Unwanted Horse Coalition Meets During AHC’s Annual Convention

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The Unwanted Horse Coalition (UHC) held its annual meeting on Monday, June 23, during the American Horse Council’s National Convention and Issues Forum. At the meeting, attendees heard presentations by member organizations including The Jockey Club, The Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, The Equine Network, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the United States Trotting Association and the Master of Foxhounds Association. In addition, Janine Jacques, founder of the Equine Rescue Network, explained how her program uses a combination of microchips and social media to track down and locate abandoned, neglected, lost, stolen or otherwise “unwanted” horses.

Following the presentations, the group discussed ideas for new UHC initiatives, including continuing its Operation Gelding program with the funds available; creating an educational campaign and providing materials promoting the benefits of castration/spaying non-breeding-quality horses (similar to the programs dealing with dogs and cats); updating and reprinting UHC educational materials; and creating a webinars sub-committee. The UHC also decided to sell Ellen Harvey’s new book, Standardbred Old Friends, through the UHC website. For every book sold through the UHC, it will keep $10 of the $30 sales price, plus shipping and handling. Funds shall be used for Operation Gelding.

Overall, the meeting was a great success and the UHC looks forward to both enhancing its current programs and taking on new ones.

Operation Gelding Update

The UHC’s Operation Gelding program continues to help castrate stallions across the country. Now in its fourth year, the program has assisted in castrating 939 stallions at 79 clinics in 32 states. In the past year, Operation Gelding has been responsible for castrating 181 horses in 16 clinics across the country. These included clinics at veterinary schools and veterinary practices such as the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in Blacksburg, Virginia; the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine in College Station, Texas; and the Springhill Equine Veterinary Clinic in Newberry, Florida. Multiple clinics were also held at equine rescues around the country, including Hope in the Valley Equine Rescue in Wichita, Kansas, and Dreamchaser PMU Rescue and Rehabilitation Inc. in Waddell, Arizona.

Operation Gelding is able to continue thanks to the support and seed money provided by the American Association of Equine Practitioners Foundation, Zoetis and the UHC. Proceeds from the sale of Dr. Jennifer Williams’ book, How to Start and Run a Rescue, also help fund the Operation Gelding program. Sales from Ellen Harvey’s book, Standardbred Old Friends, will now also benefit Operation Gelding. Books can be purchased on the UHC website.

Operation Gelding offers funding assistance to organizations and associations that wish to conduct a public gelding clinic under the name and guidelines of Operation Gelding. An organization that has completed an Operation Gelding clinic will receive funding of $50 per horse ($1,000 maximum) to aid in the costs associated with the clinic.

Operation Gelding currently has limited funding available for organizations that would like to host their own Operation Gelding clinic. For more information on how to host a clinic contact Dagmar Caramello, UHC Director, at dcaramello@horsecouncil.org or 202-296-4031. Information and applications can be found here on the UHC website.

The mission of the Unwanted Horse Coalition is to reduce the number of unwanted horses and improve their welfare through education and the efforts of organizations committed to the health, safety and responsible care and disposition of these horses. The UHC grew out of the Unwanted Horse Summit, which was organized by the American Association of Equine Practitioners and held in conjunction with the American Horse Council’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., in April 2005. The summit was held to bring key stakeholders together to start a dialogue on the unwanted horse in America. Its purpose was to develop consensus on the most effective way to work together to address the issue. In June 2006, the UHC was folded into the AHC and now operates under its auspices.