Washington, DC—June 30, 2015. The Unwanted Horse Coalition (UHC) met on Monday, June 15, during the American Horse Council’s 2015 Annual Meeting and National Issues Forum. Attendees heard presentations by member organizations, including The Jockey Club, The Equine Network, and the United States Trotting Association, on their current activities regarding unwanted horses.

In addition, Matt Iuliano, Executive Vice President of The Jockey Club, spoke on behalf of the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, a nonprofit organization that accredits aftercare organizations that retire, retrain, and rehome Thoroughbreds and fundraises to support these organizations.

Iuliano’s report was followed by a presentation by Steuart Pittman, President and Founder of the Retired Racehorse Project (RRP). This year the RRP’s crown jewel, The Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, will move from Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky where 350 retired Thoroughbred racehorses will compete for the title of “America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred.”

Following the presentations, the group discussed ideas for new UHC initiatives, including updating the UHC website updating and reprinting the two UHC handbooks, Own Responsibly: Guidance for Current and Potential Horse Owners from the Unwanted Horse Coalition and Best Practices: How Your Organization Can Help Unwanted Horses; hosting a series of webinars directed toward equine rescue and care facilities; and creating a financial guide for prospective horse owners.

During the meeting, the UHC also decided to reduce the membership dues for equine care facilities from $350/year to $50/year in an effort to get more facilities involved.

The UHC also released its recently updated Own Responsibly brochure, as well as its new brochure, Preventing Unwanted Horses: Geld and Spay,which was created as a supplement to the UHC’s hugely popular Operation Gelding program. The brochure highlights the benefits of gelding, spaying, and hormone therapy for mares and discusses how these practices can positively impact population, breed quality, and behavior. Both brochures are now available through the UHC.

Overall, the meeting was a great success and the UHC looks forward to both enhancing its current programs and taking on new ones.

UHC 10th Anniversary

The UHC also celebrated its 10th anniversary with a special program held during the AHC’s National Issues Forum on Tuesday, June 16.

The presentation opened with a short video, courtesy of the American Association of Equine Practitioners about the UHC, its goals, and its mission. It can be viewed at here. Dr. Douglas Corey, Chairman of the UHC, identified the events that led to the formation of the UHC in 2005 and how it has brought the unwanted horse issue to the attention of the horse industry.

Dr. Corey was followed by the director of the UHC, Dagmar Caramello, who explained some of the educational programs and initiatives that the UHC has undertaken in the past 10 years to address, and help solve, the unwanted horse issue. Attendees also heard from representatives of three of the UHC’s member organizations—The Jockey Club, the United States Trotting Association, and the Minnesota Horse Council—who spoke about programs their organizations have undertaken to help reduce the number of unwanted horses. At the conclusion of the program, AHC president, Jay Hickey, presented an award to Dr. Kent Carter, president of AAEP, in recognition of AAEP’s 10 years of continued support and dedication to the UHC.

The program was well attended by over 100 guests and was a testament to the work that the UHC has done over the past decade and will continue to do for years to come.

Operation Gelding Update

The UHC’s Operation Gelding program continues to help castrate stallions across the country. Now in its fifth year, the program has assisted in castrating 1,128 stallions at 93 clinics in 33 states.

In the past year, Operation Gelding has been responsible for castrating 320 horses in 26 events across the country. These included events at veterinary schools and clinics such as, the Virginia—Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in Blacksburg, Virginia; the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine in College Station, Texas; and the Springhill Equine Veterinary Clinic in Newberry, Florida. Multiple clinics were also held at equine rescues around the country, including Helping Hands, Hearts, and Hooves in Ellenboro, North Carolina, and Blaze’s Tribute Equine Rescue in Jones, Oklahoma.

Operation Gelding currently has funding available for organizations that would like to host their own Operation Gelding clinic. For more information on how to host a clinic, contact Dagmar Caramello, UHC Director, at dcaramello@horsecouncil.org or 202-296-4031. Information and applications can be found here on the UHC website.