Cathy and Her Two Special Horses
Story by Carolyn Stark-Meyers | Photo by Cathy Blodgett
Cathy Blodgett of Green Valley, Arizona has two very special horses.
The first is Brownie, a 9 year old boy, brave and inquisitive. Even at 17 hands tall, his kind eyes show his love for Cathy. Brownie was rescued from a PMU farm in North Dakota. PMU farms breed mares for their urine, while they are kept in stalls so they can’t move. The urine is then used to make the hormonal estrogen for women going through menopause, called Premarin. All the female foals, when old enough, are bred and put on the “pee line” along with their mothers. This usually happens for 10 cycles or whenever the mare is no longer able to be bred. The colts are not needed.
Cathy had been to Equine Voices Rescue and Sanctuary in Amado, Arizona, at several of their fundraising events. It was here, where they specialize in PMU horse rescue that she heard of a rancher in North Dakota who wanted to get out of the PMU business. He had 32 foals. Cathy and other supporters were alerted to their fate. She wanted a paint or another fancy looking foal, but they had all been taken. However, there was a six-month-old colt, born in May that was only labeled “brown colt number 10.” He was to become Cathy’s horse Brownie.
All the foals were just weaned, loaded into a transfer truck and 28 babies were dropped off in Nevada, California, and Arizona. Cathy did not have her own horse trailer but was able to borrow one from a friend. She transported Brownie to a ranch in Amado. There he was able to play in the pasture with other horses and she could visit him daily as he was close to her home.
She understood that the foals had no training and were not tame. It was going to take time and patience to get him to trust her. By talking to him, and building a bond, he allowed her to touch and brush him. Later, she was teaching him to lead, back up, and other manners that made him a reliable companion. He really enjoyed cart training where he could be out front. Some days he surprised Cathy with his silly antics, such as putting his two front legs in a water bucket, and giving her a look like “what?” She can always tell what he is up to with the mischievous look he gives her. Her favorite though is his soft content look, with his beautiful eyes, knowing that he is happy . Now he can pull a cart, be ridden, and is just a dependable all around guy. He has come a long way from the unhappy colt on the PMU farm. Equine Voices Rescue has even used him as a demonstration horse when they have special horsemanship classes.
Cathy’s other horse is a Westphalian/Thoroughbred Warmblood named Arty. He is a medium bodied horse, with his breed type originating in western Germany. Warmbloods are often used for competitive riding events. Arty was 10 years old when Cathy bought him from a woman in Canada. One day she noticed Arty favoring his left rear foot. While out in the pasture he had sustained a 3×1 inch cut just above his hoof. Everything was tried to heal the cut, but it still became infected. Arty was transferred to a veterinarian in Phoenix for specialty care. He was there for a long time but the wound was not getting any better. Many people suggested that she should put Arty down. Not to be deterred, she researched home remedies and started putting a poultice of white bread, Epsom salts, and water on the cut twice a day. Slowly the cut healed. He has been recovering and has not been worked so he can regain his strength.
Eventually when Arty is ready they will compete in dressage events. As such he needs to be athletic enough, supple and attentive to Cathy, so they can go through all the required obstacles and moves. Along with Arty’s abilities, the rider also needs to be balanced and have a “soft” foot. Cathy teaches Pilates and ballet and believes these disciplines strengthen her core and give her a balanced seat. She believes this is even better training for horseback riding than yoga.
Every day when Cathy goes to visit and care for her boys, she watches them in the pasture. This is a special time for her. Brownie and Arty can often be seen in the pasture grooming each other. Brownie is now 6 and Arty 13. They have grown so much, and Cathy watches them with pleasure knowing how far she has brought them.