Who among us can honestly say they don’t love horses? These majestic creatures have earned a place in our hearts and contend with dogs for the position of man’s most loyal and hardworking helper. Even if you aren’t an avid equestrian I dare you to not stop and watch them in a pasture or pet their noses through an old farm fence. Unfortunately horse ownership can be very expensive and sometimes life changes make it impossible to take care of such an involved creature. Most of the time horses can find a new home, but not always. That’s where Last Chance Corral comes in.
For over 19 years the Last Chance Corral has been a beacon of hope for horses that would otherwise have no future. Run by Victoria Goss, this caring organization makes it a point to never turn away a horse in need. Although they often work on a shoestring budget (and remember how I said horses are expensive?) they’ve managed to help over 1,500 horses and have won both the AVMA Humane Award and the Rio Vista Hank Award for years of enduring excellence.
One of the corrals chief programs is the caring for of Nurse Mare foals. Their background is particularly cruel and heartbreaking. You see, every racehorse has the same birthday, January 1st, regardless of when they are born in a year. For this reason breeders try hard to stud and breed horses so that they give birth as close to the start of the year as possible. This ensures that the future racer will have as much time to develop as they can before competing. Because of the nature of horse breeding a prize mare will have to be impregnated nearly a month after giving birth for her gestation cycle to match up with the optimal racing schedule. So naturally her babies are taken away early on. The problem is, young foals won’t survive long without their mother’s milk and attention. So to solve this problem the foals are given over to a nurse mare who can provide milk and care for them. Unfortunately, the only way to get a nurse mare is to impregnate a mare and have her come to term. Only then can she produce the life-giving milk necessary to grow a foal into a champion racehorse. So what happens to the nurse mare’s actual biological children? Many of them are destroyed outright, others are sold as meat. They are seen as a byproduct of Nurse Mare creation and are literally born to die.
Last Chance Corral makes it their mission to rescue as many foals from this horrid fate as they can. Every year they save between 150 and 200 foals. These infant horses are often in rough shape and require extensive rehabilitation in specialized intensive care facilities.
I’m always shocked by the hypocrisy of animal abuse. How can you place so much value in a creature and still treat it so poorly? This kind of abuse has become so institutionalized that it’s literally grown into a multimillion dollar enterprise. But, just because something has become normalized, that doesn’t make it the proper moral course of action. If you are offended by these practices then you have an obligation to speak up. The horses will never have a voice otherwise.
Last chance corral is located at 5350 US-33 South Athens Ohio, 45701 and will gladly accept donations here. They regularly put new horses up for adoption, although only after they’ve recovered from their abuse/neglect.