Elise Wolpert purchased the land for Rose Court Farm in 2009 when it was mostly covered in trees. Now, the 80 acre, 10 pasture farm off Highway 301 in Statesboro is home to numerous horses, many of them rescued from PMU farms in Canada and from local auctions in Hazelhurst, where many good horses end up when their owners can no longer afford to feed and care for them.
PMU stands for Pregnant Mare Urine and is a key ingredient in hormone replacement pills targeted for menopausal women to help ease the symptoms of hot flashes.
Mares are bred and kept in small stalls where they must wear bags that collect their urine. Their foals are considered byproducts of the operation and the mares have limited value once they reach a certain age.
One of those mares found a home with Wolpert. The buckskin mare Keno gave birth to a filly, Lilly who shares a paddock with another filly, Karma who is also a PMU rescue and an older gelding who keeps them company.
The rescued horses live in large turnouts with plenty of room to roam and plenty of grass and hay, a far cry from the conditions their mothers were kept in.
Wolpert says she will train the fillies when they are older and most likely use them as school horses at the farm.
Wolpert, who also has three dogs that she has rescued, is not part of an organized rescue group. Most of the horses she rescues were given up by owners who did not understand the amount of money and effort necessary to properly care for a horse.
Wolpert often agrees to take in horses for a month of feed and hay and tries to place them in good homes. She will generally not take stallions or certain horses with behavioral problems that might injure workers.
Most of the horses she takes in will be used in her summer camps, riding lessons, trail rides and for sale to students.
If you are interested in purchasing a rescue horse, she will be glad to work with you and make sure that you and the horse are a good match and that you understand what it takes to care for a horse.
Her PMU mare Keno was said to have been people friendly and broke to ride when she adopted her from Canada. Once the horse arrived, it became obvious that she was neither, but with a lot of work and a lot more love, the mare has proven to be a valuable keeper that will have a home at Rose Court for life.
Wolpert says most of the rescued horses are kept or placed in good homes though a few have health or abuse problems and must be humanely euthanized.
She makes sure her own students learn not only how to ride, but how to care for horses and when she sells one of her mini horses, she lets the new owners know that if they cannot afford to care for them, she will gladly take them back. This helps stop the cycle of neglect and abuse and ensures the horses will have good homes for life. A noble goal for which Karma, Keno and Lilly and the rest of the gang seem truly grateful!