July 11, 2013 — The Unwanted Horse Coalition’s (UHC) Operation Gelding program continues to help castrate stallions across the country. Over 750 stallions have been castrated in more than 60 clinics in 26 different states since the program’s inception in August 2010.
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. Books can be purchased on the UHC website www.unwantedhorsecoalition.org.
Operation Gelding offers funding assistance to organizations, associations and events 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.
Julie Settlage, DVM, DACVS, from Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, held the first Operation Gelding clinic on April 13 in Blacksburg, Virginia. They were able to provide hands-on experience for 82 veterinary students and 14 faculty members, while castrating 15 stallions.
“This service-learning event not only helps the horse owner and horses, but also helps build technical skills in veterinary students and opens their eyes to the real world,” said Settlage. “By castrating these horses, we are reducing the number of unwanted horses being born in the future and creating geldings that are easier to house and maintain, thereby making them easier to adopt.”
Santa Rosa County Horse Assistance Council (SRCHAC) is a seasoned castration clinic host. Under the guidance of Jennifer Boone, the organization hosted their third Operation Gelding clinic. “Year after year, we can always count on the support of the Unwanted Horse Coalition! Thank you, as always, for your support,” said Boone. Throughout the year, SRCHAC offers low-cost gelding, vaccination and Coggins services to horse owners in the northwest Florida area.
The Minnesota Horse Council, a UHC member, is also a seasoned veteran when it comes to hosting castration clinics. With the help and skills of Tracy Turner, DVM, DACVS, the Minnesota Horse Council’s gelding clinic castrated 22 horses in one day. The Minnesota Horse Council helped launch The Gelding Project, which is a grant program in Minnesota that offers vouchers to horse owners who cannot afford to geld their stallions.
Another UHC member, the Kentucky Equine Humane Center, was able to conduct their first clinic under the tutelage of executive director Karen Gustin.
Upcoming clinics will be held in Iowa and New Mexico.
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 Ericka Caslin, UHC Director, at [email protected] or 202-296-4031. Information can be found on the UHC website at www.unwantedhorsecoalition.org.
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.