Aella's Heart Equine Facilitation and Sanctuary

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And so Aella’s journey began...
One morning I was sitting at my computer and opened this email from Shirley aka Equine Angel. Over the past few years I had received several of these emails from Shirley and once before had adopted a horse from this organization (read about Socrates in Meet the Herd) but normally sent a donation to help get these horses off the feed lot. Today was not going to be one of those days. As I scrolled through the pictures, I saw her. I’ve always had a soft spot for the big ones, I immediately called my daughter, my partner in crime, and said “what do you think of this one? I think we need to get her.” What I find really interesting is that I somehow ignored the “w/foal” part at the end of her description as well as the wee one standing behind her in the picture. Hmm...oh well it was a 2 for 1 special.

As soon as they came barreling off the trailer, it was love at first sight. Aella, however, was not so sure. Over the next few days, to my disappointment, we discovered that Aella had “issues.” She had issues with being haltered, being lead, picking up her feet, being brushed, being touched, mostly anything that had to do with humans. Thankfully it didn’t take long before Aella became more and more comfortable that she and her baby were safe and that these humans were different.

Over the next few weeks, we learned that the white draft cross mare had been a production PMU mare in Canada who had been “rescued” and taken to a sport horse breeding facility where she had been bred to a quarter horse (hence the “w/foal” part). This breeding facility reported that she had been sold to a gentleman claiming to start his own breeding operation and Aella, along with several other pregnant mares were sold and ended up at an auction where they were purchased at “meat price” or by the pound. Coincidentally, another mare from this breeding facility was also in this “batch” of horses that were bound for slaughter and is now one of Aella’s pasture mates. (Read about Maya in Meet the Herd).

So with a ton of patience, love and a quick introduction of treats, Aella was pampered as she indulged in the privilege of being able to actually nurture, discipline, and mother one of her babies for probably the first time in her breeding career. Keep in mind that she was guesstimated to be 12-14 years old, so it’s quite possible that she has had at least 10-12 babies.

Over the course of the next few months, Aella grew more and more confident about her surroundings and the people that care for her. She often mirrors in EFLC sessions a participant’s ability to grow, develop, thrive and be successful in whatever dream or vision they are striving to achieve, just as any mother would see for her child. It was in witnessing this beautiful transformation of a horse, actually disposed of by humans twice, that
Aella’s Heart Equine Facilitation and Sanctuary was inspired.

PMU stands for "PREgnant MARe’s urINe". The urine of pregnant mares is used in the manufacturing of Premarin, a female hormone replacement. This industry is located mostly in Canada, in the region of Manitoba, close to the Wyeth-Ayerst pharmaceutical company who manufactures Premarin. Since research has proven that Premarin causes cancer in women, there has been a decline in production of the hormone. Consequently, over the years over 300 PMU ranches have been closed. Only 70 are still in operation. These production mares (female horses of breeding age) are confined to small stalls, forced to stand so that collection bags can be attached to them to collect the urine for 6-8 months of their 11 month pregnancy. After giving birth, the foals are quickly weaned and the mare is again bred to continue urine production. The foals of these mares are “PMU foals” that are often considered more “wild” than other horses because they have not had the discipline and socialization of the herd dynamics that is important for their emotional development. Many are often sent to auctions and end up on feed lots bound for slaughter.

Dear Friends,
The following horses are at a feedlot in NV, and will be heading to a Canadian slaughter house, if not rescued by Monday, 6/15/09...
White draft cross mare, 12-14yr, w/foal         $   530...
We are working diligently to save them, but need your help.  Funds are required to buy them from the feedlot, and transport them to safety...
The horses & I thank you for your support!
Shirley Puga





claudia aella