Basics of the Industry
PMU stands for Pregnant Mare Urine, which is used in several hormone replacement drugs, best known is Premarin. Despite the natural distaste of the idea, it is used by tens of thousands of women each day. However, most of them don't know what is in these drugs or the methods behind how it is obtained.
Ranches all over the country produce this product. Many of these ranches have hundreds of horses which often live in inhuman conditions and are severely over used.
On each ranch, there are broodmares, stallions, and even foals. The mares are overbred, to ensure a maximum of pmu. When they turn up pregnant, they are tied in a small stall, not big enough to move in, and connected to a collection system. They don't get much excercise and rarely hands-on attention.
The urine is collected for 6 months. When the foal is born, mother and foal are taken out to pasture where they will spend 6 months together, if lucky. I've heard of foals and mares being brought in after 3 months. The mares are then taken to be bred again, and the foals, who are considered a drain on the operation, are taken to auctions.
Auctions are awful places for any horse to end up. They are often frequented by slaughter houses looking for cheap meat. Several thousand baby horses are sold to meat factories yearly. These are perfectly good little foals, just in the wrong set of circumstances. When the older horses become infertile, they find themselves in the same situation.
There are several places to learn more about the PMU industry. I suggest going to these websites
Or if you are interested in looking at the adoptable horses in need of forever homes safe from auctions, please visit
Original Poem- A PMU Foal's Lament
When I was young, I ran so free,
racing with my friends, just them and me
We sunned in the meadow, We grazed on the grass
We pranced in the sunshine, no doubts it would last,
But then came the time, when they took me away,
I still remember the events of that day.
Men with harsh hands, came for their haul,
They loaded us up, ignoring our calls,
Brought to the pen, where they piled us in,
we whinnied and cried, asking what was our sin,
No longer free to run or move with the wind,
Caged all together, crowded and pinned.
No one came to play, nor turn us out,
No one seemed to notice how we would pout.
The day finally came, when they loaded us up,
Though we argued, they'd poke and say git up,
The final moments, I was taken away,
I never thought it would all end this way.
Never so young, never so scared,
alone and afraid, all my fear laid bare.
I didn't want to go into the room, it smelled bad,
I hoped the mean men would see I was sad.
They didn't listen to my cries of protest,
my pleas for mercy or my simple request,
I don't know what I did to deserve such an act,
The ending I faced, just what did I lack?
Wasn't I a perfectly good little horse?
Always did as was told, never was forced.
I tried to do well for those who fulfilled my needs,
fulfilling that ancient and binding old creed.
If I was bad, I'm sorry, but I did not mean it,
I didn't mean to cause trouble, or cause a fit.
What I don't understand though, is why?
I was young and able, ready to try...
You could've given the chance to someone,
someone to love me and play in the sun.
The choice was yours, but you sent me to die,
So I don't understand, why didn't you try?
Jessica Pyle, 2008
Kenai was a pmu foal born on a ranch in South Dakota. His mother was a percheron and his father was a paint. If not for the closure of this ranch and the intervention of a rescue group called Serenity Acres, he would've ended up at an auction, most likely leading to a slaughter house. He was put up for adoption on PMURescue.org. It was there that I first saw this handsome little fellow.
Now the idea of adopting a 4 month old stud colt with no training or human contact that was halfway across the country was a daunting one. But I just couldn't resist trying. This little horse had already faced so much. So I sent in my request for more information. And in 2 months time, Kenai was here.
I had been told that he was a total sweetheart, easy-going with other horses and very smart. It amazed me how true all this was. Regardless of his inexposure to people, he was willing to give them the chance. I spent just a few days sitting in his stall with him before he would lie next to me and let me pet him. Less than a week had passed before I had a halter on him and was teaching him the concept of leading.
Kenai is going to be 2 years old come May 1. He's already had a saddle on and started to desensitize to the sensation of moving with it on. The lead line is more of a suggestion, he follows like a puppy. He is a very easy going horse who has never spooked easy. Teaching him new things is a simple task of getting him to understand. I've never worked with a more amazing horse.
There are thousands of horses out there, coming from the same place as Kenai did. They are waiting for their rescue. But it takes the help of all kinds of people.
Kenai's Training Page
If you are interested in learning more about Kenai and his favorite training games, please visit my hub Horsemanship with Heart. There are lots of great tips and pictures of him playing. Thanks so much!