Stacy Westfall adopting a nurse mare foal from Last Chance Corral!

2 week pregnancy check ultrasound on our mare

2 week pregnancy check ultrasound on our mare

Today has officially gone to the ‘babies’…foals that is. I started my day with a trip to the vet to confirm that my husbands favorite mare was in foal. I’m happy to announce that she is! For us this is exciting news because my husband Jesse excels at matching broodmares and stallions to produce OUTSTANDING horses. He has successfully planned breedings that have resulted in multiple reining champions on all levels. These horses have also been good solid citizens in the equine world. I am thankful that there are people out there like my husband who really have an eye for improving horses both in ability and mental soundness.

I’m also thankful for my husband because he agreed that I CAN GET A BABY! To be more accurate, a FOAL from Last Chance Corral! I’m excited but I have to admit a bit nervous too. 

I have never raised an orphan foal and there is a good chance I will soon have two. I have read the requirement page numerous times and then I made it official by giving them a call and doing my phone interview. It felt like I was back in high school prepping for a test, nerves and all! 

I’m happy to report that I passed my interview. It probably helps that I have had steady contact with them for several years and have pretty good references in the horse world, lol! They are serious about sending in photos of your fencing and facility which I also passed. I have to admit that it makes it easy when you are living in a motor home and can park your ‘house’ as close to the barn as you want! I think I will move it so my bedroom window lines up with the foal window…is that going too far? It will be like sleeping in the barn but with a few extra luxuries.

This will be a whole new learning curve for me for several reasons, the biggest two being 1) our foals had their moms and 2) we knew their family members as well. Our toughest foal issues before this have been the actual birth and the initial bonding process. With maiden mares this was a bit of a challenge but after that they were pros. This foal won’t have a mom….which means I will be mixing a bunch of formula! I have mixed formula when I was visiting Last Chance but I have to admit that this is feeling a little like prepping my house for my first child to come home from the hospital. I have bought my bag of Buckeyes Mares Milk and read those instructions numerous times. I’m also officially stalking the Last Chance website for info and to look at the babies but that’s another story:)

 It will also be strange for me to have a foal that is more like a stranger. All of our foals prior to this have been out of mares that we had ridden for years. We knew the mare and most of the time knew the sire pretty well too. The advantage of knowing the sire and dam is that quite often the foal has a familiar feel. With some of our foals it has seemed like I knew what they were going to do before they did! With this new foal…or foals…I won’t have any of that knowledge. It’s kind of exciting in a different way!

I have always loved training horses to reach their highest personal potential. Sometimes that has been a mini horse learning to be a valuable member of society and other times that has been a reining horse reaching for the top of the game but in each case it was what the horse had for potential. Getting this foal (or foals) will likely involve a life outside of reining…depending on who I pick. And yes, I do keep saying ‘foal’ or ‘foals’ as per the Last Chance Corral website. 

If the babies are very young they adopt them out in pairs. Some of the older ones can go as singles. This one fact has probably driven me crazy more than any other. After spending time at Last Chance I can completely see why they go out in pairs. It decreases depression and increases success rates…something they have learned over their years of doing this.

I keep telling myself that I can raise two and then pick one to sell and one to keep…but I’m terrible at selling horses! I always keep them until I find the perfect home. So my big dilemma is picking either an older foal that can go as a single or a pair of younger foals. I have to admit that both have their advantages and disadvantages. I can feel another sleepless night on its way…

Please leave your advice in the comments. I really do read them. Especially on this post when I’m already going to be up stalking (I mean looking at) Last Chances website all night anyway.

How would you pick?

How would you pick?

77 Comments

  1. Mona Langille on June 1, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    I think you should take two and these babies will be so lucky to be in the company of such a terrific horse woman you have so much to offer these wee ones and please share with all of us their wonderful journey, the knowledge you have to offer them is endless , and think of the awareness you can bring to this truly amazing organization yes Stacey please take two 🙂

  2. CK on June 1, 2016 at 8:30 pm

    Cannot believe that you are breeding mares when we are sending 150,000 horses to Mexico & Canada to be slaughtered. Most of those horses are healthy horses that just need a home and you are breeding and bringing more horses into the circle of over population? You who knows better than most what a huge problem we have in this country with over population in the horses world. I’d be ashamed to discuss it in public with those of us who know the horrors horses face when no one wants them any longer.

    • Stacy Westfall on June 1, 2016 at 11:05 pm

      I’m in favor of helping those in need, like the rescue horses, and I am in favor of improving and creating wonderful horses by choice also. I don’t see it as a conflict. If I had seen it as a true conflict (and I understand some do, and I respect that) then I would have only chosen to adopt children. I chose to give birth to my own children even though I understand there are children in the world that I could have adopted. I respect your view and hope you can respect mine. We don’t have to agree:)

  3. Louise Gregory on June 1, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    I adopted one 6 years ago and it has been a wonderful experience. It would be really great if would follow them on youtube. I have some of your training DVD that I have used when I started her training.
    Thanks of sharing you training skills.

  4. Susi DuBois on June 1, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    I think you will figure it all out when you get there, I’m sure you will make the right decision ?

  5. Linda Corbello Duplechin on June 1, 2016 at 5:21 pm

    Listen to your heart, Stacy. You will know what to do. God Bless!

  6. Jane Mehaffey on June 1, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    Take two! If that little Appy cross is still there I would take him in a heartbeat !! And a boy or girl to keep jhim company !

  7. Jennifer Questa on June 1, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    My nurse mare foal is now 3 years old! He came from LCC as well. I picked an older one because I just didn’t feel I had enough knowledge to handle the very young ones. He is my first foal ever, and I choose to not breed my mare and adopted him instead.

    I think one of my first ‘disappointments’ was that he wasn’t interested in human touch at all. I had to keep at it, when that foal coat started shedding in the summer heat that’s when the magic happened. I found the itchy spots he couldn’t reach and I became his ‘friend’ in a manner of speaking.

    I know you try to avoid FB – but there is a nurse mare foal group that I started for those of us who have adopted/or those who want to adopt and have questions. https://www.facebook.com/groups/newbeginningsnursemarefoals/

    Rachel and several other LCC staff are members and contribute to conversations when warrented.

    Good Luck and Have Fun!

    • Stacy Westfall on June 1, 2016 at 4:41 pm

      I love FB! I checked out the page…I think I joined but it was pending, lol

      • Susan McElhinney on June 2, 2016 at 11:29 pm

        Pick two! That way you will save two!

  8. Elizabeth on June 1, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    You will make the right choice when the time comes–but please consider a gaited foal. Any horse that goes home with you will be one lucky baby!

    • Stacy Westfall on June 1, 2016 at 4:42 pm

      I have considered a gaited foal, did you see the little one that will probably be black? He is cute!

  9. Carol on June 1, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    Two. But I would have to look at the foals before I chose.

    • Stacy Westfall on June 1, 2016 at 4:42 pm

      That’s what I’m thinking. I will have my list before I go but make decisions when I get there!

      • Laura Hurr on June 1, 2016 at 10:18 pm

        131, please give him an extra look.

  10. Sarah on June 1, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    Go for two. If you’re doing all that work for one, a second isn’t much more. I’ve wanted to adopt from them for a while, and I may try next year if they have any available after my mare foals so that my baby will have someone to be weaned with instead of the miniature donkeys that are liable to be his/her companions. 😉

  11. Molly on June 1, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    I think you will know when you get there. Go with your gut! I am interested in hearing about your journey with whichever foals you bring home. I have often thought about adopting a nurse mare foal but I am afraid I would not be up for the challenge. Look forward to hearing about what ever you decide!!

    • Stacy Westfall on June 1, 2016 at 4:43 pm

      That’s the plan! I will keep everyone posted the best I can.

  12. sandra slater on June 1, 2016 at 11:30 am

    Hi Stacey, I have seen a few of these very same foals at my sister’s barn here in Maine. My sister and her friend Maxine drove to Ohio and brought back 5 of these baby’s! Same story about the milk mixing and being careful about them getting the trots which one actually did and was treated appropriately.i can send you contact information to these two gals if you’d like to swap stories. So glad to hear you were going to adopt a couple of baby’s.

  13. Laurel perrigo on June 1, 2016 at 9:40 am

    We adopted last month! I was so worried and it has been very easy. We got a 5 week old and she drank her milk like a champ! She is now weaned at 12 weeks and eats grain hay and grass. Our 28 yo gelding thinks he is her mother and they love to groom each other. The only hiccup in the whole thing was that she got pneumonia after trailer ing her (she was at Ohio eq affair) and had to get a couple penicillin shots. She already knows back up and yield her hind quarters! My daughter is hoping to event her someday but we also are son valley ranch for foster and at risk kids. Last week teen refugees got to meet her when they were over.
    So glad for last chance bc I know this will give them some publicity. I have never had a foal before and if a beginner can do it you have no worries.

    • Stacy Westfall on June 1, 2016 at 4:45 pm

      That is so great to hear! All of it. I guess it is just knowing the increased risk that has me nervous.

  14. Jenny Biche on June 1, 2016 at 8:42 am

    Please adopt two. Even if you have to keep them both for a long time before you find one the perfect home, at least 2 of them will have a happy, healthy, safe and loving life while they are with you. I am sure Last Chance does a thorough job of vetting out potential adopters, but you have a wealth of knowledge and experience that the common horse owner does not, and it would be so great if 2 foals had the opportunity to be raised by you instead of just one. But I understand there are advantages and disadvantages for one or two, so I support your decision either way, but for what it’s worth, this is my recommendation. Thanks so much for sharing your journey and insight with us. I really respect and admire you and your family.

  15. Benigna on June 1, 2016 at 4:09 am

    Please make a video

  16. Kelli Ushakov on June 1, 2016 at 12:34 am

    Oh I’m so excited for you, and for them. Yes ‘them’! Take two. It’s exciting to imagine not just the amazing life you will give them, but also the different potential each will have. I love that you don’t approach them with a stamp or cookie cutter, trying to make them all fit into a predetermined destiny. Instead, you will encourage them where each of their potential lies. What an amazing adventure! Either way (one or two), I look forward to watching the journey.

  17. Amanda Hart on May 31, 2016 at 11:23 pm

    Pick two and already buddies no matter the age and then integrate them with your own weanlings when it is time to help when one of them is sold off.

    Babies need familiar things and friends especially if they do not have their mothers. I have brought two weanlings home and they are totally lost for ages even if I try to “buddy” them up. Age is not a prerequisite either for the need for friends – I also have a home bred mare who, over the years, has lost her paddock mates and now she just plain refuses to mate up with anyone and is always found on her own.

  18. Martina Braden on May 31, 2016 at 10:54 pm

    I have been waiting for you to adopt one or two of these foals. They are going to have a great home!!! Please keep us updated on the progress and send lots of pictures. I enjoyed watching Jac’s progress. If you have time it would be great if you could do the same.

  19. Carla carrabino on May 31, 2016 at 10:27 pm

    I can’t wait to watch you with two. ?
    Please let us watch as you choose.
    I am excited!

  20. Bobbie Kiser on May 31, 2016 at 10:14 pm

    So proud of you and your husband. Such a commitment, but will be such a neat experience.

  21. Patricia woodruff on May 31, 2016 at 9:50 pm

    Stacy go for the two younger ones. They will both love you as if you are their mother !!

  22. Mary Anita Woolard on May 31, 2016 at 8:48 pm

    Whatever you decide to do Stacy, it will be right. I love following you on facebook and feel honored that I actually got to meet and talk to you one year at Road to the Horse. I do not ride anymore but still love to be around horses and donkeys. I do volunteer work for an organization called STARRS (Special Therapeutic and Recreational Riding Students). I love working with the physically and mentally challenged youth and adults as well as being with the horses. I’ll be looking forward to seeing your pictures once you make your choice.

  23. Eileen Sweeney on May 31, 2016 at 8:36 pm

    Such an exciting thing to be doing! I know nothing about horses, but you do! You’ll know the best thing to do when the time comes! Can’t wait to see the baby/babies! Good luck!!!

  24. Caryl Shortridge on May 31, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    Stacy, follow your heart and observations. The foals will tell you which one(s) right for you!

  25. karen gore on May 31, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    I have two semi rescues, they kind of chose me. I love both my girls, I let my heart lead me, as far as animals never wrong. Personality and interest in me. I talk to them and they cant wait for the next story. Bless you I wish I could house more. Cant wait to see your pick.

  26. Judy on May 31, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    I took on a rescue mare who came to them as a foal, or so I was told. She was 6yo. Had lots of issues since she grew up without guidance. You know horses so you’ll do well. Good luck.

  27. Andrea Goodwin on May 31, 2016 at 8:07 pm

    Hi Stacy, Eight years ago I adopted a PMU foal. The Dream Acres Equestrian Center wanted to save a foal from being purchased at auction by meat buyers. The barn didn’t have room for another foal, so they offered the foal up for adoption to Dream Acres clients. My husband (not a horse guy) gave his blessing for me to get the foal 🙂 When it was time to choose my foal, I a couple of the percheron crosses instantly caught my eye (I went with the intention of choosing a QH or QH cross). The crosses I noticed right off were already claimed, which forced me to slow down and look closer. I stayed out in that pen in the freezing temps (I chose my foal in early December) watching behaviors and temperaments. After two hours and painfully frozen fingers and toes, I knew which foal was The ONE 🙂 Yes she had nice conformation, but what got me was the way she handled herself at the round bale. While the group jostled each other around and kicked aggressively, my foal picked up her hind foot and waited to see if a kick was necessary. Wow! A foal that didn’t use excessive force! That was it, I was sold! She matured into a stunning mare, and I’m really glad those two other foals were already adopted. We ride trails in our area, accessing them from trails on our property, and we go bitless 😉 My advice: give yourself time to sit and observe the foals until they show you their personalities. Congratulations on adopting a foal(s)!!

  28. Yvonne Wyche on May 31, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    Congratulations. I know you can do it. You are awesome. It was a pleasure meeting you in Tallahassee , Florida this year . You are always helping someone out, so I know whether you pick one or two they will thrive in your care. Let us know which one or ones you pick please. I like the appy 😉

  29. Shannon Eaton on May 31, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    I think it is awesome what you are I doing. A person of your stature could do a tremendous amount to bring awareness about this and so many horse welfare issues. There is definitely no reason a horse needs to be papered to be a great horse. I’ve never raised a nurse mare foal, but did end up with one after rescuing a neglected pregnant mare. It’s infinitely rewarding. I’m sure you will know “the right one” when you meet them, but I myself would have a hard time not taking two!

  30. Kristin on May 31, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    Not so much advice as moral support – woohoo! I can now live vicariously through you from New Zealand. I stalk the Last Chance Corral Facebook Page and website all the time as well, wishing that I could adopt one or two. I assume you will be keeping a blog/updates on your foal? I sure hope so, because I’d love to see what you do and over the next few years enjoy seeing how an orphaned nurse mare foal thrives regardless of their start in life 🙂

  31. Sara McNeil on May 31, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    Go with your heart. You will know whether to choose one or two.

    • Charlene McMinn on May 31, 2016 at 8:05 pm

      I think you should keep an open mind until you get there and meet each one. Never judge a horse by color off a website:)….You will know which ones have the personality your heart desires. It will be tough I am sure. But I have faith once you get there the cards will fall right. Your training will take over and it will come to you….Good luck and god bless you and your new foals!

  32. PAM CINELLI on May 31, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    Don’t worry about it Stacey– with your knowledge and expertise, you’ll do just fine!! It doesn’t matter who their Mom and Dad were, you’ll be the one to teach them the right way of doing things. I suggest you get your boys involved. They might get attached and decide to raise them for their own! I would suggest getting more than one. Even with a Mom available it would be good to have a sibling to play with. Good Luck, and I’m totally jealous! Please let us know which ones you pick, and keep us updated on their training progress so we can all follow along? I really enjoyed watching Jac! It would be really fun!!

  33. Harold Rainwater on May 31, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    Just follow your heart?
    A trainer with your ability and reputation may encourage others to do the adoption route.

  34. Carol Swank on May 31, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    Take the one or two who come up to you!

  35. Kim Leonard on May 31, 2016 at 7:06 pm

    Hi Stacy, go with your heart. You will know – maybe he/she or they will choose you? What a beautiful thing your doing.

    • Jennifer Carter on June 1, 2016 at 4:40 pm

      Yes, as folks are saying, let them pick you. See who’s interested and comes up to you after sitting out with them for a couple hours observing, I’ve found works well. I LOVE the little gray with white face towards front just by color, and of course the tobianos, but hey, that’s me!
      Good for you for doing this! For sure take two if you’re able.

  36. Sarah on May 31, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    I feel like horse choosing is almost like dating. When you find “the one(s)” you just feel it in your gut and there’s this natural instant connection. The problem here is, they’re all so precious I’d feel like they’re all “the ones”! I’m so jealous of your problem!!! 🙂 Congratulations!

  37. Sue on May 31, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    I have raised more than a few nurse mare foals in the past. I was part of a research project for a new foal formula years ago. We raised 21 during a spring/summer. I purchased one of the foals when the project was done. I also raised a Belgian nurse mare colt who came from Ohio with his dam. I raised an orphan Clydesdale for a local farm as well. It is so rewarding and fun. The hardest part is going to be picking out your foal(s). If you do end up only taking one, be sure to find a kind uncle or aunt horse so that the foal gets herd learning once it is off formula! I have never ridden a gaited foal, but they have a black gaited colt named Cherokee Sky on their website that just grabbed me! Best of luck! Can’t wait to see who you pick!

  38. Judy Bank on May 31, 2016 at 6:54 pm

    Stacy, I SO appreciate what you are doing! To bring broader attention to the nurse mare foal issue will be very beneficial! As with the Mustang Makeovers, people may begin to realize that a horse does not have to be registered with an association to be of value. And that “showing” within a breed association is not the only, or necessarily, the best way to enjoy the benefit of having a horse. Thank You!

  39. Dawn Luciano on May 31, 2016 at 6:53 pm

    You will know when you are there. Everything happens for a reason, right?! Wouldn’t surprise me if they pick you!!!

  40. Rebecca Vensel on May 31, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    I have always believed horses are like potato chips. You can’t have just one! That being said, like potato chips, you can have too many! However, you will know when you see them in person. God will speak to you through these babies. Rest well tonight. It will be your last good nights sleep for a while! 🙂

  41. Megan on May 31, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    Personally I think I’d go for the pair – that way the babies have a friend when you aren’t there. I’m sure you’ll be there often, but probably not 100% of the time. They can cuddle and love and play and do the things babies like to do together❤️ I’m sure once you get there, you will find the perfect duo to add to your family. It may be fun to try and pick a pair that are best suited for different disciplines? Maybe that would make parting with one later on down the road a lot easier. Congratulations on your babies though!!! If I was equipped for it I would get a pair myself, but currently I’m at a boarding arena:(

    I look forward to TONS of adorable baby pictures and updates from you:)

  42. Barb yeo on May 31, 2016 at 6:40 pm

    I envy you..I loved having the babies and now I am completely horseless..thank you for adopting from last chance corral.

  43. Dawn on May 31, 2016 at 6:40 pm

    I am always stalking their website, although in the current stage in my life, my forever mare is all the horse I need. But I do so love to see the foals & read the stories. My current favorite is Clooney, a Rocky Mountain colt who should grey out. He is a handsome boy!

  44. Lorraine on May 31, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    Hi Stacy,
    Been breeding for 20 yrs now.I’ve always found its
    Good for them to have a buddy.I know it’s alot more work
    But they are happier babies.Plus I could sit and a
    Watch them for hours.Just a shame they grow up..lol

  45. Ashley on May 31, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    I say go for two young ones 🙂 to me anyway it seems like it might be easier to bond with them younger when the my haven’t become a little more independent and if you’re gonna do it might as well go big 🙂

  46. gagirljm@yahoo.com on May 31, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    this is great news! i am sure you will make a great orphan foal mom! please keep us posted!

  47. Rob Pearce on May 31, 2016 at 6:27 pm

    I don’t have any advice, but what a cool thing you are doing, I feel so sad for all the horses with no homes. We have several Mustang herds near here, people turn their unwanted horses out with them, which isn’t good either. Be nice to the mini foal, give it a pet for me. Let us know how it does, as well as the foal/foals.

  48. Shelly mcdonough on May 31, 2016 at 6:27 pm

    I would take to simply because you know what you’re doing and you have the facilities and the wherewithal to care for two of them

  49. Alaina Huston on May 31, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    Pick two! Then two lives will have one of the most amazing homes they could have ever dreamt for. Two lives adopted means room for 2 more sweet souls to be saved. You can do it I have no doubt!!

  50. Patsy24 on May 31, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    You will know what it should be once you see them and have been chosen by them. Congratulations. What lucky babies

    • patty shull on June 1, 2016 at 9:22 pm

      I adopted a baby from there. i had one pick out and had to come back the following week to pick him up. but he had surgery and i hated to haul him back to indiana, he was really young. so i decided to look around. when i looked into the stall there was about 10 or so babies in there. but this one got my attention. she had her head up high and all i could see was her little white nose. so i ask for them to let her out. she came right to me and follow me everywhere i went. so i guess she picked me. her name is Jessie, and i wouldn’t take anything for her. she is now 8 years old.

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