The opalescent moon passes overhead, turning the black sparkling night into the deepest blue. The rustling of leaves on the outside merge with the swishing of the straw in the stall on the inside of the barn where bright lights hold at bay the blackness that waits to swirl in. The golden straw is disturbed once again as the young deep bay thoroughbred mare darkens with sweat. She struggles, her legs stretch out braced against the pain that is buried deep within, that bursts out in waves across her body. She struggles to breathe, she shivers as the man, crouched down by her side, shakes his head slowly as he looks at the owner standing worried by the stall door. He’s not sure if she is going to make it, but hoping against hope that he can save the life that rests yet within her body.
The owner waits with bated breath, his brow furrowed with worry.
An hour later, the vet stands, looking at the beautiful bay filly, who looks so much like her mom. A mother that lies silently on the ground, no longer in pain, but who will never get to see her sweet daughter race at her side across the green carpet of spring grass, their bodies mirroring each other, as nostrils swell to the sweet smell of the dawn.
If this filly is to live and thrive, an answer needs to be found quickly.
But this filly will be blessed. She will get to live.
But her life means that ... in another barn a phone call is received, a desperate plea for help, for urgency.
As the dawn brightens the sky, a hundred miles away, a mare nuzzles her newborn foal. She grunts as he grabs strongly onto one of her teats, tasting the sweet milk that brings strength to his wobbly legs. Tiny, tiny hooves try to grab purchase against the ground as he suckles deeply.
Afterwards she nickers softly as she nuzzles her foal, then snorting as she breathes in deeply taking in his scent, the scent of a newborn. The main barn door protests, creaking as it opens, and she places her body between the stall door and her precious baby, ready to put her body in danger to protect him.
Then a halter is placed upon her head and she is led away as her foal whinnies frantically trying to climb the half-gate of the stall door.
The filly is about to be given life. Against all odds. And the mare is loaded onto a trailer, her milk now meant for a foal other than her own.
And her own foal... ?
Unfortunately, the filly’s life means more than his. She comes from the best racing bloodlines and no expense will be spared to bring her to her full potential.
He might, just might, live to see another day. It depends on where and who bred him to start with.
While this story is tragic, sad to think that one life means so much more than another, there is another silent chilling story that is hidden behind the business of breeding, especially of the mass market of thoroughbreds bred for the racetrack.
One of the best things the thoroughbred industry has done was to insist on live cover. This protects the thoroughbred industry from too many mare owners breeding to just one stallion through artificial insemination, and keeps up the genetic diversity.
One of the worst things the thoroughbred industry has done is to insist on live cover.
These foals are incredibly valuable. The danger in travelling while still so young, with mares often being bred during their foal heat, nine days after birth, or even within the first month of the foal’s life, creates a risk that owners are reluctant to take. The insurance companies
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