A horse loves freedom, and the weariest old work horse will roll on the ground or break into a lumbering gallop when he is turned loose into the open. ~Gerald Raferty
This is Cleo's special page. This lovely, 28 year old mare ( in 2019) lives at Mylestone Equine Rescue in Phillipsburg, New Jersey. She is a retired racehorse and CEM research mare. For over a decade she has been loved and cared for Mylestone Equine Rescue,http://www.mylestone.org/horses.asp?prod=11&cat=8&hierarchy=. Please read her whole story below.
Peace4Paws and Juluka Yoga are co-sponsoring Cleo. Please attend our upcoming events to help us help Cleo continue to live in comfort, joy and peace. Juluka Yoga Studio's community yoga classes are ungoing. These classes are by donation only. Owner, Mandy Grant in collaboration with peace4paws, sends donations each year from these classes and special classes such as the Arm Balance and Inversion Class, the Valentines Day Partner Yoga Class (2014) or the Live Music Class with Ed Saultz and Jennifer Johnson for Cleo's care .
We have learned a lot about Cleo and her experience as a CEM testing mare. Please take a moment to read Cleo's full story, and you will learn about CEM testing as well. Thank you, peace4paws.
Cleo is a beautiful, 19 -year old thoroughbred mare that was raised and rigorously trained for the racing industry. At a young age, Cleo suffered a permanent knee injury while on the track, and bone chips lodged in her knee. This injury affected her ability to run comfortably, which ended a potentially profitable racing career.
Because of this injury, her owners sold Cleo to a testing facility where she was used as a CEM (Contagious Equine Metritis)1 test mare.
CEM testing2 is utilized to determine if foreign-bred and domestic stallions and mares carry CEM, which is a contagious bacterial venereal equine infection, whose impact is restricted to the reproductive system of mares. It is not a fatal or systemic disease, but it will adversely affect the fertility of a mare and her ability to carry a pregnancy to term.3 Stallions and mares can both be carriers of the disease. It is most often transmitted to a mare during actual breeding, or it can be transmitted indirectly during artificial insemination or by using contaminated materials or instruments near the animal’s genitals. Almost unheard of for almost twenty-five years, several outbreaks of CEM were documents in 2008, thus requiring the industry in the United States to implement more rigorous and controlled testing sites. The impact of CEM on the horse-breeding industry could, in the long view, be quite devastating if unchecked and prevented. 4
Live-mare CEM testing involves breeding the suspected stallion with two separate test mares4 who are in their estrous cycles (or whose cycles have been induced) in order to make a certain determination that the stallion is disease-free. The mare’s inability to conceive is a strong indication that the stallion is a carrier of CEM bacteria.5 While mares can be tested effectively by using a simple swab test, stallions by necessity of their anatomy require repeated, live-mare testing over a period of time. 6 Once detected, CEM can be treated with antibiotics and other medications. It may, due to its invasive nature, require repeated pharmaceutical treatments in order to eliminate it from the animal.7
CEM-designated mares are often horses that are ultimately destined for slaughter, or horses like Cleo that can no longer fulfill their original purpose such as racing, commercial riding, as family pets, or the like, and are clearly unwanted. Although it is difficult to ascertain the exact numbers of mares that participate in CEM testing, we have no reason to believe that it has been abandoned in favor of other testing procedures.8 Under guidelines promulgated by the United States Department of Agriculture, the initial testing of mares employs a simple swabbing procedure; this is not a feasible procedure, however, when testing stallions. They must, by necessity, be tested by use of live-mare insemination. 9
After a short at the testing center, the head of the testing facility contacted Mylestone to inquire if they would purchase some of their mares, including Cleo, that were no longer being used for CEM testing. Mylestone Equine Rescue purchased Cleo for nearly $600 in 1995.
Cleo really enjoys life at Mylestone. She had bonded with several of the volunteers. She is now housed in a comfortable facility and has two acres in which to frolic. Cleo is fed four times daily. She loves the company of the other mares, Melody and Sand Dune, with whom she resides. Her past injury, however, precludes Cleo’s ability to carry riders or to ever race again. It is doubtful that anyone will ever adopt Cleo, except perhaps as a companion animal, but Mylestone Equine Rescue is committed to providing a comfortable, safe home for Cleo for the rest of her natural life.
We at peace4paws in partnership with Juluka Yoga support Mylestone’s commitment to providing a safe and comfortable place for Cleo and other rescued horses through our various fundraising efforts such as musical events and community yoga classes. We care about horses like Cleo.
8) See footnote 4 above.
For further reading, please follow the links below:
Article on bone chips: prevalence and effect on a racing career:
History, description, ramifications of CEM testing and statement on using “two test mares for test breeding:
Preparing the stallion before testing on two test mares:
Comprehensive list of articles on CEM testing: http://www.thehorse.com/TopicSearch/Default.aspx?n=Contagious+Equine+Metritis+(CEM)&nID=6&ID=66f