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Heroes of the Horse Finalist: Kathy Bartley

In the early 2000s, while reading The Grave Maurice by Martha Grimes, Kathy first became aware of the pregnant-mare urine (PMU) industry, an element of one of the novel’s plot points. The controversial practice, where urine is collected from pregnant mares to create estrogen-replacement therapy for menopausal women, was in its heyday at the time, with the bulk of North American PMU farms located in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Kathy’s home province of Alberta. After researching the issue, Kathy and her husband Mike, both long-time horse people, began going to auctions and feedlots hoping to rescue and rehome foals culled from PMU farms, the majority of which were headed to slaughter. In 2004, overwhelmed by the “sheer number of horses heading to slaughter” – not just animals from PMU operations – Kathy and Mike founded Bear Valley Rescue on their 40-acre farm near Sundre in west-central Alberta. “Generally, if we’d take…

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