The Little-Known Dark Side of Thoroughbred Racehorse Breeding: “Throwaway” Foals

There’s a little-known, little-discussed dark side to horse breeding, especially in the world of thoroughbred racehorses. Away from the cheering crowds, colorful jockeys, and the triumph of the winner’s circle, grim realities lurk. Although horse racing is an industry in long-term decline, breeding racehorses is still very profitable. This has led to practices you’d normally associate with “factory farming” and “breeding rings.” One particularly shocking one involves nurse mares and their foals.

These foals, not being thoroughbreds, are deemed “incompetent” in industry-speak and are generally discarded and left for dead. According to Victoria Goss, founder of a horse rescue organization called The Last Chance Corral, “These foals are basically considered a byproduct of thoroughbred racing. They’re only born so that their mothers will then come into milk and that milk will nourish a thoroughbred baby so that its mother can go and get re-bred because her job is to have a racehorse baby every year. If it weren’t for the fact we’re here, all these foals would be dead.”

Based in Athens, Ohio, The Last Chance Corral describes its mission as offering horses “hope, shelter, and opportunity regardless of their situation or problems. Be it psychological or physiological we are committed to addressing the individual needs of each rescued animal. Our work begins with developing an individual diet, treatment regimens, and a training program for each horse according to its needs. When a horse has been sufficiently rehabilitated we go about the work of finding appropriate adoptive homes that suit the horse’s needs and abilities.”

We’ve posted a video about Goss’ efforts to rescue as many of these unfortunate foals as possible. You’ll learn more about her, the horses, and The Last Chance Corral.

Did you even know this was going on? What do you think about it? Let’s hear from you in the comments at Facebook. Be sure to like and share so your friends are made aware of the seamy side of thoroughbred horse breeding.