A Year Later...Successes & Failures

It’s been a little over 15 months since we started Canexas and a lot has happened in that time.

We’ve brought more than 225 PMU** horses down from Canada so far. But, there are many more to go. We’ve had weanlings, yearlings, pregnant and open mares, and studs; AQHA, paints, spotted drafts, Clydesdales, Morgan’s, warm bloods, sport horses, other drafts and mixtures of all of the above. Many of these horses would have had an uncertain future and likely would have gone to market and slaughter.

Most PMU horses are raised in huge pastures in a range type environment. They have very little handling. We take them and work through various stages of training: halter, riding, driving and general ground manners. Our goal is to help them develop skills, which will increase their chances at a long and productive future.

We have found homes for all but 35 of the 225 horses to date. These 35 horses are currently available for sale in San Antonio, TX. and can be seen on our website or at our ranch.

We’ve had many successes, a few failures and we’ve learned a lot about horses, people and ourselves along the way.
We’ve dealt with the trials and tribulations of getting horses across the Canadian/US border: unsigned paperwork, wrong descriptions on Coggins or health papers, out of date export papers that had to be re-issued causing hours of delays, after hours border vet fees of hundreds of extra dollars, flat tires, bitter cold, snow, rain, horses that wouldn’t eat or drink on the road...and much, much more.

While the challenges have been many, there have been far more rewards that make it all worth while... small, curious baby eyes peering out the open feed window of the trailer at rest stops; scared but curious and wondering. Dozens of weanlings running and playing in our front yard. The change as horses go from being fearful to cautious, to accepting, to friendly, to mischievous. The cautious stare, to the soft welcoming nicker; eyes that soften with acceptance ... and the letters we get from people sharing their stories about their new horses.


One of the most dramatic was from Lynn Fitzgerald who purchased Pearl (draft X). We had bought Pearl from a PMU farmer’s feedlot during our first trip to Canada. She was destined to market and slaughter in a few weeks.
The very night that Lynn arrived home with Pearl, she dropped her off, left the kids, and went to the store. She received an excited phone call from her kids. “Pearl Rides!!” Now Pearl was a yearling that when she first arrived in San Antonio, you couldn’t touch her. She had just been halter trained. When Lynn got home, she was presented with several pictures. This is Pearl that night, now appropriately named Amazing Grace.

Pearl, now appropriately named Amazing Grace

Lisa Locke from near Houston picked Romeo (spotted draft) the first night his picture was posted on line. “Romeo LOVES water” she writes. “He actually gets into our pool!  It is one of the 4ft tall above ground ones, and he hops right in. When he sees me coming, he jumps back out and starts eating like he wasn’t in there in the first place. He also loves to drink directly from the hose. He takes it from me and it squirts straight into his mouth. It is SO funny to watch his cheeks fill up like a chipmunk. If you couldn’t already tell, Romeo has changed my life in so many ways, all for the good. He is my


friend; he is a part of my family. I can never thank you enough for bringing him into my life. I think PMU rescues are the best thing. They give some really great horses a new chance at life, and they give people the opportunity to be a part of a beautiful life.  God Bless You and Yours, Lisa Locke

Cathe’ Skrobarcek of La Vernia had always dreamed of having a buckskin. “I named our Colt “Patriot”. He was named Patriot because of ALL the ????? our Country has been experiencing. … I got the CREME of the CROP, PATRIOT is like a DOG! I open my truck door he’s there! I take the trash he’s there! Patriot is an AWESOME horse! Patriot lightens our day we just love him I have NEVER found a horse like him ... WE are so blessed to have such a horse. I wish that EVERYONE would consider a PMU horses have changed my life... another GREAT gift that GOD has created for good. Cathe’ Skrobarcek


“I bought Thunderstorm, a Percheron Cross from Canexas. Her original name was Teddy but she quickly outgrew the small cuddly thing she was when I first got her. When she lays in the back yard by the door to sleep (which she can also peek in on me at) I sometimes go outside and lay on her and we take a nap. One thing I would love to share is that since I am able to lay on her when we sleep, she will also allow me on her and stand up with me on her slowly then walk around for a few moments before I slide off. I love my new horse. I think I got a rare one! If I found more like her I would have to grab them up.” Allyson R

Pam Henry from Pleasanton who has bought several of our PMU horses including two pregnant mares writes, “… I think it is very important for people to know what a good person you are.  You are honest and very hard working individual that has taken on a big responsibility to care for these horses.  I do not hesitate one minute to recommend you to someone who is looking for a horse. What you say is always the truth about your horses.  Funny story:  South Texas can be a little hot for Canadian horses and Kimberly (big black draft X yearling) has to take a bath everyday.  We could not figure out why the pen was staying so wet since we had not had rain.  We soon found our answer because Kimberly goes in front feet first and splashes water to cool herself.  We also thought it could be from boredom so we turned her out in a larger trap and that’s not the case.  She still bathes.” 

Skip has his own mind from day one and occasionally got himself into a fix.

“Skip is now Preston. And, he’s just an angel. Big boy now - just over 15 hands. People in the barn are starting to “guess” how tall he’ll be. I’m sticking with 16.1 or 2, but big build too. I’ve got guesses up to crowding 17 hands. Anyway, he’s a doll and I’m just crazy about him! It breaks my heart to think that without people like you, he could have been slaughter bound. Thank you so much for all that you do. Lisa

Preston with owner, Lisa

Peaches (paint/Belgian X) was always one of my favorites with her pretty white face and soft brown eyes. She now resides on the east coast with Gail and Jim Clemente Gail writes, “Well Peaches is now “Santina” San for San Antonio, Tina for “Brentina” the greatest mare in the U.S. ... She is 14.2 and 850 lbs now. Approx 14 months old. She is sooooooooo good. She is blossoming into a stunning filly with a personality to match. She is the light of my life and I feel like it was fate. The real joy is watching her grow and learn and become everything we hope she can be. Thank you both from the bottom of my heart for all that you do for these horses and babies. I cannot imagine a terrible fate for this precious gem. If not for you, I would not have my Santina.  Thanks so Much Gail and Jim Clemente.

They’ve not all been success stories. We have had a few matches that just didn’t work and some horses that have been returned for various reasons. That is okay, as we want the match to be a successful one.

Odell Burton from Missouri has a different story. “We are not too pleased with Gypsy (formerly June). She has turned out to be a lazy plug even for a draft horse. Gypsy is a very beautiful animal but she is just lazy and needs much prodding to go. I know that you would rather hear something else but the fact is some horses turn out that way.“

I guess all in all the biggest reason that a few have been returned is incompatibility. Either it turned out that the owner didn’t have the experience needed for that particular horse once it was at the new home. Or, they decided they wanted a younger or an older horse; or a bigger or a smaller horse. Whatever the reason, we want the match to work.

We are currently working with Shelley, a former PMU farmer in Manitoba, Canada, to help her sell over 100 of her horses before fall. She has over 200 available to choose from. If not sold, she will be forced to send them to market. She will not have the resources to be able to feed them all. She desperately does not want to do that and has asked us to do what we can to help. There are AQHA mares, geldings, and weanlings; APHA and grade mares, weanlings, and 2 year olds; Belgians of all ages; draft crosses of all ages and colors; and warm bloods with various Holsteiner, TB and Clydesdale crosses. Please check out our website and see if there are any horses there that strike your fancy. Time is running out. Even if you are not in a position to purchase one at this time, a sponsorship of your favorite will bring it to Texas.

** PMU, Pregnant Mare Urine, is used to make the hormone replacement therapy that is taken by many women. Please see the Aug and Sept 2004 issues of the Horse Gazette or check out our website for more information on PMU.

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