Operation Gelding
 By Winniefield Park   •   23rd Apr 2016   •   1,906 views   •   0 comments

Lots of people talk about the problem of unwanted horses, but it seems there really isnít a lot being done about the problem. The Unwanted Horse Coalition is a group of horse lovers that arenít just talking, theyíre doing. The Unwanted Horse Coalition was formed in 2005, and since has come under the umbrella of the American Horse Council. The goal of the coalition is to reduce the number of horses that are unwanted and that includes feral horses in holding facilities, horses that become unsound, or develop behavioral problems that make them difficult to ride or drive.

Some are simply the results of poor breeding practices, retired performance or working horses, senior horses, horses that owners can no longer afford or are unable to keep due to health problems. Many of these unwanted horses would find there way onto trucks destined for slaughter houses on both sides of the U.S. border. Others might suffer due to lack of care. The UHC is attempting to find solutions to the many problems that result in an unwanted horse.

Related: Five Reasons Not To Breed Your Mare

One of their most interesting programs is Operation Gelding. This is truly a way to stop the problem of unwanted horses before it starts, especially in backyard and feral situations. Mares can only have one foal per year, but a stallion can have as many as the mares he can breed. Geld the male horse, and no mares have foals. Not only does gelding help population control, it also makes horses more tractable, and therefore more attractive as riding and driving horses. Operation Gelding makes gelding stallions affordable for owners who otherwise would not be able to pay the cost of a veterinarian on their own.

Operation Gelding clinics can be held by any individual or organization. Local horse clubs, 4-H Clubs, vet schools and others can offer a clinic and be provided with instructions on how to hold the event, consent forms for participants, information and after-care instructions and funding support. Groups may still have to fundraise to cover all costs, but the UHC will contribute up to $50 per horse for up to 20 horses per clinic. Gelding operations by certified veterinarians can then be offered at low cost or free to qualified participants.

For 2016, there are, as of this writing, five clinics organized. Four are to be held in April, and another in August with locations in different states. You may wish to support this initiative by making a donation. And, two books are offered, with all proceeds going to support the Operation Gelding program.

Since 2010, Operation Gelding has provided gelding services to over 1000 horses. Granted, this is a drop in the bucket compared to the reported number of unwanted horses, and horses going for slaughter. But, it is definitely a step in the right direction.

Learn more about Operation Gelding and other initiatives to solve the problem of unwanted horses at the Unwanted Horse Coalition website as they help ensure that horse owners understand the long-term responsibilities of horse ownership and responsible breeding.

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