How the TB industry uses foster nursemares in Ireland

Discussion in 'Horse Rescue / Adoption' started by D_BaldStockings, Mar 24, 2017.

  1. ginster

    ginster Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2012
    Messages:
    2,200
    Likes Received:
    2,720
    But what about the nurse mare foals, those are hand reared (at least at that stud in Ireland)?
    Doesn´t the same go for them?
    From what I gathered from another thread on this topic, there is a medication that induces lactation in mares. So there would actually be no need to breed nurse mares. Just keep the ones on hand you know are willing to play step mom to a foal in need and use the medication...
    Seems like that would be a solution to the Problem, no?
    Or are rescues who pull on people´s heart strings with the whole "abandoned nurse mare foal drama" powerful enough to keep the industry from changing that aspect?
    I doubt that...
     
  2. D_BaldStockings

    D_BaldStockings Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2010
    Messages:
    2,833
    Likes Received:
    5,107
    Ah, but most farms do not keep extra mares for just-in-case. It is cheaper to rent a nursemare for 6 months than to keep a mare year round on the off chance one may need her; unless one is a huge stud farm.

    While inducing lactation does work: and requires veterinary supervision, there is a 'lag time' of about 1 week between beginning treatment and introducing the foal: foals don't live for a week without milk. And a mare must have produced a foal at some point previously and there are protocols including cervical massage for 10 minutes during introduction of the foal that could skyrocket the price and put vet and handlers at risk. There also is evidence that foal growth is slightly less in foals adopted by induced mares vs. natural mares: if you breed racehorses for the yearling sales this is significant and may turn off buyers.

    Think of a nursemare provider as a specialist niche with a knowledge base different from the stud grooms and farm managers at the stud: Like an imported auto mechanic vs. a driver of those cars.

    This could be a good tool for a nursemare provider that doesn't want to raise or market foals from the nursemares. But it does cost more than simply requiring that the mare be 'returned in foal' from the farm renting the mare: this is often how 'new' young stallions are started on their breeding careers with a docile nursemare in heat.

    Any business must pass on costs to the client to turn enough profit to remain in business. So, rent nursemare $$; or rent nursemare plus $800 to ? for the induction of milk and introduction process? And perhaps get a smaller adult horse?

    On the other side: Produce a 'free' foal from the nursemare to sell - might be by a fancy racehorse sire?
    And be able to harvest colostrum from your nursemares to also sell?
    Or spend the money to induce lactation and hope you can recoup the cost?
    +

    As to the nursemare foals left behind and hand reared: first they are in groups, so somewhat of a herd anyway.
    Second, most nursemares are more laid back and doclie than race broodmares, so less likely to attack strange foals - might even adopt them somewhat.
    Third, their lives are not intended to be the high stress world of racing. If they compete later in life, it will most likely be in individual competition like dressage or hunters or jumping, etc. Or slower arena showing like pleasure: not bumping and trying to pass other horses at fast paces.

    Different needs for different outcomes is all.
     
  3. D_BaldStockings

    D_BaldStockings Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2010
    Messages:
    2,833
    Likes Received:
    5,107
    Pony123 and Alsosusieq2 like this.
  4. Alsosusieq2

    Alsosusieq2 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2016
    Messages:
    9,811
    Likes Received:
    7,237
    I remember First Secretary, he was actually pretty impressive. I've got some photos on Pinterest I think. I've never read the full back story on him though and really enjoyed reading that.

    What a big boy the second one was, I've never read about him.

    Thanks, I always loved Secretariat. I swear, watching that Belmont live was a high point in my memory. ;)
     

Share This Page