November 12, 208 -- The Unwanted Horse Coalition (UHC) seeks more facilities that accept, place, or use horses to list themselves on the UHC website. Currently, there are over 200 facilities listed.
"This is a continuing process for the coalition," said Dr. Tom Lenz, UHC Chairman. "We have received many inquiries not only from horse owners who are seeking retirement homes or second careers for their horses, but also from people who are interested in adopting a horse or volunteering at equine placement organizations. We expect that this online directory will continue to furnish valuable information to all these people, and in doing so, be good for the horses."
According to recent national and regional news reports, the number of unwanted horses in the United States is rising. Media reports suggest that rescue groups and state agencies are seeing an increased number of horses that can no longer be cared for by their owners. Some of these reports are suggesting that many rescue, retirement, and rehabilitation facilities are struggling to feed their current inventory as well and have been forced to start turning horses away.
The UHC hopes that its website resources will remain an important bridge between people who are seeking alternatives for their horses and the many facilities that are able to accept them. Such facilities include rescue, retirement, and retraining facilities; therapeutic riding programs; colleges and universities; police and military organizations; public stables; and government and park service programs. "The more facilities we can list on our website, the better. The larger our online network becomes, the more options become available for the unwanted horse. If you are a facility that will help with the care, training and use of these horses, we encourage you to sign on," said Julia Andersen, UHC Director.
The UHC website is set up so that these facilities can list themselves easily. Any facility that wishes to be listed can go to the UHC website and complete a brief questionnaire. To complete the questionnaire or view the facilities in the directory, go to www.unwantedhorsecoalition.org, click "Resources," follow the link to "Facilities that Accept Horses" and fill out the short questionnaire. Facilities will be listed by state. The information sought is intended to advise horse owners about what type of facility it is, contact information, whether it is tax exempt, year founded, horse capacity, number of staff and whether it follows the "Care Guidelines for Rescue and Retirement Facilities," published by the American Association of Equine Practitioners. A facility will also be able to describe itself and spell out its purpose and philosophy.
"There are plenty of horses who need care, training, and a good home. We want horse owners to be aware of the large rescue/ retirement facilities with multiple locations as well as the smaller facilities that may serve a local area. They all have an important place in this effort," said Dr. Lenz
The UHC website also has a series of questions that owners should consider when trying to decide on a facility, program or second use for their horse. "These questions will help owners know what options are available and what to look for in a facility. This is a difficult decision for many owners to make and we want to help them make the best one for their horse," said Andersen.
The UHC is a broad alliance of equine organizations, including Horse & Rider magazine, that have joined together under the American Horse Council to reduce the numbers of unwanted horses and help horse owners understand the various options, services and assistance available to them when they are considering what to do with a horse they can no longer care for.
The coalition's website has information on the issue of the unwanted horse along with an ever-expanding resource section dedicated to educational materials and news articles. A brochure highlighting the coalition and its activities is available online along with a handbook entitled "Own Responsibly: Guidance for Current and Potential Horse Owners from the Unwanted Horse Coalition." Both can be downloaded for use.
The Unwanted Horse Coalition has been up and running under the auspices of the American Horse Council for almost two years now. UHC has successfully developed a number of resources, including educational materials, a website, public service ads and a message--"Own Responsibly."
UHC needs the help and support of all horse organizations to educate the horse industry about this issue. In these trying times, we need the horse industry to come together more than ever to help solve the problem of unwanted horses.
The Coalition is asking all breed registries, equine organizations, state associations, individual horse owners and service providers to help us to spread the word to "Own Responsibly."
Please help the UHC by taking the following actions:
- Passing out the UHC materials at your member events, annual conferences and other relevant places. The materials include the UHC brochure and flyer, which explain the Coalition and its activities, as well as a 30-page handbook on "Owning Responsibly." The UHC will provide these materials for you. The materials are also downloadable from the UHC website.
- Adding the www.unwantedhorsecoalition.org link to your site along with the logo and/or banner. UHC has both a banner and a logo to provide to you.
- Include articles and filler ads about the UHC and its materials in your upcoming magazine issues and/or newsletters. UHC has articles and ads available; or can provide assistance to help write ads.
- If you know of an organization that can be listed on the website as a facility that accepts horses, please let UHC know. As the number of unwanted horses seems to be increasing, the UHC needs more resources in order to help find homes for those horses. Please encourage such facilities, including therapeutic riding programs, public stables, equestrian teams and clubs, universities, etc., to list themselves on the UHC website.
- Help pass along these actions to your organizations members and encourage them to contact the UHC to ask how they can help spread the UHC to spread the word on "Owning Responsibly."
UHC asks that your organization designate a person to be responsible for working with the UHC to "Spread the Word" about the problem of the unwanted horse and the efforts of the UHC. Please let the UHC know who that person is, so they can be included in an email distribution list for information.
For all information and responses to this memo, contact UHC Director Julia Andersen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-296-4031.