A quarter horse named Miss Beutiful Ojos
Read more about the nurse mare and her role in this Stonestreet update:
Nurse mares are never brought into situations that are ideal. They must act as a surrogate mother for a foal whose own mother is unable to care for it.
In fact, a nurse mare raised Rachel Alexandra when her dam, Lotta Kim, rejected her.
Rachel’s attachment to her own filly in the short time they were together, was deep and it is important now to support her surrogate, Miss Beutiful Ojos, as she steps into this difficult situation to raise that filly.
We have received many very natural questions about this process:
Who is the nurse mare?
Miss Beutiful Ojos is a quarter horse and trusted nurse mare who has performed this important job at Stonestreet before. Nurse mares are often quarter or draft horses, and it is imperative that they possess good nurse mare characteristics. Miss Beutiful Ojos, or “Ojos” for short, is both very sweet and a great milk producer, two of the most important nurse mare qualities.
In those difficult situations in which we have to call in a nurse mare, Stonestreet draws upon a very select network of farms we trust to provide well-tempered and disease-free mares, while ensuring proper care for the nurse mare’s foal as well.
If Rachel recovers, will her foal be returned to her?
No. Rachel’s filly has bonded with Ojos, and she now considers Ojos to be her mother. She will remain with her until she is weaned. It is important to respect the bond now created between Rachel’s filly and her surrogate.
Rachel’s condition remains serious and she will need her strength as she fights to recover. Even if she were able to return to her foal, her milk production would have ceased. It is again, not an ideal situation, but keep in mind Rachel was raised by a surrogate as well.
What will happen to the nurse mare’s foal?
Ojos is what you might call a “professional” nurse mare. She is very good at her job and provides an important service under very difficult circumstances.
The filly out of Miss Beutiful Ojos will be hand raised as a reining/cutting horse prospect.
In this situation the timing worked out well. Ojos had foaled a palomino filly on Wednesday. Rachel’s filly was hand fed until Ojos arrived on Thursday, only after her own palomino filly was able to get the ‘first milk’, or all-important colostrum from her own mother. This is something Ojos’ owner is very firm about.
We visited Ojos’ filly on Friday afternoon. She is being hand raised along with another foal whose mother is also a nurse mare. This little filly will be bottle, then bucket fed along with her stall mate. They are both nicely bred quarter horse foals and she is expected to be a reining or cutting prospect.