Hurricane Floyd And 25 PMU Foals Take Ryerss Farm For Aged Equines By Storm

The East Coast was experiencing thewrath of Hurricane Floyd--the worst storm it has seen in decades--just as 25 foals from pregnant mare urine (PMU) facilities arrived at Ryerss Farm for Aged Equines, in Pottstown, Pa.

Compared to the swirls and gusts of the raging storm, the foals came quietly--ushered off the large trailer that had carried them to Ryerss from a PMU ranch in North Dakota by the caring hands of Ryerss staff members Gene Lafferty, Ann Lafferty, and Tim Blevins. They will stay at Ryerss for a week before their new, adoptive owners pick them up.

"They were certainly tired after that long trip," Gene Lafferty said. "They came off the trailer and ambled right into their stalls. After a good night's rest though, they're really beginning to perk up!" And perk up they did. In the next day's bright sunshine--left in the wake of Floyd's power--the foals enjoyed fresh air and playtime after their long trailer ride.

"You can see that they are really quality horses," said Ryerss Vice President Sabina Pierce. Sabina made the trip to North Dakota to pick out the foals. "There were so many great animals at the ranch we went to that I had a hard time picking out 25 to buy!"

This is the first time Ryerss has purchased foals on its own behalf--last year the 370-acre equine retirement facility provided a halfway house for 24 foals bought in Canada by another organization. This year, Ryerss worked in partnership with the North American Equine Ranching Information Council (NAERIC).

Ryerss was also assisted in this endeavor by a number of generous sponsors. Wyeth Ayerst--through their Fort Dodge Animal Health division--donated a full range of vaccinations for the foals, as well as Quest dewormer for each horse. Purina Mills donated their excellent Equine Junior feed for the foals--this is in addition to the Equine Senior feed they already donate to keep Ryerss' 93 aged residents healthy. PetsMart, through State Line Tack, has also given equipment and donations to Ryerss.

The foals that arrived at Ryerss are unique because of the circumstances surrounding their births. PMU is used to produce hormone replacement therapy, one of most often prescribed types of medication in the country. Used by women to alleviate the symptoms of menopause and to prevent osteoporosis, the drug is produced from estrogens found in the urine of pregnant mares. The source for this product comes from 432 family-owned ranches, located throughout the Prairie Provinces of Canada and North Dakota. These ranchers care for the approximately 35,000 broodmares currently involved in PMU ranching. Each year, in September, the ranchers sell the weaned foals--privately or through auctions.

NAERIC is a nonprofit association representing horse breeders and ranchers in North America, engaged in the collection of PMU. NAERIC has a number of programs in place to market quality horses born on these ranches to buyers throughout North America. The NAERIC web site, provides more complete information about the organization.

Ryerss Farm for Aged Equines is the oldest and largest animal welfare organization of its kind. A nonprofit/charitable organization, it is dedicated to providing a place of peaceful retirement for horses aged 18 and older. For the one-time fee of just $3,000, owners can provide their horses with a home at Ryerss for the rest of their lives. Ryerss Farm for Aged Equines is located at 1710 Ridge Road, Pottstown, PA 19465. Visitors are always welcome. Please call 610/469-0533.

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