The advent of every new season and the arrival of new foals is a magical time for horse lovers although there is a downside with the loss of a broodmare an ever-present reality even with the best of care.
Bonding foster mares with an orphan foal is a precise procedure and among the leaders in the field in Australia is Mums4Bubs which is operated by Brooke Barker east of Geelong on the Bellarine Peninsula.
Mums4Bubs and its Equine Induced Lactation Fostering has achieved tremendous results with its Facebook page brimming with bouquets from satisfied clients; ‘You’re the best in the business’, ‘Highly recommended’, ‘Worth every dollar’ and ‘We can never thank you enough’.
WA-based Emily Quartermaine (pictured) credits Barker for guidance when she established Modern Mums Foster Farm in Serpentine. “I’m so grateful for the wealth of knowledge from Brooke and her vet Anne Jacobs who has done a vast study around fostering foals and inducing lactation.”
Emily has a lifetime of breeding experience coming from her childhood days at Bundawarra Show Ponies. “I’ve been breeding thoroughbreds for seven years and have never lost a newborn foal,” she said. “Although accidents and misfortune can happen, I credit my success from attention to detail and early intervention.
“Foals are very fragile and can deteriorate extremely quickly. I make every effort to check them as regularly as possible in those first few days in the nursery.
“I believe that’s been the difference between life and death in several cases over the past few years.”
Emily is an integral part of Sigley Racing with her partner Vaughn Sigley. “I look after the foals until it’s time for them to be educated and then Vaughn takes the reins,” she said in a profile for Westspeed Magazine last year. “He has a brilliant eye for a horse and I relay what’s going on under saddle.”
Quartermaine was interviewed shortly after the Serpentine Extravaganza where she won Supreme Champion Thoroughbred Race Condition Class with their city winner Dia De La Raza (Patronize)
The stable has enjoyed significant success in recent years with Black Heart Bart (Blackfriars), He Or She (Kendel Star), Magnifisio (Magnus), The Celt (Planet Five), Dawn Approach (Statue Of Liberty), Rohan (Blackfriars) and Missile Launch (Smart Missile).
Modern Mums Foster Farm’s step-by-step program commences with the arrival of an orphan foal. “I select a suitable foster Mum, I have several prime foster mare candidates, and commence her preparation. Foals are fed colostrum and milk replacer before I familiarise them with the mare.
“There’s been a lot of research on how to bring natural maternal mares to lactate and I source the hormone medication through Ascot Vets. It produces milk in the foster mare and then she and the foal are boxed together and (hopefully) the foal suckles normally. That’s the most satisfying part and then hearing from the owners after they’ve arrived home and settled in safely.”
Emily leads Dia De La Raza back to scale at Belmont
On occasions, there have also been cases where a broodmare mothers an orphan and her own foal at the same time.
“Kims Call (Reaan) had a Bondi filly last year and regularly feeds other foals who are not her own in the paddock so we attempted to place an I’m All The Talk filly on to her. Unfortunately, Kims Call was not able to fully support the orphan but one of our dry mares Duchess Davric was calling out to the foal from across the laneway.
“Duchess Davric (Viscount) had not had a foal in two seasons and accepted her immediately. She was very smitten and raised the bub as good as any maternal mother and the filly thrived. It’s usually more successful in cases where they have already been running together or in a nearby paddock.
“We have several foster mares here apart from Duchess Davric. It’s a fantastic career opportunity for aged mares who are no longer viable breeding prospects but are good milk producers and maternal mothers.
“It’s also an option for breeders who may wish to send a mare to the Eastern States. They can wean the foal from its maternal mother and place the foal on a foster mother so that the foal does not have to be transported long distances and risk injury.”
Broodmares owners who require a foster mare for an orphaned foal can contact Emily Quartermaine on 0488 213 800 or at email@example.com