It was February 5th when we first learned about Snowball. She was at an auction the Double S Kill Pen, Pitkin, Louisiana. Double S is a horse brokering agent that offers for sale horses destined for the kill pen. PMU or Premarin mares are shipped in regularly from Canada as a last stop before the horsemeat factories in Mexico.
Premarin is a very common drug prescribed to millions of women worldwide as a hormone replacement therapy. The name stands for PREgant MAres uRINe, as the drug is produced from the hormones present in the mare’s urine. The horses used to produce this drug are referred to as “PMU” horses, for short. The production of this product is not legal in the United States but it is big business in Canada. The mares are kept in small standing stalls and endure water rationing to insure production of concentrated urine. When the mares are no longer considered productive, they are bred to create weight and sent mid pregnancy “kill” pens where meat buyers pay for them per pound.
Theresa Galante, acting on behalf of PEACE Ranch, paid the per pound price for this mare, had her vetted and arranged for her transport to the ranch. The day before she got on the trailer, we became aware of Sandy, an older pregnant draft who had been claimed but then rejected because of her age. The hauler made us a deal we couldn’t refuse so Sandy and Snowball started their long trip to PEACE.
From Louisiana they went to Oklahoma where the hauler lived and had a day out of the trailer. From there they traveled to Minnesota, up through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and down to Traverse City. This last leg was more than 20 hours.
They arrived at Saturday, February 20th at 5:30 in the afternoon. The mares are in rough shape and contrary to what we were told, Snowball, can’t be handled in any way. Sandy has some training, is not afraid of people, she’s just a little leery and is dominant when it comes to food. Sandy came with a body score of 2-3, is eating well and the future looks hopeful for she and her foal.
Snowball, who became Lily after her arrival, has a body score of 1-2, is extremely leery of people, and does not seem to have had any handling. She is eating hay but not enough so that she can put on weight. She seems picky about food refusing things like apples and more importantly her feed. We are working on finding something she LOVES. The future for Lily and her foal are uncertain at this time. Our focus is supporting her and helping her to meet the needs of baby. Our training goals will remain simple: to show Lily people are safe.