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The National Equine Resource Network (NERN) held seven low-cost gelding clinics in California this March and will be traveling to Arizona and Colorado in May and Oregon in June. The group continues to expand their campaign to reduce the number of unwanted foals born each year and reduce the burden on horse rescue groups.
Gelding services are offered at NERN clinics for a fraction of the usual cost. Horse owners pay $75 towards the procedure, which can typically run $150 to $325.
"Reception by local horse owners has been overwhelmingly positive to these clinics," said Shirley Puga, head of the nonprofit organization. "There are a lot of responsible people out there who want to do the right thing by their horses, but they are just struggling financially. In fact, we are getting calls and emails daily from desperate horse owners and rescuers, asking us to host a clinic in their community. We are working diligently to expand the program to address as many areas as possible."
NERN will be offering additional clinics in California later in the year.
Another benefit of the clinics is to provide training for interns, vet students, vet techs and vet tech students, said Puga. Under careful, direct supervision of a veterinarian, the volunteer interns and vet students receive valuable “large animal” experience by administering medications or vaccines, inserting IVs, and performing routine castrations. Techs and tech students provide assistance at the clinics to keep things flowing more smoothly for the vets.
NERN also offers “hay” assistance to owners who struggling to keep their horses fed, but they have to have stallions gelded and take other measures to reduce the chances of their animals becoming a burden on the community.
"The bottom line is that there are more horses in this country right now than there are adequate homes for them. A goal for the castration clinics is to decrease the numbers of horses by castrating stallions from rescues or those owned by people facing financial challenges. This helps because the number of stallions is directly correlated with the number of mares bred. Reducing the number of foals being born over the next few years will be a major factor in alleviating this problem," Puga said.
GreaterGood.org supports NERN’s commitment to proactive programs to reduce the number of horses abandoned or turned over to rescue groups through the Gifts That Give More program.
Photo courtesy of NERN.