An older broodmare, who years ago was trampled inside a crowded truck headed for the slaughterhouse, nearly losing her life, now spends her days offering solace to an orphaned filly.
Press Exclusive, 20, a racemare and mother of nine consecutive foals, would have died in December 2012 were it not for the intervention of Thoroughbred rescue volunteer Mindy Lovell. The Ontario woman was able to convince a veterinarian to turn the battered mare over to her care, and nursed the animal back to health. A year later, the ex-racehorse was transported to a lifetime sanctuary at Equine Advocates in New York, and to a paddock she has recently began sharing with a filly in need.
The backyard-bred young horse named Tina was orphaned at birth when her mother died in the foaling process. Deprived of the nutrition of her mother’s colostrum, a milk product produced in mammals in late pregnancy, the filly’s growth was stunted. And while she was still a baby, another horse kicked her hard in the head, causing wounds and leaving her permanently but slightly disfigured.
“If you look close you can see that the left eye is different,” says Susan Wagner of Equine Advocates. The same is true for Press Exclusive, whose beautiful face was once horribly disfigured.
But now, Press, who was long ago separated from her babies, and the filly, who never knew what it was like to be with her mother, spend their days running the field they share with a Friesian mare named Femke and a donkey named Pensacola Pete.
“When we took Tina, she was very playful, but had no idea what it was like to have a mother. So we put her with Press, who had nine foals,” Wagner says. “They really got along, and even though Press is older, she will run with her.”
As the Alpha mare in the herd of four equines, Press is also very protective of the arthritic Friesian, so much so that once made it clear to her caretaker that separation of the pair was out of the question. “They’re inseparable,” Wagner says. “We tried to separate them earlier this year” so the Friesian could live in another field with a mare Press did not like. “Press stopped eating, so we immediately put Femke back in her field.”
Wagner adds, “We call the herd the Press Corps.”
To casual onlookers the four equines may look like any other herd. But to those who know the story of Press, (Please see original article here:http://offtrackthoroughbreds.com/2013/09/20/big-winner-nearly-dies-on-the-way-to-slaughter/), the fact that Press is standing in her green, New York pasture is amazing, Wagner says.
“Anyone who has followed the amazing rescue story of Press Exclusive in Canada and her miraculous recovery through the dedication of Mindy Lovell and Transitions Thoroughbreds, knows that except for all the money Press earned as a race horse, she also gave birth to nine foals, some of whom are still racing today,” Wagner says. “Press never lost her maternal instincts and neither has her best friend Femke, who gave birth to three foals in her lifetime as well.
“Together they have taken Tina under their respective wings as Tina’s dam died while giving birth to her while under the ‘care’ of a backyard breeder who did not bother to acquire any colostrum for the newborn foal. He then put Tina in a field with older horses where she
was kicked in the head and lost the sight in her left eye….So these two big mamas took over some of the oversight for Tina, but then there was another issue. Tina is young and needed someone her age to play and run with. Enter Pensacola Pete! He is around Tina’s age and gets along well with her. The question was whether Press and Femke would accept him and they have. As they say, ‘It takes a village.’ In this case we say, ‘It takes a herd!’ ”
Anyone wishing to meet the Press Corps, and all 81 residents of the Equine Advocates sanctuary in Chatham, N.Y. may do so on April 17. During the first Open Day of the season, the public is welcome from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and admission is free. Please visit this link for more details:http://www.equineadvocates.org/news?recordID=97.