-To create a facility for retired broodmares at which they will be pampered.
-To re-unite broodmares with their fans; therefore giving said mares a “job” in public relations.
-To enhance the efforts of non-profit rescue and adoption groups.
Horses thrive when they have a purpose, a job. They are also happiest when they have a routine.
The Thoroughbred broodmare gives her all: First on the racetrack and then through the breeding shed. They generally understand their role and thrive.
Upon retirement, the role of the broodmare changes… they no longer have a job. They have no purpose.
While the best farms continue to care for their aged mares without disrupting their routine, the mares may still be aware they no longer fit into the purpose of the breeding farm. They are also occupying valuable space that could be used for the intended purpose of the farm… breeding.
For some mares, the end of their reproductive years mark the end of their days of being pampered. They are fed and given basic care but are no longer the focus of attention. Instead of a routine based on a purpose, their lives become that of maintenance alone. The mares may not thrive without a purpose. Those who still reside on breeding farms and who enjoyed motherhood are faced with constant reminders that they have no foal. Still other aging mares are sold at auction when they are nearing the end of their reproductive years. Their reproductive days are almost over. Without means to support themselves through foals, they are in danger of becoming a financial liability. Once that happens, their very lives are in danger.
Other mares are simply “put out to pasture,” perhaps with the misguided belief that all horses are happiest when left on their own. They no longer get daily meals and are often forced to fend for themselves. They may or may not get general maintenance care such as vet, dental, and farrier care.
These latter two sets of mares are the most at risk. Without a bond with a devoted human or a means to support herself, the mare becomes a financial liability.
All of these mares still have a productive role in the horse industry. Many have fans that would love a chance to meet them “in person,” and others can be great educational opportunities.