The Unwanted Horse Coalition (UHC) held its annual meeting on June 13 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 three-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,” she said.

Purcell said 51% 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 suggested a monetary incentive of $90 per horse gelded to help increase participation. The survey also revealed that 70% of respondents said they would plan a second clinic if funds were available, and 81% expressed interest in a voucher option.

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