ATHENS, Ohio — Orphaned, unwanted and some only days old, these fragile foals will need a lot of tender, attentive care to survive.
At The Last Chance Corral, they get that opportunity to live and grow without their mothers. The 2.75-acre horse rescue farm says it has saved thousands of foals and full-grown horses over the past three decades.
A handful of staffers are helped by a stream of volunteers who navigate the peaceful barns to monitor the foals' progress. They quietly step around the sleeping foals, taking notes.
They replace soiled wood shavings used for bedding and for waste disposal. By hand, they encourage skittish and stressed young animals to drink formula.
Founder Victoria Goss says the horses come from a variety of sources for a variety of reasons. Some owners could no longer afford to keep them or family changes left them without a caregiver; some are infirm; others are simply unwanted or abandoned.
The biggest part of the nonprofit organization's operations is rescuing foals that are often only weeks old and require 24-hour care.
"We wanted to put our efforts into something that people don't want to work with, which is newborns," Goss says. "We needed to at least give them a chance."
Last Chance opened in 1986, but Goss says she has been involved in horse rescue since she was a child.
"My whole life was horses," she said. "This is what I know the most about. It seemed like an obvious place where I could do good."