At the recent Unwanted Horse Coalition (UHC) Annual Meeting during the American Horse Council's Annual Meeting & National Issues Forum, UHC members took a hard look at what the UHC had accomplished since its inception, and where we want to go from here. We asked ourselves a series of questions:
- Have we been successful in educating the public and the equine industry about the "unwanted" horse issue?
- Have we gotten the point across that in order to own a horse you must "own responsibly?"
- Have we clearly articulated what it means to "own responsibly?"
- Based on surveys and anecdotal data, it appears that the general, non-horse owning public has become more educated and aware about the unwanted horse issue- does the name "Unwanted Horse Coalition" have a negative connotation to it now? Should we change the UHC's name?
During this discussion, a consensus was reached that Operation Gelding is still the "pinnacle" program for the UHC, and that the creation of the voucher program has been invaluable to the rescues and individuals that rescue horses that need to be gelded. The decision was easily made to continue this program, and work on funding it at a higher level- Why stop a good thing right?!
The next steps for the UHC were not as obvious—changing the name of an organization certainly isn't easy; what new programs or educational materials can we put out to continue to elevate the UHC as an organization and establish its programs as a leader in the industry?
In the next couple months, some changes may be made at the UHC to help us achieve more and make a larger impact. Stay tuned for updates, and if you have any suggestions, please feel free to contact me (UHC Director Ashley Furst) directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.