The Unwanted Horse Coalition’s (UHC) Operation Gelding program continues, with participation spread across the United States. The program, which was launched in late August 2010 with the help of seed money from the American Association of Equine Practitioners Foundation and the UHC, is designed to offer 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.
Organizations continue to express interest in hosting and conducting Operation Gelding clinics. As of November 17th, over 120 stallions have been gelded and approximately $6,000 in funds have been distributed. The UHC estimates that 25 clinics will be completed and funded before the end of the year. Currently, Operation Gelding clinics are scheduled in 16 different states, ranging coast to coast from California to South Carolina.
Dr. Carolyn Arnold of Texas A&M University reported that their November 6 clinic helped castrate 17 stallions with the assistance of the Texas A&M veterinary students. Arnold reported that she received hundreds of calls from horse owners wanting to participate and wanting more information about the Operation Gelding clinic, “I was amazed at the level of interest in the clinic as a result of advertising. I probably fielded several hundred calls from people wanting to participate. Because of this positive response, the school is looking into doing low cost castration days on a more routine basis.”
Back in the Saddle Project (BITS) has been conducting gelding clinics through their organization for over a year. Deb Steward of BITS, located in Magalia, California, said, “BITS has now gelded 33 horses through our clinics, which means 33 horses will not be breeding and adding to the excess horse problem.” On November 6, BITS and Deb Steward helped castrate 10 horses through the Operation Gelding program and they have another low cost gelding clinic planned for January.
Dr. Charlene Cook of Central Equine Services in Ft. Valley, Georgia hosted an Operation Gelding clinic in which six veterinary students from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine were able to gain hands-on experience in castrating nine stallions. Cook said, “We let students take turns performing the pre-surgical exam and anesthesia, as well as acting as the surgical assistant and operating surgeon. It was truly a rewarding day on all fronts.”
Four Corners Equine Rescue in Aztec, New Mexico was able to geld seven horses through their Operation Gelding clinic. Plans are currently being made for future gelding clinics to help horses and horse owners in need. “I want to thank the UHC for making our gelding clinic possible. Life for horses and their owners will be better off because of it,” said Debbie Coburn of Four Corners Equine Rescue.
Dr. Yalonda Burton informed the UHC that her Patterson Animal Hospital Operation Gelding clinic went smoothly and successfully. Her November 11 clinic in Stillwell, Oklahoma, which was put together in a matter of two weeks, castrated eight horses. Burton said, “The entire crew really enjoyed the Operation Gelding clinic we put together. We had a real sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.”
Ericka Caslin, UHC Director, said, “We are thrilled with the success of the Operation Gelding program thus far. It is very encouraging to see the amount of interest and participation in the program. Participating organizations have helped over a hundred horses and horse owners in need and have done a wonderful job working together to help with the issue of unwanted horses.”
For more information on Operation Gelding, how to conduct a clinic, or the schedule and location of Operation Gelding clinics, please contact Ericka Caslin, UHC director, at email@example.com or 202-296-4031.
The Unwanted Horse Coalition
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.