Noel Wiley of San Benito is a prominent Rio Grande businessman who has always had a big interest in horses. He grew to love them while growing up on his family’s farm near Ballinger. When I interviewed Mr. Wiley early this year he was in the process of getting his Mare’s Milk business going.

“In 2005 I was reading Draft Horse Journal and there was an article in it about the benefits of mare’s milk,” says Mr. Wiley. “I was intrigued. The article mentioned that in Europe milk from pregnant horses was being used for medicines and cosmetics. In 2006 we took a trip to Europe and discovered that in the Brussels, Belgium phone book there were 32 listings for horse milking farms. We went to one and became friends and eventually business partners with the owners and founded the first ever equine dairy in the United States. It’s located in Jamesport, Missouri, an Amish community.

“After a couple of trips to Europe and having European horse farmers come over here, our main concern was finding out just who and where these pregnant mares would be milked. We heard that the Amish have big horses in Missouri and are superb farmers and dairymen who take pride in what they do. We determined they could supply us with clean and sanitary pregnant mare’s milk (PMM). So farmers from Europe came over and taught the Amish how to milk horses, something they had never done before.”

After the milk is obtained from the Amish dairies it is spray dried to powder form and formulated into products. It is being produced and sold under the product name of Ooh La Leche. I have read letters from pharmacists and others who say capsules made from mare’s milk help with diarrhea and hot flashes. There is also a cream for skin disorders.

There are some mentions about pregnant mare’s milk in history. Literature claims that Cleopatra used it to maintain her youthful complexion. In Europe PMM treatments are available in health clubs and spas. PMM is found in specialized massage oils. Mr. Wiley lists several PMM products including hand creams, shampoo gel and conditioner, body lotion, yogurt, baby formula, ice cream, energy drinks and horse milk liquor. He says the pregnant mare’s milk capsules help with irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, colitis, vaginal dryness and menopause.

Mr. Wiley was amazed at what his research had told him about PMM. He did not rush into his new enterprise. He went to the FDA and got specific instructions as to what is necessary to produce a certified dairy. Since he had developed a couple of gated communities in the valley he was familiar with building codes and governmental requirements. “It hasn’t been easy, but I think it’ll be worth it,” he says. His company is Wiley B. Equine Dairy Products, Inc. The website is www.oohlaleche.com. You can see horses milked on youtube.

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