The Unwanted Horse Coalition’s Operation Gelding Program hosted five clinics during the month of October in four different states. Thanks to generous donations from the AAEP Foundation, Zoetis, and the United States Equestrian Foundation, the program was able to help castrate 62 horses in just under a month.
The UHC provides information and forms necessary to conduct a castration clinic, along with seed money to defray the costs. Funds of $50 per horse gelded up to a $1,000 maximum are awarded to groups once a year, on a first-come, first-serve basis, subject to available resources. Organizations can apply by filling out the Operation Gelding Funding Form provided by the UHC. Funds will be awarded once the clinic is complete and a veterinary statement is provided. Any organization, association or event can participate in the UHC’s Operation Gelding program; the UHC wants to involve as many groups as possible.
The Oklahoma State University Student Chapter of the Society for Theriogenology hosted its second clinic under the guidance of Merel Rodenburg. Rodenburg said, “26 Oklahoma State veterinary students and seven supporting veterinarians gathered to castrate 12 community horses on Oct. 26. The event had dual purposes: to help owners and horses in need in our area, and to give eager veterinary students hands-on experiences. Students from all years of education, and with all levels of horse experience, learned so much, and they took something away from the event. On behalf of the veterinary students at Oklahoma State University, I would like to thank Operation Gelding for supporting our event and helping make it possible!”
Amy Dalsing, treasurer of the All American Miniature Horse Club, helped her organization host its second Operation Gelding clinic. Dalsing said of her clinic, “Our gelding clinic was a success again this year. We are extremely thankful to veterinarians Dr. Alan Beyer and Dr. Shawn Samuelson of the West Branch Animal Clinic in West Branch, Iowa, for substantially lowering their fees so that in combination with the money from the Unwanted Horse Coalition, the gelding procedure ended up being free of charge for miniature horse owners. We are grateful that these veterinarians believe in and support this program as much as we do to help reduce the number of unwanted horses.”
Out west in Estarada, Oregon, Dawn Sayles of Vintage Farm held her first Operation Gelding clinic. She was thrilled with the success of the clinic and is looking forward to hosting more. ”This was a total win-win situation for everyone involved. The owners now have happy geldings. The vet students couldn’t thank us enough for the experience they got, and most of all the horses can now be turned out with pasturemates and live long, happy, peaceful lives where they get to interact with other horses,” said Sayles.
Even rescue facilities are hosting Operation Gelding clinics. Susan Thompson of DreamChaser PMU Horse Rescue & Rehabilitation, Inc. hosted her first clinic “and the clinic went beautifully, with 14 horses gelded,” she said.
Upcoming Operation Gelding clinics will be held in the late fall in Texas, New York, and Florida.
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.