Despite what the title might suggest, this isn't a book to read to the kids. In fact, it's a harrowing story, even though it turns out well for Dinky, the so-called "junk foal." Basically, there are mares who have their foals taken away a week after birth, so they can feed the foals of thoroughbred mares who have to return to condition quickly in order to continue racing. The future of the "junk foal," is bleak. Sounds horrific and wrong? It is.
Narrated by Dinky as he remembers his miserable start in life, his story is heartbreaking. You'll never look at horse racing the same way again. It's good to shine a light on and talk about nefarious practices, all done in the name of profit. To be frank, I hate humans just a bit more after reading this.
As for the book, Dinky is an engaging narrator, and very eloquent for a horse. In fact all the horses are more well spoken than a lot of English people I know. This makes it a slightly odd read. Dinky is only a few weeks old, after all, but it's hard to be too critical. The author captures Dinky's sense of confusion and mistrust really well. He just wants to be loved, and throughout his journey, pushed from one place to another until he is finally taken to a place of safety, he is trying to make sense of what is happening to him. Falteringly, and with many mistakes, he learns the way of the herd, guided by alpha male Chrome and lead mare, Connella. It's a real insight into horse psychology and how we really don't understand what is going on inside their heads. (It's a lot, by the way!)
Fortunately, this story has a wonderful ending, as Dinky gradually warms to the author (who owns Dinky) and his new horse friends, but it has a hint of sadness too, as Dinky remembers his mother and the friends he made. He knows he is lucky, but there are so many others which aren't.
Dinky: The Nurse Mare’s Foal, is based on the life of a rescue foal. It is the story of one foal’s fight for survival. After being bred to be thrown away, he struggles to live.
As Dinky grows, he learns how to be a horse and to survive in the world of humans. Marta Moran Bishop has lovingly created the real-life poignant tale of, Dinky: The Nurse Mare's Foal.
Narrated by the central character, Dinky, readers are given a window into the heartbreaking life that can await a nurse mare foal. It is a powerful story highlighting the inhumane practice of a foal being bred for the sole purpose of producing milk in the mare, so she can nourish a high-dollar mare’s foal.
Young Dinky’s battle to survive begins, when he is taken to a farm where the probability of being sold to the meat market or the tanners, so his hide can be used for leather goods is high. Dinky is frightened and alone. His only chance to be free to live and enjoy life is to be adopted by some caring humans.
Dinky: The Nurse Mare’s Foal is an immensely satisfying book which evokes our senses and touches us deeply.