Monday, December 7, 2015


on December 7, 2015
Dinky the Nurse Mare’s Foal is a beautiful story. Marta Moran Bishop was both adventurous and ambitious to undertake an animal’s tale from the first person point of view, and yet she has done it brilliantly. Whether you read Dinky in a straightforward way, as a moving description of the tribulations of a particular caste of equine life, or as an allegory for how we value and treat other humans of humble birth, there is no denying the power and pathos in this work. This book follows in the greatest traditions of Misty of Chincoteague, and Black Beauty, delving into the magnanimous, yet sometimes daunting emotions in that rare, fine place where humans and horses meet. No, you don’t have to love horses to revel this great story of survival. In the end, Dinky will show readers a hard lesson in not bowing to overwhelming hardship if only one can hold a vision for the highest expression of life that one and all deserve.
Robert Blake Whitehill, Author, The Ben Blackshaw Series

Heartbreaking story with joyful endingJanuary 19, 2013

This is moving tale that will rip your heart in half and then stitch it back up. Told from the perspective of Dinky, a little foal that was ripped away from his mother, the story opens the reader's eyes to the pain, fear, and heartbreak that many horses face in the cruel world of animal marketing. With her care and humane spirit, Marta Moran-Bishop has tackled an important issue that needs to be heard. Compassion, awareness and education are vital in the fight of putting an end to animal cruelty, and I believe every single child (and adult) should read this book.

Horse Lovers Beware: Dinky will steal your heart!January 21, 2013
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This review is from: Dinky: The Nurse Mare's Foal (Paperback)
Dinky: The Nurse Mare's Foal is a book to delight horse lovers of all ages. The horrors of the cruel treatment suffered by many brood mares who give birth only to have their new foal taken from them so that they can nurse another more important foal, is offset by the compassionate treatment of the subject and the wonderful story-telling ability of the author. Told from the point of view of a very young foal, Dinky sets the stage with comments like, "I stood there looking at her with my cutest little boy expression,..."; and humorous ones like, "I realized I'd gotten my wish to stay out in the sun longer. I truly needed to be more specific, I thought..."; to horse communication statements such as "Humans seem pretty stupid, Dinky. We can learn their language, but I have yet to meet one that understands horse." Fortunately, Dinky discovered that there are a few who can understand "horse" when he was adopted by author Marta and her husband Ken, and he meets his new brother and sister, fellow horses Chrome and Connella. Connella tells him, "Marta and Ken will take care of us and feed us. They teach us how to be part of their world, and we show them how to be horses." The loving relationship between Marta and her horses is evident throughout the story. Dinky tells us, "I knew she was my human, so I wrapped my head around her, the way we horses hug a human." Having spent my own adolescent years as a horse fanatic, I can really relate to that horse hug!!! This book would have been one of my favorites then, and it is definitely one of my favorites now...

Why this book is a five-starJuly 9, 2013
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This review is from: Dinky: The Nurse Mare's Foal (Paperback)
Dinky: The Nurse Mare's Foal is an unusual book. The story is simple, and the language plain. No car chases, no explosions, no wizards, no serial killers. It's a story of survival told with love and compassion. What makes it exceptional is that it pulls the reader into an unsuspected world of loss and survival underneath our love of horses as we see them in westerns and on TV, and at the races. It's told by a writer who understands and loves horses, and who can pull off telling the story of another species through the eyes of a discarded foal. I never knew people did that to horses -- take a mother mare away from her foal to give her milk to a thoroughbred.

There's a strong sense of place in Dinky's story, too. That's what a good book does -- it takes you there. I like it that children and adults feel compassion when we see or read stories about loss and suffering, like Disney's Bambi. That feeling enlarges the soul. It's good for people of all ages to feel for animals. We're the better for it. You'll come away from Dinky feeling good. Disney should option this one. Highly recommended.

 DinkyJune 5, 2013
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This review is from: Dinky: The Nurse Mare's Foal (Kindle Edition)
I enjoyed this book from start to finish. Even though there were dark spots you knew all along things were going to get better. This would be a great book to read to your kids and I think most anyone would enjoy it. I love the way it is written from the horses view. I always did imagine what my animals were saying. LOL You can see the love between Marta and the pony from the beginning! This book is full of hope. It is great to read about a positive experience. We tend to hear the horror stories but do not get to hear about the victories and positive experiences there are. It really takes a lot of love to help these animals. Thank God Marta is one of those special people who has been able to do this.

Dinky stole a part of my soul!March 29, 2014
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This review is from: Dinky: The Nurse Mare's Foal (Paperback)
Dinky: The Nurse Mare's Foal by Marta Moran Bishop is a fascinating story about a small unfortunate foal which was taken away from his mother in the first hours of his birth. In her book, talented Marta Moran Bishop tells the real story of her life through the eyes of a little unfortunate animal.

Dinky's story reminds me of slavery. How can people be so cruel to animals? How can one take a small helpless child from his mother and condemn it to miserable existence or death for financial gain?

Sufferings of a little unfortunate foal affected all corners of my soul and turned it upside down. It kept my emotions high. I read this book, full of compassion and empathy to the little foal. In some places it was impossible to hold back the tears, especially when Dinky recalled his mother and begged to shelter him.

I wanted to yell, "I'm Dinky. I know if I'm loved, I'll be sweet and smart."
It was hard to remember my mother now. She was just a dream in my head. Maybe she didn't honestly tell me those things. Perhaps, it was as Lucky always said - wishful thinking. Her voice and smell were so hazy now. Would someone want me, as they wanted Lucky and Kaylee? "Please, let someone want me," I whispered.

Thoughts and emotions of Dinky, described by Marta's words are amazing in their simplicity and originality. I am absolutely sure that if Dinky could speak he would not have said it better than Marta. Reading Dinky, I understood that Marta is very unusual and extraordinary woman who like no other can understand the thoughts and feelings of horses. Moreover, she can speak horse!

After going through all the torments of hell, miserable little Dinky finally finds his home and family in the faces of Marta, Ken, Chrome and Connella. Dinky, Chrome and Connella created their own small herd.

The book impressed me not only by the plot, but by bright and soulful descriptions of episodes.

"Falling asleep, I dreamed of my mother and again heard her words, "Dinky, you are smart. You are beautiful. You will grow big and strong. Someday you might be white like me when you grow up."
In my dream I told her all about my new life. I told her all about my new life. I told her of the trials and sorrows, the hunger and fear of the first months, and how much I had missed her and hoped to one day see her again. I told her of Lucky and that without him I might not have made it. And I told her of Chrome, Connella, Ken, Marta, and our home. We talked about my birthday party, the fun I had, and what Uncle Kris had said to Marta and Ken earlier. I told her I was learning the ways of my herd and had a forever family who loved me and nuzzled me when I needed it. We talked about the different bugs, the snow, the birds, the sweetness of the grass, and the feel of the wind in my mane. "Mama, I will grow up gentle as Chrome, yet strong and sure too." But most of all, we talked of how I survived the pain we both felt when we were separated so long ago, and how happy I now was. "Mama, the fear and pain grow dimmer each day, and all humans aren't like the wicked men that separated us. Oh, Mama, some humans can even learn to speak horse."

Dinky: The Nurse Mare's Foal by Marta Moran Bishop stole a part of my soul. It is suitable for people of all ages. I highly recommend this book!

on February 19, 2013
Told in the honest spirit of sharing, DINKY THE NURSE MARE'S FOAL is a glimpse into a hidden side in the life of a beautiful creature. Through Dinky a precious emotional story emerges; one that left this reader laughing and crying. Most of all, it opened my eyes to an alarming practice in the business of horses.I am embarrassed to say, I had never thought about what happened to the nurse mare's babies,and was naive enough to assume rescue stables and similar facilities were staffed and ran by well trained and educated people.

On one hand, Dinky's story exposes the cruel reality of suffering imposed upon the helpless by a rich industry. On the other hand, it is a beautiful story about adoption, and adaption, as Dinky learns to find his place within his new horse family and of course, his people family. Dinky's journey reminds me of my family's experience with two adopted children. There are precious beautiful moments, yet there are times when the memories of the past cannot be subdued and a perfect storm erupts. In my opinion, Dinky's life is as much an accurate portrayal of adoption as it is about abuse, but more significantly it is about overcoming the odds.

This is a touching book for all ages. Please, do not miss it!
Very simply written with a profound effect.September 8, 2013
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This review is from: Dinky: The Nurse Mare's Foal (Kindle Edition)
Written from the nurse mare foals point of view truly captures the loss and fear that is evident in this harsh practice.

 Educational, Highlights Need for Humane Treatment of HorsesJanuary 13, 2013
This review is from: Dinky: The Nurse Mare's Foal (Kindle Edition)
Marta Moran Bishop has written a delightful story of the first year in the life of a nurse mare's foal. Dinky, the foal, tells his own story of being torn from his mother and moved from one stable to another without understanding why he's treated so unkindly. His grief, confusion, and physical hunger inspire empathy in the reader for his predicament. Dinky helped me to understand what horrors a "junk foal" faces in trying to survive a human market and made me aware of the need for more humane treatment for these precious animals. Fortunately for Dinky, his story has a happy ending. I highly recommend it for children, young adults, and adults.
by Franki deMerle

A Poignant Book For All AgesFebruary 21, 2013
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This review is from: Dinky: The Nurse Mare's Foal (Paperback)
Dinky: The Nurse Mare's Foal is a memoir told from the first person's POV (point of view). What makes this memoir unlike any other is that the first person (narrator) is Dinky, a foal whose life begins as a seemingly insurmountable struggle. He survives mistreatment and continued disappointments during his early life.

He longs for the time he spent with his mother who adored him. But he was so young when he was taken from her, that he was confused and lonely. Additionally he hadn't learned all the lessons of life that would help him in the coming years. However, in their short time together mom infused her love into Dinky's heart and mind while reassuring him that he was smarter than most horses and would grow up to be strong. Dinky's strength would be tested throughout his young life particularly in the areas of learning the ways of a herd and to be able to trust people again.

Luckily for Dinky, a delightful couple named Ken and Marta recognized his beauty..inside and out, adopted him and taught him what it felt like to be nurtured and loved. As Dinky stated, "They even learned how to speak horse." Dinky is both a story of loss as well as a lesson on the power of love to heal.

It is rare that an author can write in the first person and make it feel totally authentic. Author Marta Moran Bishop masters this task brilliantly. A reader of any age who loves and respects animals of all kinds will be deeply touched by this book.

An eye opener!August 21, 2013
This review is from: Dinky: The Nurse Mare's Foal (Kindle Edition)
The story of "Dinky: The Nurse Mare's Foal" is a touching, heartwarming yet sad tale. Narrated by Dinky himself, the story begins just after his birth, when he was shaky and new, barely able to stand. He had his mother by his side, full of advice, love and nourishment. But the tragedy of their situation meant Dinky was unable to stay with his mother more than a day or so, destined to a life of uncertainty, never knowing if he would gain a family or end up at the meat markets.

When Dinky was taken by horse trailer to another farm, jammed in with other horses, he was frightened. He didn't understand why he had been taken from his mother, didn't understand what the two men who were in charge of them were doing. They were unkind, after all this was just a job to them, and with no compassion for the young foal he was scared and lonely. Arrival at the farm put him in with another young horse, Lucky who, though a little older than Dinky became his friend.

The stories Dinky heard from the other horses and Lucky were bleak ones; the tannery, the meat markets - or kind humans who would love him and make him part of the family. Which would Dinky be destined to arrive at? Would he end up as someone's new handbag; would he be someone's supper? Or would he be loved, let grow to a big, strong and handsome horse, with a good future?

What a delightful but extremely eye opening story, with the practice of foals being bred for the one and only purpose of allowing their mothers to produce milk, which in turn would feed foals from better class mares; a practice which is cruel, heartbreaking and sad. I recommend this book for all.

Saturday, November 14, 2015


The day I learned about nurse mares and nurse mare foals was the day I met Dinky, originally named Cole at the local fair. It was one of the hottest days on record and Dinky with his friend Lucky (another nurse mare foal) were in a small enclosure in the sun. He was frightened, nippy, and yet curious at the same time.

His entire demeanor spoke of his fear, loneliness, desperation and needed to be loved and safe, yet he had no idea how to achieve these things.

I will never forget that day, for it followed me as the image of him did not leave me, but spurred me to know more and to take him home, cure his loneliness and fears. The adoption was not difficult, but the days, weeks, years that followed as he grew and developed into a beautiful horse were challenging.

Many days and nights filled, with his desperation to understand what it was to be a horse. How to get the love he needed and to learn his purpose, there remained a sense of his inability to understand what either the other horses or humans around him expected of him.

The anger I first felt about the treatment of nurse mares and nurse mare foals blossomed into a passion of mine, to tell the story of Dinky. I hoped it would enable others to understand what a horse feels and that they do feel, think, and are not only beautiful creatures. But treasures for us to learn our humanity and the ability to bond with others. For it is in learning to understand animals and other humans and empathize with them that we find the ability to sympathize with all of life.

 As a child looks to first its parents, than its peers, so do animals and horses. When you take a baby from its mother, it will look for someone to cling to, a role model to teach and follow. Nurse mare foals are no different, except that they are without an adult of their species to nurture and guide them. They cannot survive on their own any more than a human baby could.

It is a heartless practice and one that in my opinion hurts the horses and our humanity. Inflicting needless suffering on both the elite mare, the nurse mare, and both foals. All of which become fodder for the human desire to achieve and are proof of their greed. Whether it be the next ribbon or race horse that will come out of the elite mare, it diminishes her worth as a fellow creature. The nurse mare becomes nothing but a breeding machine, her foal tossed aside as worthless. These glorious animals with love, brains, heart, and soul become lost.

A few like Kaylee, out of the thousands born a year get rescued, some go to good homes and are not bought and sold again and again after their first owners get tired of them because they are no longer small furry babies. The rest become cordovan leather or die soon after their first breath.

Dinky: The Nurse Mare’s Foal took me three years to write and more revisions than I can count. First I had to rid myself of my anger over the plight of these small creatures.

I had to let go of my ego and immerse myself in his heart, mind, fears, becoming one with him.

Many will consider it strange that I say I became one with him, but I did, Dinky told me his story, it filled my mind and heart day in and day out. I lived it with him as he grew.

And so Dinky: The Nurse Mare’s Foal, was written, through his memories of those times and places that held sway over him and inhibited him from learning to become the wonderful horse he is today.

Sunday, October 25, 2015


Today’s world appears to me to be an impatient one. A society where so much is made to throw away and few wish to wait for gratification, instead everything must be now! There is too much importance on things and money and less on those things money can’t buy. A hug, smile, the life of an animal.
Instead too many times they too are bred to be tossed out, to be bait for a dog fight or used as breeding machines. Sometimes I wonder how much we are missing in this throwaway world we live in.
Dinky is a nurse mare foal; he was bred to get his mother in milk that was his only purpose. In the elite horse world, a nurse mare foal has no other purpose. Some of these foals are tossed on the side of the road as if they were garbage. Too many nurse mare foals are sold to the tanner, to make cordovan leather for couches and shoes or pony bags to adorn our homes and bodies until the next trend comes along. Some of them like Dinky are lucky, and a nurse mare foal rescue saves them.
But what happens to this little foal after the rescue has nursed it back to health? Where does it go, who takes care of it, teaches it, and loves it?
Have you ever wondered how this little foal learns what it is to be a horse or if they live in confusion, never learning their place or if they are a human or a horse?
Dinky: The Nurse Mare’s Foal took me nearly three years to write, it was difficult to learn to read the language of a horse. To bond so deeply with them that both of you understand each other, at least as much as any two species can.

If you believe that foals, colts, and horses have emotions, thoughts, and fears of their own should we take this cause on, highlight their plight and force the horse world to change their practice. Perhaps as some believe they are just an animal to be used and tossed aside after they we humans are done with them? If so Dinky’s story and the plight of the nurse mare and her foal will mean little to you.

Sunday, October 11, 2015


“Chrome, Connella, I remembered Little Jimmy today,” Dinky said excitedly.

“Who is Little Jimmy, Dinky,” Connella asked curiously

“Little Jimmy, lived at the old stable with me. I didn’t see him much at first, for her was very sick, Connella. We all overheard the women discussing whether he would make it or not.” Dinky replied.

“Why does that make you so excited, Dinky?” Chrome inquired.

“Well, I guess it’s because Little Jimmy had it so much worse than the rest of us. Even worse than Kaylee did, and he made it, Chrome. For a long time, he had a tube stuck on his face, and you could see his ribs through his skin, for he had no coat on a part of his sides.
Sometimes, at night we would hear people moving around in his stall and heard them as they helped him stand up and held him as they poured milk down his tube. The tube went right through his nose; it looked like an awful way to eat.” Dinky stated.

“Oh my! was all Connella could say at first. “How
ever did you find out that he lived and was okay Dinky?”

“I overheard Marta, Christine, and April discussing it the other day. I have been racking my brain ever since to remember what he looked like the last time I saw him. I remembered the first time, but not the rest, things moved too fast at that time and then I came here.
They said he grew up to be a beautiful Palomino and was a trail horse living in his forever home with people who loved him, just like Ken and Marta love us.”

“That makes me happy too, said Chrome, for you were quite small and sickly when you came here and look at you now.”

Interrupting, Connella said. “Well, that just goes to show how love, care, and faith can work wonders now doesn’t it?”

“It sure does, Connella, you see Dinky, in some ways you nurse mare foals are stronger than the rest of us. It doesn’t matter that you weren’t born to one of the human’s so called ‘elite breeds.’ What a lot of nonsense that is anyway, why do they believe the bloodline makes the horse?”

Sunday, October 4, 2015


Each year over forty-thousands foals are born of these there is no record of how many of them are in need of a nurse mare or how many nurse mare foals are born. In order to bring a mare to milk, she must come to foal, the byproduct and by many called a ‘junk foal.’ They have no other purpose; many are sold to tanners, where their hides make pony bags, cordovan leather for couches and shoes. Some get rescued, our Dinky is a nurse mare foal, he is one of the lucky ones, and he had a chance at life and a home.

al. In the world of the horse industry, the foal of a nurse mare is a necessary
But to achieve that, Dinky had to live the first few months of his life, with the loss of his mother, fear for his future and the lack of understanding of his place in the world. He had no mother or adult horses to teach him how to be a horse. Though at least he had his fellow nurse mare foals and caring humans around him to help him through some of the roughest times of his life.
To many in this world hold life (except their own) worthless and animals are dumb creatures without soul, feelings, thoughts, or heart. It is sad, for one only has to watch the interactions between any animal to see so clearly that it is not so. Animals think, feel, care, are curious about their surroundings and recognize friends and family.

I am not going to tell you that raising Dinky was or is an easy task. It wasn’t and isn’t, but he is worth every moment. He came to us at about five months old, so thin it broke our hearts, needy, frightened and in need of comfort. As with many who adopt nurse mare foals, the tendency to pamper and comfort was there. Only loosely training, for the sweetness and sadness of this little foal touches one's heart so deeply.
Alas, many come to the realization that they made a mistake, treating this small foal as if it were a puppy when it becomes five hundred pounds or more. Ken and I were fortunate, we had some experience with large horses and this headstrong young colt though a handful began his real training.
Dinky has a stubborn streak, we had no wish to break his spirit, nor stem his curiosity, but he needed to know that we were Alpha to him. It was imperative that he learn this for everyone’s safety and his happiness.
The first few times he tipped over the wheelbarrow full of manure, attempting to push it was cute, the fifteenth time it was not. Much of what he does and did remains cute and funny though he has learned over time that there are times and places for it.
Over the next few weeks, I will be writing about Dinky, Lucky, Kaylee, Little Jimmy and many of the other nurse mare foals I met. I will write about their antics, hardships, and where they are today.

Stay tuned for the early days.