Foalapalooza generates exposure for unwanted mares and orphan foals

  • Posted: Sunday, April 13, 2014 12:01 a.m.
Staff photo by Ben Baugh
Blue, an orphan Quarter Horse foal, nurses on Louise, an 18-year-old nurse mare, in a paddock at Three Runs Plantation during Foalapalooza.
Staff photo by Ben Baugh Blue, an orphan Quarter Horse foal, nurses on Louise, an 18-year-old nurse mare, in a paddock at Three Runs Plantation during Foalapalooza.

Blue is a 10-day-old Quarter Horse who arrived in Aiken on Monday, having been relocated from a farm in Kentucky.

The colt, foaled a week and a half ago, is an orphan, but he’s found a family with an 18-year-old nurse mare named Louise.

The mare and foal looked the part of mother and son, as Blue stayed close to his new mom in a paddock at Three Runs Plantation.

Louise and Blue’s union was a powerful depiction of the message that York, S.C.-based Dream Equine Therapy has made one of their primary objectives. Saturday’s hunter pace, horse show, silent auction and foal adoption were part of the Fifth Annual Foalapalooza.

“He’s (Blue) adjusted well,” said Terri Stemper, of DETC. “It took him a little while to figure out how to nurse. We don’t know if he got his colostrum. He actually did nurse and took right to the mare.”

However, it’s that nurturing relationship between Louise and Blue that will play a large role in both horses lives, but will be an important variable in Blue’s education as he builds a foundation on the road to maturity.

“It will be good for him to be raised on a mom,” said Stemper. “And when he is weaned, he’ll be available for adoption.”

Dream Equine Therapy Center acquired a new property, and the current facility is about 21 acres, said Stemper.

“We just got the foal barn done on Friday (April 4), and picked up the foals last Saturday (April 5),” said Stemper. “We got 11 on the first load, and all but three are adopted.”

Stemper has been in contact with Thoroughbred farms and nurse mare farmers, promoting hormone induced-lactation, to reduce the number of unwanted foals produced by nurse mares by providing an unwanted mare with a new vocation.

“If the nurse mare farmers adopted the hormone practice, it would really change a lot, where the foals wouldn’t need to be rescued,” said Stemper. “So, that’s our end, main goal. We’ve been doing that for four years now, the hormone induced-lactation. The main thing is that the unwanted mares have had to have been bred previously. So they’ve had to have nursed a foal, have good milk production and, obviously, be good moms.”

Ben Baugh has been covering the equine industry and equestrian sport for the Aiken Standard since 2004. Among the awards Baugh has won include the 2003 Raleigh Burroughs Award as the turf writer making the most impact on the Florida Thoroughbred Industry. Baugh is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, worked for North America’s leading Thoroughbred breeder Adena Springs in Ocala, Fla. And interned at Thoroughbred Racing Communications in New York, N.Y.

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