Taking the Initial Step for Unwanted Horses

Taking the initial step to help unwanted horses is critical to solving the problem of excess horses facing the horse community. The Unwanted Horse Coalition's (UHC) new handbook, Best Practices: How Your Organization Can Help Unwanted Horses, details the first step to any organization, association, or event getting involved in the problem of unwanted horses today.

"Fundamental to any successful effort is the assignment of at least one person to be an Unwanted Horse Coordinator at your organization, event or activity," said Dr. Doug Corey, Chairman of the UHC. Designating an Unwanted Horse Coordinator would ensure that an organization is considering the issue of unwanted horses in its day-to-day activities.

The Unwanted Horse Coordinator would be responsible for implementing programs beneficial to unwanted horses. This person could initiate simple tasks such as distributing educational materials to members at meetings or events. The coordinator would be the contact within the organization to provide assistance and useful information to members, participants, and others interested in getting involved. The organization's Unwanted Horse Coordinator can also undertake more involved tasks such as fundraising, coordinating adoption programs, working with care facilities, and organizing clinics and wellness programs. The coordinator can help organize castration clinics, hay/feedbanks, vaccination clinics for rescues, owning responsibly seminars, a horse show to benefit and showcase rescue horses, and more.

"Appointing an Unwanted Horse Coordinator within (an) organization, association, or event is critical to helping reduce the number of unwanted horses. The coordinator can generate awareness by educating the public about unwanted horses, while also providing feasible solutions to the problem. There is no limit to the duties a coordinator can perform," said Ericka Caslin, director of the Unwanted Horse Coalition.

Many organizations have taken the first step and assigned a position for an Unwanted Horse Coordinator. Many state horse councils have appointed Unwanted Horse Coordinators to think about the issue of unwanted horses within their respective states. Among the state horse councils who have taken the first step are: Arkansas Horse Council, Colorado Horse Council, Kentucky Horse Council, Maryland Horse Council, Minnesota Horse Council, and the Michigan Horse Council. The Rocky Mountain Horse Expo has also designated an Unwanted Horse Liaison who has instituted speakers at their event to discuss unwanted horses. The Equine Science Center at Rutger's University and University of Kentucky: Louisville have both appointed professors to work with the UHC on solving the issue of unwanted horses.

For more information about taking the first step and other ways to get your organization or event can get involved in helping to solve the issue of unwanted horses, please visit the UHC website and download a copy of the Best Practices: How Your Organization Can Help Unwanted Horses handbook. Hard copies are available by contacting Ericka Caslin, director of the UHC, at ecaslin@horsecouncil.org or by calling 202/296-4031.

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