5th June 2002
Staff at the Lincolnshire School of Agriculture have successfully united an orphan foal and a bereaved mare.
Bee, a 12-year old Cleveland Bay chestnut mare, lost her foal during birth due to complications but, in a bid to prevent the mare from grieving, the staff added the mare’s details to a national database for mare and foal losses.
The database aims to find suitable matches for bereaved foals and mares as quickly as possible. In this way neither party recognises its loss.
After a number of calls from possible but unsuitable foal donors, a breeder from Doncaster rang offering a foal who had lost its mother during foaling at 2 am that morning.
By lunchtime the foal was at the Caythorpe campus waiting to be introduced to her new mother.
“To successfully unite a foal and mare under such circumstances is a complicated and delicate operation if the mare is to accept the foal,” said Sharon Kirby, assistant yard manager.
“The process involves sedating the mare and replacing her deceased foal with the foster foal. Normally, the foal will be taken away each hour and reintroduced until the mare finally accepts it as her own. On this occasion, however, the mare accepted the foal immediately and did not want to be parted.
“We have fostered an orphan foal before but the mare was initially aggressive,” added Sharon. “This union was remarkably smooth. It is very gratifying to see something positive come from such tragedy.”
The new foal is a Cleveland Bay thoroughbred filly named Morella who already has a future in racing mapped out for her.
For more information contact:
Gill Noakes, Press Assistant, University of Lincoln
Tel: 01522 886042
Search the university’s news archive at http://www.lincoln.ac.uk/news