I was recently asked how many thoroughbred foals were registered annually in the United States. According to the Jockey Club , the 2009 foal crop is projected to be 35,400, indicating an estimated 3.3% decline from the 2008 estimate of 36,600 foals. RMB's, or Reports of (Thoroughbred) Mares Bred, are referenced in these estimates. It should also be noted that there are late registration procedures and requirements detailed on the Jockey Club's website. Estimates are estimates,of course, but it is also estimated than more than 98,000 horses went to slaughterhouses in 2008 and that more than 17,000 have so been dispatched through March of 2009, and it is estimated that one-third of those slaughter-bound horses on the kill trucks to Mexico and Canada are thoroughbreds.
Thoroughbred breeders and owners are not slaughtering every years' registered foal crop. Ex-racers, broodmares and stallions who are no longer productive and or/profitable factor into these estimates along with thoroughbreds ending their performance and pleasure careers. A number of thoroughbreds that won't be directed towards the sale barns and racing may not be registered at all. It was brought to my attention that some horse owners are unaware of the role nurse mares fill in breeding and re-breeding. There are thoroughbred nurse mares who may produce unreported and often disposable progeny. It is both statistically and economically unlikely that the foal of a thoroughbred nurse mare, if considered a superfluous "orphan", will be registered. It's not easy to calculate the numbers of thoroughbred nurse mares and foals, but it is not insignificant. Some organizations focus on the plights of Premarin mares their foals of all breeds. Premarin farms in the United States and Canada are not publishing the statistics on any sites I can find.
Chez Chevaux thanks everyone who has supported our Derby Dollar Challenge to date-We are continuing this challenge throughout the Triple Crown series. Please follow Chez Chevaux on Facebook and Twitter as well.