First Two NERN Low-Cost Gelding Clinics A Success

The National Equine Resource Network's (NERN) low-cost gelding clinic program in California has reduced the number of stallions in Huntington Beach and Salinas by 25, according to Shirley Puga, head of the nonprofit organization founded last year to help equine rescue sanctuaries not only survive, but expand their endeavors during the current economic hard times.

"Thanks to the efforts of some wonderful people in both locations, including equine veterinary professionals, horse rescuers, and volunteers, our pilot low-cost gelding clinic is off to a successful start," Puga said.

The two gelding clinics were held in Huntington Beach and Salinas in March, gelding seven and 18 stallions respectively. They were the first in a series of low-cost castration clinics NERN has scheduled throughout California in 2011.

Puga credits the success of the first two clinics to the veterinarians, the horse rescues, and their volunteers in the two communities. Participating equine health professionals included Jean Winnick, DVM, of Gold Star Equine Medicine in Huntington Beach; and Silvia Colladay, DVM, CVA, of Coastal Veterinary Medicine in Laguna Beach; Eric Davis, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, ACVIM, of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association Field Service, who is based in Salinas; and veterinary technician Cindy McClin. They were assisted by a group of students from the University of California, Davis, veterinary students and volunteers from Red Bucket Equine Rescue in Huntington Beach and Valley View Ranch Equine Rescue in King City.

Three more NERN gelding clinics are scheduled in April: two in Oakdale (Apr. 2 and Apr. 23) and another in Buellton (Apr. 26). Puga said the target for this year is to host 10 to 12 clinics in various California locations.

"Reception by local horse owners has been overwhelmingly positive to these clinics," Puga said. "There are a lot of responsible people out there who want to do the right thing by their horses, they are just struggling financially. We are glad to be able to help them."

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