Handbook Seeks to Combat Unwanted Horses

The Unwanted Horse Coalition is circulating a handbook on best practices.

The Unwanted Horse Coalition is circulating suggested best practices as a guide for individuals and associations to reducing the number of unwanted horses.

A handbook titled Best Practices: How Your Organization Can Help Unwanted Horses is part of a continuing education program headed by the UHC, which falls under the American Horse Council. The handbook shows how the horse community can “institute activities and programs to deal with their horses after their active lives are over or when their owners are no longer able to care for them.”

UHC officials said many equine organizations, events, and service providers already have instituted programs to help ensure that no horse becomes unwanted.  The handbook includes sections on administration, continuing education, fundraising programs, offering support to equine care facilities, matchmaking, direct assistance, breeding control, and euthanasia.

The 15-page handbook notes the need for each organization to have a coordinator, a Web site, and continuing education programs, as well as offers suggestions on how to start or associate with an equine care facility.

“The more educated our industry becomes in regard to unwanted horses and the more effort that we put into it, the more we can do to help our horses,” UHC chairman Dr. Tom Lenz said in a statement. “We hope the (handbook) will give everyone some ideas to pursue. If each organization gets involved, even with a single activity, the industry can go a long way toward solving this problem.”

More than 30 organizations are now members of the UHC. The issue of unwanted horses was the focus of the 2009 AHC National Issues Forum in Washington, D.C.