My PMU Horse, Dream
This article is to encourage our many horse friends to consider the PMU Horse, and the PMU Industry to do
more for PMU foals an Editorial by Bob Pruitt CEO InfoHorse.com
InfoHorse.com became involved with PMU horses a few
years ago through a picture that caught my interest on our Sister site equusite.com, a site we purchased to support
beginning horse owners and Horse Rescue Groups through the pictures of the day feature there. A PMU foal is the result of a mare that is used in making of a menopause drug called Premerin® produced by Wyeth Inc recently purchased by Pfizer. PMU stands for
pregnant mare urine, the product that is collected to make the menopause drug. Pregnant Mares mean foals will result.
This is the picture that motivated me to be involved
There are alternatives to this drug that work for most women and recently this drug has had lots of bad
press due to side effects, but in some cases premarin seems to be the only drug that relieves the
symptoms of menopause for a few women. I am pro-human - as I have a Sister, a Mother, a Wife and
2 Daughters and they come first in my world. The Drug Industry has helped our quality of life for the most part but in this case I feel they could do more to insure the foals have a good chance at a normal
life and encourage women to try the alternative drugs.
The people involved with Pfizer/Wyeth Inc. at every level could do a much better job of insuring the
foals produced have a productive life as a cared for horses, and do not end up at a feed lot as thousands
do every year. The PMU Industry as well as the drug industry generally has tried to improve their image
by hiring Image Consultants. These Consultants have required groups working to place foals change
their names and group missions to more politically correct descriptions and references to the PMU
Industry and horses. Word changes that were required a few years ago- “Rescue” groups were told to
change their names and references to “Acquisition” groups if they wanted to be included as outlets for
foal placement. Even the word “adoption” wasn’t suppose to be used for some reason.
The change in name didn’t help the foals, as that year was one of the biggest loss years yet. A
combination of cutbacks in product requirements from Wyeth and the panic of many PMU Ranchers caused a very large number of foals including the Mares to end up at feed lots. Too many horses, not
enough demand. I have noticed this year many of the groups that were helping to “place” foals are no
longer being allowed to help at all, it seems the PMU farms are going to place the foals directly. I find it
difficult to understand how this change could be in the foals’ best interest. A large number of
these horses are shipped directly to France where they are a delicacy and on the menu.
PMU horses can be almost any horse breed; the most productive horses (most urine) are usually bigger breeds
like Draft horses or draft crosses so they tend to dominate the total number. My horse “Dream” is 75 % Quarter Horse and 25 % Percheron. Dream looks like a
slightly bigger Quarter Horse and his size works for me very well as I am 6’ 3”, 230 lbs. Dream’s temperament is also better due to the the Draft blood. Celebrities like
Tom Selleck (A big man) and some Trainer/ Clinicians like Dennis Reis also tall, favor the PMU horses. Many TV and movie Westerns such as Monte Walsh and
Crossfire Trail use the PMU horses. The PMU horses are larger and so photograph well, they are more patient with the long shooting schedules and take good care of
their Riders; My horse Dream works very hard to keep even the most novice rider on his back, while other more hot-blooded horses I have owned work pretty hard at
encouraging novice riders to leave.
The following is a short history of one PMU horse named by our website Visitors “Dream”.
Dream started life with the letter and number assigned at a PMU Farm in North Dakota where he was born. The formally named PMU Foal Adoption Network contacted a few of the PMU Ranchers that
sent most of their foals to auction, to encourage them try to place some of the foals in homes where they
would be cared for. The price to adopt a foal was set at what the Farmer thought he would get if the
foal went to auction and the current price per pound for horse. The group set up a web site and placed
pictures of foals up for adoption. At Dream’s Farm/Ranch the Owners wife took pictures of the foals.
Unfortunately for Dream his picture was taken at a strange angle and maybe in the rain so he didn’t look like the kind of horse too many people would want.
I learned about PMU horses when I bought Equusite.com and started seeing pictures of these horses
submitted to the photo contest there. One picture really caught my attention so I decided to contact the
person who owned the foal and he sent me to the formally named PMUFANI rescue group. They used
the words “volunteer rescue group” in 2002. I contacted them and found the adoption season had
ended but there was still 1 horses they hadn’t placed. He was S-22. The picture on the PMUFANI site
was so bad I couldn’t tell anything about his conformation or color. All I knew was he was a Quarter Horse, Percheron cross and I was his last hope.
So I went through the adoption process and a couple of weeks later a truck and trailer rolled into the
Horse Stable and to the stall we rented and a un-handled and scared foal ran off the trailer into our
quarantined stall. When I saw Dream that first night it almost broke my heart. He had on a nylon halter
that was so small it was beginning to cut him and was covered from head to foot with caked on mud and
manure. He was so tired his legs were shaking from the long trip and so I spent a few hours with him
trying to help him settle in. He had a soft muscle look that reflected the fact that he was held in a small
pen after weaning. Dream was headed to the auction and the feed lot if no one had intervened on his
behalf. Lucky for Dream and lucky for me fate stepped in. He was now standing on ground in his own
stall filled with the soft wood shaving several inches deep and his water was fresh and clean as was his
food. I left when I was sure the exhausted little colt would be O.K. on this first night.
Early the next morning I started the process of
helping my little horse understand that I was there to help him. I was mainly patient and he was curious enough to look my way and with more time approach me to take hay from my hand. He was
small enough that I wasn’t nervous about removing the old halter and running my hands over him. By the after noon I have used a bucket and rags to knock
off enough of the mud and manure to see his buckskin color. The other thing I could see was his feet were so badly overgrown that he had got used
to moving in a way that gave him a slight club foot. (see front feet this picture)
The following day Dream had his first real bath and I
found a great lady Farrier with a soft spot for my little foal to give him his first trim.
That was a real Rodeo but Dream was for the first time in his life clean and standing on his feet like a
horse should. He even had a new fancy halter. Dream’s name was given to him in a contest supported
by our Advertisers and Visitors at our websites. It would take a year of very talented Farriers working on Dream’s front feet to get them very nearly normal again. All is well now.
I am sure the Rancher/Farmer family where Dream was born like to see the horse babies every year. I
was told that Dream was the favorite of the PMU Farm Owners Daughter. My conclusion regarding the
fact that Dream was in such poor condition is simply the Farmer didn’t know any better and considered
Dream livestock. His concern is feeding his family and the PMU business is a large part of his yearly
income. He has bills to pay and money to put away for his children’s college fund, wedding and a million
other things. He is no different than most of the people I know in that regards. I want to make it clear
that I don’t consider these people or what they do as bad. I am only pointing out that this Industry could
stand some improvement for the sake of the horses caught up in the making of this drug.
Dream’s years with us have been eventful as he learned his job of
being my saddle horse. I am in a unique position as the owner of InfoHorse.com as we were swamped with training tapes and books to help us keep Dream on the right path. The California horse
Trainer/Clinician Richard Winters put the first ride on Dream and gave him several hours of training to start him correctly. Dreams next Trainer and my Riding Instructor was
Patrice Thompson of Ojai California. She was amazing with both of us and Dream and I will never forget what I learned from her.
In 2005 we relocated our offices to Fort Worth Texas where Dream had his own arena, barn and 5
acre of pasture he shared with our 22 years young Morgan Mare “Splendor”. Splendor has been with
us for 21 years and will always be with us in our hearts. We lost her to laminitis in 2010... I still have a broken heart...
Our PMU representative and my personal horse “Dream”. I couldn’t imagine a better horse for me than
my big buckskin. Every cowboy we meet goes on and on about how impressive Dream is under saddle.
My purpose in writing this article is
to encourage our many horse friends to consider the PMU Horse; you will find a steady partner and friend.
My other purpose in writing this article is to encourage the PMU
Industry to advertise the virtues of the PMU Horses at every Horse Exposition and major horse event. Find Big Name Trainer/Clinicians to take the PMU horse to the horse
world at large through television and print. Admit that in the past you didn’t do as good a job as you should but now the PMU Industry is going head to head with the general
horse industry and buying the best Stallions and Mares as some PMU Ranches are doing now, so the production of foals becomes a primary value of the PMU Industry. Some impressive and very positive
effort is being made by the North American Equine Ranching Council (NAERIC) to get the PMU
Farmer/Rancher on the right track being responsible Horse Industry Members. More pressure from Wyeth Inc. on all of the PMU Farmers that supply them to support their group, NAERIC would help.
When the foals are placed they need to be cleaned up, hooves trimmed and somewhat halter broke.
Training adds value as does registration paper work Last of all, for now accept help from any sincere group to help get the PMU foals placed with good people.
Lets work together.
We moved to Florida to be semi retired in 2008, running our company with a satellite office here, well we are way too busy to be any kind of retired... We are busier now than ever and expanding the
business with employees in Texas, California and beyond. Dream and Sugar are working with us modeling products for the many advertisers at InfoHorse.com.
Our horses, Dream and we have added our 4 year old Morgan mare Sugar are in a beautiful facility with covered arenas and lots of good care called Showcase Performance Horses , a state of the art facility in SW Florida.
Looking forward to see what 2012 brings for our horses and the entire Horse Industry we are lucky enough to represent. Enjoy your horses!
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