The Unwanted Horse Coalition (UHC) held its annual meeting on Monday, June 13, 2016, during the American Horse Council’s Annual Convention and National Issues Forum at the Washington Court Hotel.
Attendees included 31 members of the UHC as well as 21 representatives from other equine industry organizations interested in reducing the number of unwanted horses. The meeting focused on the UHC’s new 3-year strategic plan, which aims to expand educational efforts, enhance key programs, increase visibility, and develop a strategic fundraising campaign to support current and future initiatives. Committee chairs Shannon Luce and Kristin Leshney (The Jockey Club), Ward Stutz (American Quarter Horse Association), and Cindy Schonholtz (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, Animal Welfare Council) will lead the effort.
Jennifer Purcell, PhD, who joined the UHC last March as its new director, presented results of a recent survey, which will guide programmatic changes. “The UHC has not surveyed Operation Gelding clinic organizers since the program began in 2010, so this was clearly the first step in our plan to expand the program,” said Purcell.
Fifty-percent of the clinic organizers responded, representing organizations in 18 states. Organizers reported lack of advertising, costs of travel, and inconvenient dates as the three primary reasons horse owners do not participate in clinics, and they suggested a monetary incentive of $90 per horse gelded to help increase participation. Seventy percent said they would plan a second clinic if funds were available, and 81% expressed interest in a voucher option.
Based on these results, the UHC approved expansion of the program, which includes increasing the funding per horse gelded to $100, approving two clinics per calendar year for qualified organizations, and offering a voucher option. The changes will go into effect January 1, 2017.
“We are so pleased that the Board agreed to expand the Operation Gelding program,” stated Dr. Doug Corey, Chairman of the UHC. “The program is working, but there is a clear demand for additional castration clinics across the country, and the UHC is ready to assist organizations in meeting that need.”
Since its inception, Operation Gelding has distributed $67,000 in funds, resulting in the castration of 1,348 stallions and the reduction of many unwanted foals.
The UHC is supported by individual donations and organizational membership. To learn more about the UHC and help reduce the number of unwanted horses, contact Jennifer Purcell at [email protected] or donate through the UHC website (www.unwantedhorsecoalition.org).