There will be fewer horses in the future, thanks to National Equine Resource Network (NERN) holding a low cost gelding clinic in Ramona.
Fourteen horses were gelded on April 15, making them unable to reproduce, which is something that I take very seriously. Fourteen may not sound like very many but over their lifetimes they could have helped to produce 1,200 more horses, maybe even more if they were added to a breeding program that used artificial insemination or some other very active means of breeding.
I quite accidentally came across NERN early last year and have been thrilled with its efforts to continue to help control the equine population.
While researching the problem of homeless horses and the number of equine going to slaughterhouses, I found NERN and reached out to Director Shirley Puga to get more information regarding the gelding clinics they are able to provide at a very affordable cost to horse owners. NERN got together with Paniolo Equine Veterinary Service, Tearsong Equine Athletes and Sanctuary, Creek Hollow Ranch and PIMA Medical Institute to provide this low cost clinic in Ramona.
It cost me $325 to geld my appaloosa five years ago. The cost typically starts at about $250 and goes up from there to geld a stallion, which can be difficult for some to afford. It cost me a little more than the low side because he required more anesthetic during the procedure, which is something you can never predict.
My horse had no complications but if something goes awry, and it can and does happen as with any surgery, the vet bills can pile up. I won’t go into any gory details, but it can be a pretty big deal that costs more money to take care of.
NERN provides the gelding clinics for $75 to horse owners who apply and the after support, if needed. A few of my gal pals went to the Aril 15th clinic with their rescue horses and were very thankful that NERN made the surgery affordable for them. My friends understand the need to help control the equine population and are well aware that there are approximately 100,000 horses going to the slaughterhouse each year.
NERN has been conducting the low cost gelding clinics for some time all over the county. Director Shirley Puga said, “We are targeting California’s more horse rich communities. As word spreads about this service we are getting more and more demand for our clinics.”
NERN is planning to hold its first out-of-state clinic in Washington this summer and is also looking into Nevada, Arizona, and Texas. This is really good news!
I am thrilled that they are considering branching out. The problem of unwanted horses is certainly not restricted to California. I have acquaintances and contacts in many states across the country and it’s always the same — too many horses, bad economy, and horses suffering, with many going to slaughter. Gelding horses is one way to reduce those numbers. My pal Oz Dillon in Virginia and I discuss the issue and are always saddened about how prolific the problem is and how little we are able to do about it as individuals, but we’ll keep trying.
I want to say thank you to everyone involved in providing this low-cost service, for helping horses and to all of you who were able to get your horses over to Creek Hollow Ranch. You all made a big difference for horses and for Ramona!