beautiful soul. Snow had endured so much, more pain than any creature should have to experience, especially one so young – all because he was born to the wrong mare. And yet he found his way out the other side.   He could have given up, fallen into deep depression, and chosen to leave the planet. But he didn’t. He took the challenges of a rough start and, with the help of many kind people and horses, turned his circumstances around and found a new life and a new beginning.

Unlike so many nurse foals, his journey had a happy ending. I take solace in that thought as I, with so many others in the world, continue to work diligently to give more horses like Snow a chance at a life of happiness, partnership, and love.

ARE YOU THE LEADER YOU WOULD FOLLOW?

 FREE TELE-CLASS May 2nd at 6pm mst.

We often hear about being the “leader of your herd of two”, and the importance of commanding and maintaining the respect and the trust from your horse at all times. 

But, as in the human world, just because you say your the boss doesn’t mean it is true and it certainly doesn’t mean you will automatically garner that respect and leadership. And if you are going to take that leadership role through violence, you may have their fear, but you will never have their trust.

Find out what it takes to be a true leader for your horse in this FREE teleclass with Anna on Thursday Night, May 2nd from 6pm – 8pm.

In only a couple of hours you will find out how to change the entire relationship with your horse!

Click Here to Join Us!

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In Case You Haven’t Heard…

The New Horse Whispering Defined DVD has Arrived!

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Horse Whispering Defined A Rocky Mountain Horse Experience

Find Out What Makes Reach Out to Horses® the Most Unique,
Comprehensive & Effective Training Program in the World!

In this 2-hour DVD you will join Anna as she shares her world and her methodologies as an international Horse Whisperer, Equine Behaviorist, Animal Communicator and Reiki Energy Healing Master.

Filmed at the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo in Denver, Colorado, Anna, her assistants, and some incredible equine teachers will lead you on an exploration of the ROTH Natural Horsemanship program and how to create an honest, trust-based partnership with your horse.

VISIT REACHOUTTOHORSES.COM TO FIND OUT MORE!

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Join Us for A Nurse Foal Graduation!
DSC_0256 This Guy’s Gonna Graduate.  Are You Going to Be There?

If You are Anyway Near Connecticut
 Join Anna and All the Rescued Foals
 As we Celebrate Their Graduation
And a Second Chance at Life!

April 28th, Ray of Light Farm, East Haddam, CT

Reach Out to Horses and a team of equine professionals are hard at work rescuing as many nurse foals as they can from a short life of pain, suffering and death.  But what good is rescuing them only to subject them to a long life of suffering if they can not find a place to call home?  

Enter Reach Out to Horses’ Foal Gentling Clinic with Anna Twinney.  In April, Anna and a group of ROTH students will spend a week using Anna’s exclusive trust-based methodologies to gentle these foals, starting their lives with humans off on the right foot and giving them a far greater chance at finding their forever homes. 

Can you provide one of them with a forever home?  They are all waiting to be adopted.  You might even find the horse of your dreams!

Whether you can adopt a foal or not, join us on April 28th as we celebrate their graduation and the rescue that saved their lives. And the best part…
IT’S FREE!

Contact Ray of Light Farm for More details!

Email info@rayoflightfarm.org or call 860-873-1895.

The word of nurse foals is spreading!

“This is one of the cruelest acts against horses I have had a chance to hear about in a long time.. to let little babies just die for lack of compassion and the dollar bill is deplorable.”
This week we are doing something a little different for our free article this week and we need your help. Please forward this email to everyone you know, post it on your facebook and perhaps finally we can make a difference and no more babies will needlessly be left to die. We need to make as many people as possible aware of what is happening.
This past week we received the following email from one of our readers.

“Our vet, that lives on our farm here, ran across a situation on sunday… A client called to say they had two orphan foals that they wanted him to swing by and see what he could do for them and after they told him what they had ran into at the farm where they came from he was appalled. This was a situation he, as a vet, had never heard of or run into before.. These people had picked up a horse in Oklahoma around the McAlister, Antlers area and came across a sign that said horses for sale so they stopped. They walked through the sale areas and came upon a pen of newborn foals standing around basically in shock. There were about a dozen of them and a man walks up and asks if they want to buy them for $60 each. Of course being horse people they were full of questions as where were the mothers of these foals and why were they all penned up in a filthy pen like they were. Again he said they were for sale and how many did they want. Then they got out of him that these were foals taken away from nurse mares before they were even allowed to suck and cast in this pen to be sold or die.. If some of them were lucky to get a new owner that knew the implications of not getting to nurse the mare and had a good vet they might have a 50/50 chance at survival.. This needs to be addressed, not only because of the babies but the stress on the mares of birth and having foals yanked from them before they know what has even happened is really the cruelest thing I have run across in a while and these people think it is okay to do this. They have no conscience about it at all.. When asked what happens if they don’t sell and get the care needed and the guy said they just die and that’s it.. This man leases these mares for anywhere from $2500 to $5000 a piece. Put me on your petition.” Marilyn Cottar
Dr. H.W. Thompson DVM

Our FREE ARTICLE this week, is a previous article with further information on this issue.
http://horsesforlife.com/FreeArticleNurseMareFoal

When I first heard of the practice of nurse mares I was shocked. I had absolutely no idea. Further research on the subject showed both sides of the story. Sometimes there is a legitimate need. But with advances in science, we now know that it is no longer necessary to breed and let one foal die so that another can live.
Next week return for our regular FREE ARTICLE each WEEK! Discover some surprising facts on the inter-relationship between conformation and training. Each week one free article from Steinbrecht on the Open Seat to Henriquet on Nuno Oliveira, Use of the Neck, Front Legs and Collection and the Four Secrets of the Art of Riding from Wynmalen, each article available for free for one week only
All of these articles are now back in the archives.
This week our Free Article is:
http://horsesforlife.com/FreeArticleNurseMareFoal
We have been so incredibly lucky and have met the most incredible equestrians that give of themselves so freely – so that others can become the horseman that they want to be. The joy in sharing knowledge is one that every true teacher is passionate about. And in that spirit we are proud to be a part of this incredible equestrian journey and again this week, we are pleased to be sharing with all of you one free article from our archives!
Please share with your friends, the more people that become aware that this is happening right now, the sooner we can all make a difference.
Next week we will share with you another free article for you to enjoy and this article will go back into our regular subscription archives.
To read the just login and goto: http://horsesforlife.com/FreeArticleNurseMareFoal
Remember this article will be free to read for this week only!
We love being part of an extraordinary equestrian community, and this is just one way for us to give back to that community.
Thank you for joining us on this journey.
http://horsesforlife.com
1-306-383-2588

Can you really save foals by eating? YES! Salem, NY

What’s wrong with this picture?Nurse Foal Benefit Flyer v3 030713

Join Anna and Special Guests for 

A Benefit for Nurse Mare Foals

April 26, 7pm – Le Chateau Restaurant, S. Salem, NY  

 Babies don’t nurse from other babies. 

Their mothers are nurse mares. Nurse mare foals are, primarily, a creation of the horse breeding and race horse industries. An expensive mare is bred to an expensive stud.

Eleven months later her foal is born. Seven to ten days after she gives birth she comes into heat again. To remain profitable, she must be immediately bred again, so that she can have another foal in eleven months, thereby producing the most mature foal for the following year.

The Jockey Club requires thoroughbred mares be bred only by live cover, not artificially inseminated, and the mare must travel to the stallion. The mare’s 7-10 day old foal cannot travel back to the stud/stallion’s farm with the broodmare, as travel is considered to be very risky for the valuable foal.  Instead they rent a mare from a nurse mare farm.

In order for the nurse mare to come into milk, she is bred and gives birth to a foal.  A request is received from the “expensive foal’s” farm.  The mother is taken away from her own foal, often within a day of giving birth, and shipped off to be a surrogate mother to that expensive foal.

What happens to the nurse mare’s foal?

 

Some are left to starve to death. Some are just given buckets of water or milk – left to fend for themselves – with a feeding option completely foreign and unrecognizable to them. 

These foals are referred to as “by-products” of the nurse mare industry.  Tragically, these foals – should they even survive – will never know the comfort of their mothers again.  Their mothers will never teach them “how to be a horse.” 

Reach Out to Horses and a team of equine professionals have come together to save the lives of these mares in foal as well as the foals torn from their mothers, in this industry unfamiliar to most.  A combined effort is currently underway to
save foals in immediate need of assistance.

Please join us at Le Chateau for an evening of great food and music.  Tickets are only $125 and a significant portion will go towards the rescue of these foals.

For tickets, call (914) 439-7549 or email: noramatz@gmail.com

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Join Us for Nurse Foal Graduation!

DSC_0256

This Guy’s Gonna Graduate.  Are You Going to Be There?  

Join Anna and All the Rescued Foals


As we Celebrate Their Graduation

And a Second Chance at Life

April 28th, Ray of Light Farm, East Haddam, CT  

Reach Out to Horses and a team of equine professionals are hard at work rescuing as many nurse foals as they can from a short life of pain, suffering and death.  But what good is rescuing them only to subject them to a long life of suffering if they can not find a place to call home?

Enter Reach Out to Horses’ Foal Gentling Clinic with Anna Twinney.  In April, Anna and a group of ROTH students will spend a week using Anna’s exclusive trust-based methodologies to gentle these foals, starting their lives with humans off on the right foot and giving them a far greater chance at finding their forever homes.

Can you provide one of them with a forever home?  They are all waiting to be adopted.  You might even find the horse of your dreams!

Whether you can adopt a foal or not, join us on April 28th as we celebrate their graduation and the rescue that saved their lives. And the best part…

IT’S FREE!

Contact Ray of Light Farm for More details!
Email info@rayoflightfarm.org or call 860-873-1895.

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Want to Learn the ROTH Methodologies of Gentling?
Audit the Foal Gentling Clinic – April 23 – 28, 2013

Would you like to know how to create a trust-based partnership with your horse from the very beginning?  Have you tried to create a stress-free environment for your horses’ training but didn’t know how?

Well, the bad news is that the Foal Gentling Clinic with Anna is sold out.

The Good News is that you can join us as an Auditor!  You will get all the same information, all the techniques, all the communication for a fraction of the cost!

For only $300 you will join us for an entire week and learn all the secrets Anna uses herself to create the genuine, gentle, trust-based relationship with all her horses.

Don’t miss this opportunity to help the rescued Nurse Foals, while learning how you can truly create the relationship with your horse that you’ve only dreamed of.

For more information or to reserve your spot contact Vin at
info@reachouttohorses.com.

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Anyone can buy a horse – It takes a hero to rescue one.

PMU Foals Rescued in 2010 by ROTH, Equine Angels & Ray of Light Farm

ROTH is partnering once again to rescue foals from certain death!  You can literally save a life today!

Reach Out to Horses was developed with the mission of bringing harmony to horses and humans.  In the pursuit of that goal, we have been instrumental in the rescue of hundreds of horses and well over a hundred thousand dollars to the horses and the rescues that we have worked with.

And although we are very proud of the work we and our partners have done, we do not plan on stopping, or even slowing down, any time soon.

And 2013 is certainly no exception!

In the past we have focused much of our attention on the P.M.U. industry, saving mares from the abuse of this barbaric practice and the foals, considered an expendable by-product, from certain death.  And although we will certainly continue to help in any way we can to put an end to the cruelty that is the P.M.U. industry, this time around, we shed light on a new horrifying practice.

This time we set our sites on the race industry 
and the practice of Nurse Mares and Foals.

Nurse mares have been around for hundreds of years.  They were used if a foal was rejected, or if the mother died while giving birth.  This industry started out to be a good thing … since then, however, it has morphed into something much darker and morally unethical… to say the least.

Nurse mares are bred so that they will come into milk.  The milk that is produced, however, is used to nourish the foal of another mare – a foal that, commercially, is worth much more money.  Her own foal then becomes what the industry terms as a “bi-product” and as such, is destined for the feedlot.

To this end, farms have been established in key locations, throughout the United States, in order to supply “high end” breeders with nurse mares, in a quest to support their expensive foals.
Nurse mare farmers keep lactating mares on their premises before, during and after the foaling season.  When a mare’s services are needed for a client, the farmer separates the nurse mare from her natural foal, then ships out the mare.

The natural foal is left orphaned… 

Nurse Mare Foals are, primarily, a creation of the horse breeding/race horse industry.  An expensive mare is bred to a very expensive stud.  Eleven months later she has her foal.  Seven to ten days after she gives birth she comes into heat again.  To remain profitable, she must be bred again, immediately, so that she can have another foal in eleven months, thereby producing the most mature foal for the following year.
(Note: The Jockey Club requires that thoroughbred mares be bred only by live cover, not artificially inseminated, and the mare must travel to the stallion.)

The mare’s seven to ten day-old foal cannot travel back to the stud/stallion’s farm with the broodmare, as travel is considered to be very risky for the newborn, valuable, foal.  Additionally, insurance costs are prohibitive for the foal to travel with its mother.  So, instead of putting this foal on a milk replacer product, they rent a mare from a nurse mare farm.
In order for the nurse mare to come into milk, it must have given birth to a foal.  The mare is bred and she gives birth to her foal. Once a request is received  from the “expensive foal’s” farm, the mother is taken away from her own foal and shipped off to be a surrogate mother, to that expensive foal.

What happens to the nurse mare’s foal?

Some of them are clubbed over the head and killed immediately.  Some are just left to starve to death.
These foals are referred to as “by- products” of the nurse mare industry.  Tragically, these foals – should they even survive – will never know the comfort of their mothers again… they will never get the chance to learn “how to be a horse” from her…

No foal should be raised without it’s mother.

The Nurse Mare Program DOES exist, however, and likely, will continue to exist. We try to create the best situation possible, for the foal’s, by helping them to survive – every way we possibly can.

Reach Out to Horses and a team of equine professionals have come together to save the lives of these mares in foal as well as the foals torn from their mothers, in this industry unfamiliar to most.

A combined effort is currently underway to rescue horses and foals in immediate need of assistance.  Once we have rescued as many foals as we can they will be a part of the 2013 Foal Gentling Clinic, April 23 – 28, at Ray of Light Farm, in East Haddam, CT. 

During this week long event, Anna will guide participants and auditors through her exclusive foal gentling process, introducing the foals to first touch, halter, leading, loading and lots more, in a non-stress, compassionate and effective way!  The training they receive is priceless and a crucial step to these young horses getting adopted to their forever homes and having that second chance at life.

Significant progress has been made through self-funded efforts of a few selfless individuals…

Now your help is needed as we embark on phase two of the rescue.

Foaling season, for this industry, is now upon us.  Many resources are needed in order to insure that we can get the foals to safety, and provide the critical, labor intensive care necessary to their very survival…
How you can become involved:
• Donate now!!! Click here to make your contribution! 
• Sponsor a mare/foal
• Foster a mare/foal
• Adopt a mare/foal
• Fund raise!!!
• Media coverage / Public awareness
• Attend the 6-day Reach Out to Horses (ROTH) Foals in Training course as a spectator for just $300 – http://www.reachouttohorses.com/training.html#foal
• Attend graduation day of the Foals in Training clinic with Anna Twinney & ROTH for FREE

THE MORE INDIVIDUALS THAT STEP FORWARD, THE MORE FOALS WE CAN SAVE!!!

Did you know?


It is illegal to send a foal under 6 months of age to horse slaughter. However, foals from one day to six months old, are being skinned and sold for high-end leather.  Others who aren’t rescued are sent to slaughterhouses.  These foals have no chance at life from the start. Their meat is considered a delicacy in some countries.  Horrifically, some countries actually believe that if a foal is skinned while it is still alive the meat will be more tender.


Some nurse mare farms will occasionally give the foals away, but most sell them discreetly for profit.  Most nurse mare foals are usually available in January and February. This is when the “season”, so to speak, starts and foaling begins.  Generally, the season runs from January to mid-June.      

Adopting a foal is literally a life or death decision for one of these innocent nurse mare babies.  Adopters are directly responsible for saving a foal from a tragic, brutal death.  Sadly, not all of them can be rescued.  Rescuers in most cases, must purchase these foals and pay anywhere from $100 to $400 per foal.  They also incur all costs of housing, feeding, vet care and training, until the foals can be adopted out to their forever homes.  Any and all support is welcome from those willing to help!
Going forward… How do we impact the nurse foal industry?

STEP ONE
Work closely with the farm owner in order to reduce the number of the herd … only made possible through qualified placement and adequate funding, as it becomes available to us.

STEP TWO
Provide necessary medical treatment and proper nutrition to all that are in our care.

STEP THREE
Training and development for all mares and foals, like the ROTH Foal Gentling Week Long Event, so that they are better suited to adoption.

STEP FOUR
Provide continued support and all the love and in the world to all of these wonderful creatures and their new owners!
Thus far, we have been 100% “self-funded” …  in the immediate future, the cost of veterinary care, feed, space and training will make it impossible for us to move forward,  without additional support and funding… please help!!!

This is your opportunity to literally save a life.
To save a foal from a certain and cruel death.
Thank You for Helping the Horses!