The Premarin Mare

EndPMU

PMU is used to produce estrogen and hormone-replacement drugs such as Premarin, PremPro and PremPhase and DUAVEE, a “PremPro-Lite” which contains Premarin. PMU drugs are made by keeping mares constantly pregnant and collecting their estrogen-rich urine.“-equineadvocates.org

Several years ago when I volunteered at Hope for Horses, a horse rescue which was formerly located in Blue Ridge, Texas, I learned about the details of the PMU industry.  As a pharmacist, I already knew that the Premarin stood for “Pregnant mares’ urine”, but I had no idea as to the extent of the cruelty in the industry.  I was inspired by what I learned to write the following short story from a Premarin mare’s point of view.  The story is sad, but there is hope for the mare, because Hope for Horses and many other rescues throughout the U.S. and Canada have saved thousands of these mares and their foals and continue to do so.  Please consider the multitude of alternatives for hormone replacement therapy. Estrace, for example, is one of the many alternatives available and is plant based and it has a very inexpensive generic, estradiol.

Author note: I took some poetic license with this story because I have never actually visited a PMU farm.

The Premarin Mare

            The man was leading me through the large, cold building.  I could see the heads of the other mares above their stalls.  But worst of all I could hear their mournful cries.  I had lived among other horses before, but I had never encountered such an intense smell of manure and urine before in my life.  There were too many horses in this building.

I nickered softly to the man who led me through this hellish nightmare.  I hoped that he would have sympathy for me and take me away from this place.  He refused to turn and look at me.  I stretched out my head and nuzzled his neck.  He turned and struck me so viciously with his fist that I was stunned.  I had never been treated roughly by a human before.

​            It seemed ages ago that two other men had come to my home and had taken me away.  I can still remember the sound of my little girl sobbing and calling my name after I was loaded into the trailer.  Up until that moment I hadn’t been worried because I thought I might just be going to see the man who would look in my mouth.  I could see my little girl through the panels on the side of the trailer.  She was running toward me, her long blonde hair streaming out behind her.  She was screaming my name between her wrenching sobs.  I answered her screams.  I whinnied frantically.

​           The last thing I saw as the trailer began to drive away was the big man who lived in the house running toward my girl.  He swept up my sweet little girl into his arms and held her tight.  She was struggling.  She had pounded her fists into his chest as she screamed my name.

​            Now, the man was leading me into one of the tiny stalls.  I stopped and refused to move forward.  He reached out and pinched my nostrils together with his huge hand.  The pain was excruciating, especially since he had just punched me there, but I still stood my ground.  He called to someone else.  Another man walked up behind me and pressed something against my flanks.  Incredible pain surged through my body and I bolted forward.

​            I was immediately chained to the stall.  I tried to rear and buck, but the chains were too strong.  Once my energy was exhausted the men hooked tubes to my lower body.  The tubes were uncomfortable and rubbed between my inner rear legs, but there was nothing I could do.

​I awoke to the sound of the other mares whining horribly and struggling against their chains.  It may have been morning, but I couldn’t tell.  My stall was too far into the depths of this large dismal building for me to see outdoors.  My legs ached from standing all night on the concrete.

​            Then I realized why the other mares were struggling so hard.  Men were bringing around buckets of water.  I had never been so thirsty in all my life and so I began to struggle too.  The mares on either side of me tried to bite me as the man came closer.  I snapped back at them.  We had become like vicious animals.  No longer did there exist a herd mentality among these mares.  We were struggling violently to take care of our own needs.

​            The man stopped in front of my stall with the water bucket and I quickly sank my muzzle into it.  But before I had taken three gulps, he ripped the bucket away from me and continued to the next mare.  I whined after him pitiably.  I was so thirsty.  Surely more water would come around soon.  As the men with the water buckets passed through the rows and rows of mares, I could hear them whining and struggling to get to the water.

​            Weeks or maybe months went by and nothing improved.  My body ached.  I would often dream of my little girl.  She would be riding me across the pasture on a beautiful sunny day.  She was as light as a feather and I cantered happily about the pasture listening to the sound of her laughter drifting above my head.

​            Maybe someday I will see her again and I will answer her laughter with a carefree whinny.

PMUAlternative

 

 

Timmy and the Girl-A Timmy Tale

Just for fun I’m going to write a series of short stories centered around my little rescue horse, Timmy. Here’s the first one! Timmy is just so cute I felt compelled to write stories about him! Hope you guys like it!

CuteTimmyatcar
Timmy

Gina shimmied under a low spot beneath the white, pipe fence separating the front pasture of Kuhaylah Arabians from the road, and the pony trotted right up to her as always.  She pulled the carrot from her pocket and, not wasting any time, he took the entire treat in his mouth before the rest of the herd noticed.  The pony was the smallest of the bunch and not a purebred, like the rest of them. He was a cutie though, a beautiful coppery, golden color, with a dishwater blonde mane and tail and a jagged, white, blaze running the full length of his face to the tip of his nose.  And on this lovely Spring day, his slick coat glistened in the sun.  The pony didn’t leave after he finished the carrot, but stayed with Gina.  She was drawn to him because she was an outsider in her circles too.  And, like him, she had dishwater blonde hair, although it was cuter on him in her opinion. Gina felt less than cute with her skinny body, and long, stringy, often tangled, hair.

Gina spoke softly to the pony, rubbing his neck and scratching his cheek, the way he liked. “I love you little boy, I wish I could stay here with you,” she said as she started to cry.  She hugged his neck as the events of the previous day came crashing back into her brain.

“We have to add Gina Targoff to the list,” Chet whispered.

“Of course! She should be at the top!” responded Cassie, in a louder whisper. Chet, Cassie, and their minions all giggled.

Gina was keeping her head down, pretending to read whatever textbook she had opened in front of her.  She refused to cry; she would not show them weakness.  Even though Gina knew they were whispering loud enough for her to hear on purpose.  James Middle School was almost a daily exercise in humiliation.  She fought back the tears though…

“Yeah Gina is definitely the ugliest girl in the school,” said Chet.

They all laughed again.

The golden pony put his head on Gina’s shoulder as if he was trying to comfort her.  She hugged him tighter and just let the tears flow until there were no more, but she continued to hug him, just taking in his horsey scent and allowing it and the quiet to calm her mind.

“Timmy has really taken to you,” said a voice behind Gina. One with the slightest hint of an accent, an accent from another country though, not rural Texan as Gina had grown accustomed to.

Gina straightened and jumped back a step from the pony in one quick move.

“I’m sorry. I know I’m not supposed to be here,” said Gina looking up at the woman astride a black, Arabian stallion, solid black save a small white star on his forehead.

“Come closer girl,” said the woman.

Gina walked toward her and saw that she was probably around her mother’s age. She was beautiful, with an exotic look about her.  She had her long brown hair pulled back with a black velvet scrunchy.  But then Gina’s eyes were drawn back to the horse.  So much like the black stallion she had read about, except the one in the books was solid black. But this stallion before her had the same wild look of the one in the books; thick black mane, forelock blowing in the breeze about his face, and a thick, flowing tail.  He pranced about a bit and snorted a couple of times.  The woman said something to him that Gina couldn’t quite hear, and he settled down.

“What is your name?” asked the woman.

“Gina…Gina Targoff,” Gina answered. “Please don’t have me arrested. I’ll never come on your property again.”

The woman laughed. But in a lilting way, not in a, you’re darn right you’re going to jail, kinda way.

“I was actually thinking of offering you a job. I’ve watched you with Timmy. You two have formed quite a bond.”

“Timmy, a cute name, for a cute little boy!” said Gina.

The woman laughed again.  “My name is Antonia Silva and I am the owner of this ranch.  So, what about the job?” Antonia asked.

“I don’t know anything about horses or ranches,” Gina answered.

“Do you know how to drag a water hose or carry buckets?”

“Umm, yes…” answered Gina.

“Okay, good.  We’ll start with that,” Antonia smiled.

Gina smiled back and then jumped when something firm and soft rubbed the small of her back. She spun around and little Timmy nuzzled her chest.   Gina reached out and stroked his face.

“He loves you and trusts you.  You’re a natural with horses,” said Antonia.

“He’s so sweet. May I ask how he came to be here among…” began Gina.

“…among all these purebred Arabians?” said Antonia finishing her sentence.

“Well…yes.  Is it rude to ask?” said Gina.

Antonia laughed again. A sound like music to Gina. “No, it’s not rude, Gina.  He was my horse, when I was a young girl in Brazil. The story of how he and I came to be here in this small north Texas town is a long one,” Antonia said with a smile on her face.  “Spend a little more time with Timmy and then head up to the big house and I’ll show you around,” said Antonia as she wheeled her black stallion around and galloped up the hill toward the house.

Gina watched the beautiful woman in control of such a magnificent animal and couldn’t help wishing that could be her one day.  She turned back to Timmy and gave him a hug. “Did you hear that boy? Now I can see more of you and no more sneaking around!” One of the chestnut Arabian mares had come closer, curious about this skinny, young girl in the big pasture.  Timmy laid back his ears and turning on a dime chased her off as if to say, “This is my girl!”

Gina laughed, for the first time since she could remember. It had been a long, emotional journey from Dallas to Dale City. Even though they were only an hour apart, they were years apart in cultures, and the students of James Middle School did not respond well to a newcomer.  For the very first time in a long time, Gina felt like she was where she belonged.