An Equine Rescue With A Heart That Values The Bond Between A Mare And Her Foal
Story Credit: The following story was posted by Rosemary Farm, a 501(c)3 equine shelter in New York on their Facebook page. It has been reposted in its entirety with permission. All rights to the images and story remain with Rosemary Farm.
We have four sets of mother/child horses here currently, most of them saved at auction where they were being split apart on the floor, babe just barely able to be alone, no training, and the screams to break your heart, if you have a heart to break. When we see this, and they are selling to slaughter, we save them both, and let the babies grow up here, with their mothers, and separate naturally, when they are two or three. This is not radical, it is nature.
We had someone once who wanted to adopt one of our mares, who still had a babe at her side. The child was technically old enough to ‘survive’, and within ‘normal’ parameters for weaning. The home was a very good one, and the mare would be trained and loved. I was torn. We have such pressure, practically, with the challenges of fundraising, time, space and money always pushing in…I did not want to lose such a good opportunity for the mother’s future. ‘The baby will be fine here’, I told myself, so I moved forward with the adoption paperwork. Several days before the mare was going to leave, I separated the two, expecting it to go as smoothly as our other separations have gone, and the babe to go off with her other friends while the mother enjoyed some special tlc. It did not go that way. Both stood in the closest spot to where they had last seen the other, and for two days, would not budge. Food would distract them for a bit but they would return to their vigil. I felt worse and worse about my plan. Altho’ I was trying to think about their future, their ‘present’ was not going well.
I had a very restless night, and I had a dream. In the dream, the mare was talking to God about her life here on earth, and God asked her, ‘What was the worst day of your life?”. She replied, “It was not when I was cold, or homeless, or without food. It was not that cold winter.. It was the day I was taken from my baby”.
I woke up with tears streaming down my face, and knew what I had to do. I went below and reunited the pair. They greeted with love, kisses, relief. The pair turned briefly to acknowledge me, peaceful now, then trotted together down the hill, across the brook and up the mountain to join the rest of the herd.
I regretfully, apologetically, cancelled the adoption, until the baby was older, anyway, if the time was right for the family then. Such a nice possible adopter, and understandably disappointed. But, it was the right decision for the horses, and that has to remain our focus. This is the last baby for that mare, and the only mother for the babe. THAT is the reality for these horses, and what really matters to them. How could I be responsible for the mare’s worst day on Earth? What logic would ever make that right? For us, there was none.
But I am grateful to have had that lesson tested, really tested, and to know where we stand. This was awhile ago and the pair is happy, being given sanctuary here to grow up as nature intended. Even saying that is arrogant really, because if they were born wild and free in the first place, they would not need ‘sanctuary’. At least we can restore the order as it was intended. For a few.
Rosemary Farm Sanctuary, Inc, is a registered 501(c)3 charity, and a registered non-profit in NYS, that rescues horses in dire need. Some are made available for adoption, many horses live out their days in sanctuary on the farm. Your generous donations are tax-deductible.
At Rosemary Farm Sanctuary, Inc., our mission is to rescue horses in need, and protect them for life. We save equines from slaughter, neglect, and abuse. Most have been passed from owner to owner, never knowing a herd or consistency. When they arrive here, they are home.
We provide each with the care, training, and space to recover, for however long they need. If a horse cannot recover, they live while they are comfortably able, and ‘cross the rainbow bridge’ with dignity and friends by their side. Our horses do not live or die alone. Working closely with our professional team of equine specialists, we make our decisions based on what is best for each horse and the sanctuary family. Our horses live in dynamic natural environments, in herd groups, creating vital bonds that are honored and protected.
While adoption is not our focus, select horses may be available to adopt, under a limited contract, to the right home. In addition, we educate horse owners and the general public about the wretched conditions many horses suffer, and how they can improve both the physical and emotional guardianship of horses.
Rosemary Farm is “Where horses get to be horses.”