What to do once you adopt a PMU
Adopting a PMU is a big commitment, these horses are draft crosses and take additional care as they are different from your average horse, most of them growing up to be fairly large in size. If you are interested in adopting a foal, or mother that has lived her life on the “pee-line”, I hope you will work with these horses with an open mind, knowing you will be the first person to spend time building a relationship with them. This is one of the reasons why at Equine Voices Rescue & Sanctuary™ we are developing a series of programs to help potential adopters work with their PMU mares and/or foals in a natural setting and to offer alternative and natural methods of caring for their horse, the “whole” horse. We are working collectively with other groups to find homes for PMU mares and foals bound for slaughter. Currently there are over 5,600 mares used in the production of Premarin. Many mares and foals are in need of a good home!
You’ve decided you are ready for the commitment!
What happens when they arrive home?
When they arrive from the farms, they will need a few days to settle in. Depending on the situation, some will need to be given electrolytes due to their long journey from Canada. Worming is a good idea and some may have a virus which will produce warts on their noses. If the horses are coming from a feedlot, they could be infected with “strangles”.
How can you help?
We are big proponents of working with the horses using naturally derived products, however, you may have to resort to un-natural alternatives at first. If your adopted mare or foal has a belly full of worms, you may have to de-worm them at first. Chemical worming is extremely toxic. A mild de-wormer such as Strongid Paste may be necessary initially, depending on the severity of the situation. (We highly recommend you consult your veterinarian for a professional diagnosis.) However, please note that chemical de-wormers given over a long period of time can kill good gut bacteria. It is important and highly recommended that you administer a pro-biotic at least 3-5 days after the chemical de-wormer has been applied. It is extremely toxic to a horses immune system, pro-biotic will rebuild their immune system rather quickly. For ongoing natural worming treatments, a mixture of garlic, fennel seeds and other ingredients will help keep your horses worm free naturally without any side effects. For more Natural Horse Care Recipes, click here.
To help with warts, which are viral, I have found the homeopathic remedy Thuja and Thuja ointment works extremely well. All the babies came in with warts, and most of them fell off within a few weeks, however, Deuce, still has a lip full of warts and they actually spread to his eyes. I have been applying the Thuja remedy and ointment and they are disappearing. For his eye warts I have been using an ointment called DAG, a non-toxic solution containing Phenolated Iodine in a base of Irish Moss with Organic Borates. Additionally, DAG is wonderful to use on cuts and scrapes. Just put a few drops on a cotton ball with some water and apply. Click here for a description of DAG.
What about “strangles”? What is strangles?
Strangles has become the familiar name of a Streptococcus infection in horses. This is a highly contagious infection predisposed in young horses between the ages of six months to five years.
During the acute phase of Strangles a young horse will look depressed, have a decreased appetite, probably have a fever and nasal discharge. The infection advances by becoming localized in the lymph nodes of the throat area. The lymph glands in this area enlarge to where there may be an obstruction in the horse’s breathing and swallowing.
A natural herbal solution called Strangles Solution™ directs the herbs to the lymph nodes in your horse’s neck and throat while reducing the swelling and removing the accumulated phlegm. This will dramatically reduce the difficulty in breathing and swallowing for your horse. These herbs also reduce the fever and specifically inhibit the Streptococcus strain.
Since this disease is highly infectious, we recommend that you also use Total Immune Health™ to ensure that your horse recovers as quickly as possible and is protected from any of the secondary complications of Strangles (pneumonia, pleuritis, sinusitis, synovitis and gutteral pouch infections). For more information please click www.forloveofthehorse.com.
How much should I feed my new draft cross PMU?
Most of these horses are extremely large and the foals also grow up to be extra large, but, that doesn’t mean we need to overfeed them. A good rule of thumb is to feed 2-3lbs of alfalfa hay and free feed grassy bermuda and/or timothy hay. If your horses live in pasture keep an eye on their weight, if the pasture does not look like it will be a sufficient amount of food for your horse, you will have to supplement with hay and vitamins/nutrients.
Since we don’t have pasture, we feed approximately 2-3 pounds of alfalfa and free feed grassy bermuda hay. Once per day I combine a bucket of rice bran, tablespoon of crushed garlic, one scoop Eccel, one tablespoon ground flaxseed and a carrot or two, mix well with water. It is extremely healthy and they love it!!!
What about training?
If you have never had a horse, trained a horse or have limited training experience, we suggest you find an experienced natural horse trainer. There are many clinicians nationwide, and many good trainers that use safe, effective and humane methods when working with horses. We are surrounding ourselves with experts in their field and offer natural horsemanship clinics here at Equine Voices Rescue & Sanctuary™. Since many of the mares have had serious traumatic experiences, time, patience and understanding is necessary to help your PMU mare begin to trust. Harsh training methods do not work with these girls. Building a long lasting relationship will enhance the bond between you and your PMU.
It is important, especially with the foals that the person handling them is knowledgeable about training horses, each time your horse is handled, to the horse, it is considered a “training session”.
Hoof care you ask?
Barefoot’s better! If you can start your horse shoeless, it will save you money and save your horses hoof! Today, abnormal hooves that are upright and narrow encased with a steel shoes are considered to be normal in most cases. A natural, barefoot hoof, when studied includes a set of domes and sets of triangles which make one of the strongest, dynamic shapes in the universe. By trimming the bottom of the hoof flat, it destroys the hoof’s ability to efficiently perform all of its natural functions, and by attaching a steel shoe to the hoof with nails, creates long term hoof deformation, leading to disease and ultimately death in over half of domesticated horses in the our world today.
When the hoof wall is punctured, the natural physical barrier to bacteria, fungus and dirt is allowed to enter the foot. As the steel shoe is replaced, the wall of the hoof continues to weaken, which will cause cracks and breaks and ultimately the breakdown of the hoof wall. Some horse people think that their horse must have shoes, because each time their horses’ shoes were removed they noticed lameness, cracks and hooves that chip easily. With years of improper trimming and inadequate free movement the hoof, the hoof needs time to heal once the decision has been made to go “barefoot”. It takes time, and it takes a good natural barefoot trim to allow the horse to recover from years of wearing shoes. For more information on hoof care, click here.
Congratulations on saving the life of a PMU! Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help make your and your horse’s experience the best it can be!