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Jill Smith rides RZ cross country at Sporting Days Farm in Aiken.

Photo by Mark Lehner

Diamond in the Rough

THE PMU

By Erica Larson

AT FIRST LOOK, M-S Royal Z appears to be the average Warmblood. A shiny dark coat covers his well-proportioned body and his athletic ability stands out as he gallops around cross-country courses. Yet, This flashy Oldenburg harbors a secret past that very few successful event horses can boast: RZ, as he is fondly called, is a PMU foal.

WHAT IS PMU?

For years, medical professionals prescribed a drug called Premarin to help menopausal women correct hormone imbalances in their bodies. While doctors believed that Premarin was successful in helping women through “the change,” the drug came at a cost to the thousands of horses used to create it. In order to get the necessary hormones into Premarin, the manufacturer needed the hormones found in the urine of pregnant mares, hence the name Premarin. In

20 May/June 2010

order to obtain pregnant mare urine (PMU), countless farms were established at which mares were bred repeatedly for no purpose other than to collect their urine. Over the years concern for the welfare and treatment of

both the mares and foals at these PMU breeding farms has risen in the horse community. Unfortunately, the high demand from the drug companies for Premarin yielded high volumes of unwanted foals at these farms. For many of these foals, life was less than wonderful.

Auctions and slaughter houses were the first and last stop for many of them. But for the rest, adoring people gave them the homes that they deserved. Luckily for RZ, he found a well-known fox hunting and eventing family from Virginia to give him a great start in life. Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60
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