Born at Tranquility Farm?

Today we will begin to wean our 2009 foals, and before very long they will be ready to be offered for adoption. I'm always surprised that visitors to Tranquility Farm are amazed to see our broodmares, and they are very curious as to why they are here. It is a fair question.

When we first moved to the farm in March of 1998 we brought with us six pregnant mares that were rescued from the Barretts sale. This was before the $1,000 minimum bid rule, and slaughter buyers combed the sales for heavy horses. These were dark days. After the minimum bid rule we hoped the number of unwanted mares would decrease, but the market began to contract, and this most vulnerable group of horses still suffered.

Now they were being sold cheaply after the sale, or simply given away. Little changed, so we kept rescuing them as best we could. We have had six to eight pregnant mares here every year, and over twelve years that adds up to a lot of babies that have called Tranquility Farm their first home.

The recession has been especially unkind to broodmares. The costs at the farms have skyrocketed; the market has dropped like a rock; and to make matters worse many people who own breeding stock are at the age where they are retiring and dispersing their horses. All this at a time when buyers are scarce. It has been a perfect storm,and Tranquility Farm has offered one small haven where each year a few can make it to safety.
This year the Jockey Club reports that in 2010 the smallest foal crop is expected since 1977. It may be too soon to celebrate the possibility that there will be less pregnant broodmares ending up in the "unwanted horse" ranks, but perhaps we can breathe one small sigh of relief.
The beneficiaries of our hard work to raise all these foals have been the adopters who get the opportunity to take home a beautiful young Thoroughbred that has been raised with a lot of love. It always brings a smile how many of them end up getting named "Lucky".