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Did anyone else get Dover catalog offer?

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  • Did anyone else get Dover catalog offer?

    I got an email yesterday from Dover Saddlery offering a free tape of `sport horse' foals with my next qualifying order. It would appear that this is a video of a large number of PMU foals put out as a marketing tool by those breeders, and Dover is giving it away or selling it, depending on your purchases. They give a description of the foals as being by sporthorse sires and emphasize them being available for under $1000. Geez! As if marketing isn't hard enough for small breeders, now we have a national tack company promoting the former `canner' foals. I asked to be taken off their catalog mailing list, as if all the buyers pick up those cheap babies, I won't get mine sold, and won't be buying any of their tack anyway. Any comments?
  • Original Poster

    I got an email yesterday from Dover Saddlery offering a free tape of `sport horse' foals with my next qualifying order. It would appear that this is a video of a large number of PMU foals put out as a marketing tool by those breeders, and Dover is giving it away or selling it, depending on your purchases. They give a description of the foals as being by sporthorse sires and emphasize them being available for under $1000. Geez! As if marketing isn't hard enough for small breeders, now we have a national tack company promoting the former `canner' foals. I asked to be taken off their catalog mailing list, as if all the buyers pick up those cheap babies, I won't get mine sold, and won't be buying any of their tack anyway. Any comments?


    • #3
      This has already been posted on Off Course with a more positive twist! Guess it depends on how you think about this whole thing.

      www.rougelandfarm.com Home of TB stallion Alae Rouge, sire of our filly Rose, ribbon-winner on the line at Dressage at Devon.


      • #4
        I don't think I would be breeding any more if my babies were only fetching$1000 at weaning.

        fernie fox
        "I have lived my life-it is nearly done-.I have played the game all round;But I freely admit that the best of my fun I owe it to Horse and Hound".
        \"I have lived my life-it is nearly done-.I have played the game all round;But I freely admit that the best of my fun I owe it to Horse and Hound\".


        • #5
          I remember discussing this whole thing with my physician when I was facing the menopause thing. The medication was offered as an option to me & when I voiced my discust as to how it was obtained, he looked at me as if I was from Mars!! Hopefully SOON, women will realize that this is not the answer - maybe the easy way out for the present; yes, but not the answer, and probably very harmful in the end. Only THEN, perhaps these prescious foals will not be looked at as a by-product to be rid of by the people who participate in this business. Shame on them!!!

          "... one of those who knows that life is just a leap of faith; spread your arms, hold your breathe and always trust your cape." ~s&g clark~
          \"... one of those who knows that life is just a leap of faith; spread your arms, hold your breath and always trust your cape.\" ~s&g clark~


          • #6
            Ah, it doesn't bother me. An educated buyer will know the difference between a PMU foal and one of my carefully bred warmblood foals.

            We have tons of these foals/horses floating around here. Many of them are really cute, nice horses with pretty good temperaments (but man, the perch crosses can BUCK! ). Most of the perch crosses are really pretty when they are two years old, then turn into monstrously heavy horses with thick necks and poor canters by the time they are 5. Most of them are bred to be good western horses or pack horses, and the paints are always fun to look at. There is not a SINGLE warmblood used in any PMU farm breeding program despite the rumours that circle around. The farms are primarily in the heart of Cowboy country. They have about as much interest in a warmblood as I would in a donkey. And most of the sales are packed with people, and very few (if any) foals are not bought. The days of 'by-product' are long gone.

            They are great for people on a tight budget. However, that 'cheap' foal costs as much to feed as a quality foal - the purchase price is going to be the cheapest thing about the horse in the end!!!

            To be quite honest, anyone who is seriously considering buying one would not be looking at my foals anyways. So no, I am not threatened. But I do get annoyed when people try to advertise them as something they are not.


            'I succeeded, in spite of myself' - Alois Podhajsky

            \'I succeeded, in spite of myself\' - Alois Podhajsky


            • #7
              Really Centerlinefarm?

              And educated women all over the world know the difference between ALL of the medications and supplements available to them for menapause?? And educated women all over the world KNOW where premarine comes from and how it's produced and what happens to most of the foals produced?? And educated women all over the world insist that their physicians tell them exactly what their options are??

              You have to be crazy to believe that "educated buyers" know the difference in all ways. There are "educated buyers" who purchase mares that will never be approved by certain registries for breeding and breed them and THEN ASK QUESTIONS!!

              This is just plain under-cutting the market of legitimate WB breeders and I'm writing DOVER and telling them - no purchases until North American Breeders get equal opportunity to advertise their foals. The PMU farms are NOT non-profit charities they are businesses that MAKE MONEY. So are the drug companies that support them. Let them pay for the videos and adveritising - not a catalogue that is supported by purchases made by LEGITIMATE HORSEPEOPLE!
              Summit Sporthorses Ltd. Inc.
              "Breeding Competition Partners & Lifelong Friends"


              • #8
                While I do hate what happens to these foals, I do believe that there is a part of the industry that has tended to be overlooked. It is that women going through menopause are not the only ones on premarin. One out of every 2000 women is born with a genetic condition that causes them to be born without ovaries that function. Without Premarin, these women would go through the entirety of their lives looking like they never hit puberty. Either these women go through life shunned, alone, ridiculed, and subject to early osteoporosis, or some innocent foals go to slaughter for a sense of normalcy in quite a few people's lives. This is also not to mention the vast number of young women who must go through hysterectamies. Who is to say which is better?
                Incredible Invisible Bookworm Clique!
                Proud Closet Canterer!
                "Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery."
                The Goblet of Fire


                • #9
                  I know there are women who can be born without ovaries but I'd question it's 2 out of 2000! Where did you get these #'s.

                  The very very few women who either have no ovaries or young women who go through hysterectomies are relatively few compared to the # of women in the world who are given Premarine like Aspirin.
                  Summit Sporthorses Ltd. Inc.
                  "Breeding Competition Partners & Lifelong Friends"


                  • #10
                    my numbers come from the turner's syndrome website. i don't know it off the top of my head, but if you do a search on it, it will come up.
                    Incredible Invisible Bookworm Clique!
                    Proud Closet Canterer!
                    "Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery."
                    The Goblet of Fire


                    • #11
                      Hormone replacement therapy has been given a serious black eye -- and Premarin has to be losing a huge share of its market. It will not be needing pregnant mare's urine like it used to.

                      Breeders of sporthorses do not need to feel threatened by the Premarin babies. They are Heinz 57 and deserve a loving home as much as any baby.


                      • #12
                        My friend is a trainer and has bought several PMU babies for her clients. They work very very well for someone looking for a lower-mid level dressage horse that they can also trail ride and jump, or for some of her older junior riders who are learning how to bring along a young horse. In general they have lovely temperments, and are sound and sturdy and quite forgiving and comfortable to ride. I don't think anyone is going to mistake them for top level sport horses though so I wouldn't worry about the competition!


                        • #13
                          Well then if they are so marketable WHY is Dover Saddlery providing free assistance in marketing them?? Really those of us who breed as a business could use this assistance as well.

                          The PMU farms are BUSINESSes!
                          Summit Sporthorses Ltd. Inc.
                          "Breeding Competition Partners & Lifelong Friends"


                          • Original Poster

                            It's been interesting to see the responses to my post....you can tell some people are definitely swayed by the `rescue' aspect of the Premarin foals, but as one poster stated, the PMU farms have just gotten smarter about marketing. They had a lot of bad PR in years past over their former practice of either killing foals outright(a mare can go back on the line quicker without a foal at side), or putting those draftX foals in feedlots for slaughter. As was also stated, the new information on the effects of hormone replacement therapy may cause the PMU farms to go out of business to an extent soon, but that doesn't help the small breeders right now. I detected a slight smugness to some of the replies,(thanks a lot for the reference to `Cowboy Country', by the way...could you be any more insulting?) implying that no-one with quality foals need feel threatened by these PMU babies, but that's a load of bunk! There are going to be some pretty nice foals out of the numbers they're producing, and I'm sure there are some people out there who re-sell horses who are picking up lots of these cheap babies and making a heck of a profit selling them to clients later...the cachet of having `rescued' them is just icing on the cake. Sheer numbers are hard to compete with in any business, especially when they're offered at `bargain-basement' prices. My babies aren't expensive by some standards($2500-$4000), but I'm not on either Coast, and shipping ends up being a big factor in sales. If someone can fill a trailer with PMU babies for the same price as one of my better-bred and higher-quality kids, don't tell me they won't take that chance.


                            • #15
                              It's not like there is no other option than to keep pregnant mares boxed up to collect their urine.

                              There are synthetic estrogens out there. Of course the marketer of horse estrogens has done its best to keep them off the market. Its a long and interesting story.... at one point, this company actually kept the synthetics from being advertised as hormone replacement therapies equal to premarin because they lacked an estrogen component found ONLY in horse estrogen...

                              Simply amazing.

                              co-author of
                              Duel for the Crown: Affirmed, Alydar, and Racing's Greatest Rivalry


                              • #16
                                How many times have we heard that equestrian sport needs to grow the market and we need to have better marketing and get more people involved in the sport? Having a source of quality horses that might be able to compete at low levels at very affordable prices is an important piece of the equation to get more people riding and competing. If people feel they can not afford a horse that they could compete even at the lower levels, they may never consider purchasing a horse or competing. If we have more people buying horses, we will have more people moving up and buying the fancier horses. Isnt it better for everyone involved in horses to increase interest and provide affordable opportunites to buy horses. I think Dover is assisting the industry by offering the tape. Maybe it will prompt people to think about buying a horse or talk to their trainer about purchasing a horse. Maybe they will end up buying a premarin foal, or maybe they will decide they can purchase an older horse that is already broke and going. But it may motivate them to explore their options. Maybe more people will feel they can afford to compete at the lower levels. Its good business sense to have entry level horses available. The next horse that person purchases might be a fancier horse. Statistically, if more people purchase horses, it actually creates more demand for better horses. How many people go out and buy a very, fancy horse the first time out. I think promoting interest in purchasing a horse will help all of the industry in the long run.

                                "The only thing you will ever get two horsepeople to agree on is that the third one is wrong" -Author Unknown


                                • #17
                                  Well then why is Dover selecting ONE SEGMENT of the market. Why don't they sponsor Auctions or Sales of horses- then people will see the difference. These Premarin foals are being sold under the banner of "sporthorses" which in our market has a specific meaning. Down the line when people find out the fillies they purchased cannot be approved for "sporthorse" breeding or the horses aren't eligible for year end awards by Breed Registries then they realize they've purchased a GRADE HORSE. Sure some might be nice athletes but they also have NO PEDIGREE - who knows what you are buying.

                                  I feel the person hit it right on the head - the PMU farms are preying on people's sympathy and unloading their "unwanted by-product". Middle men/women load up trailer loads at cheap prices (PMU farms are off the hook for feeding/shots/worming/trimming) and then the foals are advertised as "rescued".

                                  They are NOT rescued they are bought and sold at cheap prices. I called Dover today and told the President of the company that the use of the term "sporthorse" was unfair. His concern was young horses going to slaughter. I can understand that conern. I feel we all have concerns about young or healthy horses of any age going to slaughter - but I can drive an hour from here to the sale in Pennsylvania every week and see hundreds of horses a month heading to slaughter houses in Canada that are healthy, sound and in many cases registered TB's.

                                  That's why I believe breeders have to be responsible about every single animal they put on the ground. That horse (regardless of breeding) must have a viable usefulness to someone or we are all part of the problem. I don't see the same level of responsibility on the part of the PMU farms or the horses they produce would be of a much higher quality. Those few farms that have upgraded their breeding did so after there was much public outcry about this entire business. Conditions have improved but not from pressure from inside the industry - it was from outside the industry. And not from extreme animal rights people - from people who just realized that conditions in the PMU farms were horrible. Are they better - from what we are told yes. But as we post/read here the pregnant mares in the PMU farms are probably already in their stalls strapped up to be collected. And their foals will arrive next spring with a higher probability of becoming someone's burger than future equine partner.

                                  Premarine as an HRT is probably the ONLY alternative for VERY FEW women out of the total being HANDED scripts by their physicians. Most would do well with plant based alternatives or synthetic alternatives and diet changes or a combination of these. It's no secret that the drug companies don't make as much money off of alternatives that can be sold over the counter.

                                  BUT ONE FACT EXISTS in all of this. PLANT BASED & SYNTHETIC ALTERNATIVES WILL NEVER EVER PRODUCE ONE SINGLE YOUNG HORSE THAT WILL END UP HEADING TO THE SLAUGHTERHOUSE!!! That's something to keep in mind and why women & men in this industry should do their best to make information available on alternatives with respect to HRT for women.
                                  Summit Sporthorses Ltd. Inc.
                                  "Breeding Competition Partners & Lifelong Friends"


                                  • #18
                                    I posted on a different "Off Course" thread, with some similar comments to ise@ssl. I don't have a problem with the way Premarin is produced (no worse than the milk I drink), though I do think it has been overprescribed. But I do look at the "foal rescue" with an increasingly cynical eye.

                                    As Mr. Poltroon said, "Aha! This is how you market baby horses! Tell people to buy 'em by a certain date or we'll eat 'em!"

                                    Now of course he was joking. But I think it's a very real factor. Interestingly enough, when I got that mailing from Dover, I did not realize that these were PMU foals. I thought, hmm, some smart group of breeders has gotten together and come up with a marketing promotion with Dover. Cool.

                                    Not to rain on anyone's parade, but sadly, in some instances I think you are competing with PMU babies. First, because don't kid yourself that all those foals are poorly bred. They are not bred with the care that yours are, but there are many purebred registered mares being used these days as the PMU breeders have recognized that those foals will be worth more. Second, because a lot of these people are buying foals on impulse - and instead they could be buying YOUR foals on impulse. Those foals are cheap not only because of the Wyeth subsidy but also because of the free marketing provided by a lot of nonprofit orgs.

                                    So, there's no real point in whining about it. Learn from them. They have an organization that is registering and promoting and providing prizes for these babies when they successfully compete. And their organization has made a very good deal with Dover. There's no reason the sport horse organizations can't pay attention and learn from it. Maybe Dover can send out a video of DAD (or some other inspection) and the fine foals there free with certain purchases.

                                    Urban horse owners don't even see foals. The more contact they have with cute little babies, the more they'll want one of their own.
                                    If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


                                    • Original Poster

                                      I started this post as a breeder's protest to Dover Saddlery for helping promote the thousands of PMU foals glutting the `sporthorse' market, but I've had a bit of experience with the HRT end of it as well. I think in many cases that was one heck of a con job. I went through premature menopause at age 32. I was mis-diagnosed as having a Thyroid condition by one doctor, put on a Holter monitor as well as Inderol for a possible heart defect by another, but finally correctly identified as having very low estrogen levels even though I was still cycling to an extent. I was put on the Premarin/Provera regimen by a gynecologist who smilingly said he wouldn't want me to `shrivel up like a prune'. I went back to him for checkups, and in spite of my complaints of cramps, `bosom' enlargement, and various other side effects, he assured me that this was the way to go. We moved when I was in my fourth year of replacement therapy, and when yet another doctor refused to hear my complaints, I weaned myself off the drugs gradually, and have been off of them for 12 years now. I didn't `shrivel up' and don't feel as though I'm less feminine than my peers, have a 26-yr-marriage(so can't be too miserable to live with, I hope)and thoroughly enjoy my 3 sons and grandchild, so had no regrets about not being fertile into my 40's. I think this was another example of drug companies `brainwashing' women into thinking menopause is an unnatural condition, and in need of a `cure'. A few months of discomfort from hot flashes, etc. was definitely preferable to the reports of increased breast cancer, etc., that now appear to be linked to HRT.
                                      To have to compete with these `foal factories' in my business is doubly aggravating, knowing what my experience was with the drugs. I feel sorry for the foals, and don't wish slaughter on any horse, but if the companies go out of business as a result of the new studies, HOORAY!! There will be a few years of heartbreaking sell-downs as they dump all the breeding stock, but perhaps the industry will get back on a better footing when it's over.


                                      • #20
                                        <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by ise@ssl:
                                        Well then why is Dover selecting ONE SEGMENT of the market. Why don't they sponsor Auctions or Sales of horses- then people will see the difference.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

                                        I would like to know how many of the breeders who are complaining about this video have formed a group and asked Dover to assist with marketing efforts? Why can't they send out a tape of your horses? Has anyone asked? I think that the distribution of this video is a wonderful example of creative marketing, and I think if more breeders would "think outside of the box" more horses would be sold. One of my good friends owns a very nice Swedish WB stallion and assists in the promotion of his foals. I'm very familiar with who is buying those babies, and I just don't think it's the same market as the people that are buying these foals.

                                        The need for Premarin is, at this time, not going to go away. There is, I'm sure, some validity to the argument that it is overprescribed. However, it is at this time the #1 prescribed drug in the US. So, even if everyone gets together and puts in a concerted effort to end its production, it's not going to go away anytime soon. As long as it is produced, foals will result. I for one would much rather the foals produced be quality horses that are salable to good homes than horses that go to slaughter. I think it's wonderful that so many farms have made an effort to improve the quality of their stock and the lives of their mares. Although I've never been to a PMU farm, I've seen videos of the mares, and they look healthier and better cared for than many mares I've seen in top US breeding programs. I know that it is incredibly difficult to turn a profit in a small breeding program (actually, I don't see how it's possible, so kudos to those of you who manage). I think that it would be worthwhile to look at working with these programs instead of against them-they're not going to be going away anytime soon.

                                        The other point that I would like to make is that the percentage of PMU horses in the slaughter market is actually very small. I doubt that there are many people on this board who did not at some point in their lives ride a lesson horse that eventually ended up in a slaughterhouse. How many of us (I know that several can; I am missing 2) can personally account for every horse that we have ever owned? These PMU foals are not the only ones being slaughtered. Racehorses, lesson horses, and all sorts of other segments of the equine population make it there, too.

                                        "The only thing you will ever get two horsepeople to agree on is that the third one is wrong" -Author Unknown