Low-cost gelding clinic offered to decrease unwanted horse population

The Kentucky Horse Park is offering gelding surgery for a $20 fee to help reduce the number of unwanted horses.

The gelding clinic is March 10, and horse owners need to apply in advance, said Cindy Rullman, horse park spokeswoman. Up to 20 horses will be accepted.

The Kentucky Horse Council's Save Our Horses fund and the American Horse Council's Unwanted Horse Coalition are partnering with the horse park in Lexington to provide the procedures.

"In this difficult economic climate, horse owners realize that breeding horses may be a losing financial proposition unless the sire and dam are of top notch bloodlines," said Anna Zinkhon, president of the Kentucky Horse Council, in a written release from the horse park. "The gelding of these horses may create useful riding horses, and eliminate the production of unwanted foals."

The clinic is open to any horse whose owner who can't afford the surgery, which can cost $200 to $400, depending on veterinarian, Rullman said. Apply here on the horse park Web site. Those interested also can contact Sheila Forbes at 859-233-4305 or Applications must be received by Feb. 24.

Those eligible include stallions in good health, at least four months of age with current Coggins and health certificates. A $20 fee will be charged to offset expenses.

The castrations will be performed by a veterinarian or a supervised veterinary student.

The March clinic will be the horse park's second. The clinic is open to owners outside of Lexington. Bad weather made travel to the previous clinic in December 2010 difficult; five horses were treated, Rullman said.

"Sir Winston Churchill once said, 'We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.' Horses provide a living for tens of thousands of Kentuckians, so we want to repay some of that debt by giving something back that will improve their lives," John Nicholson, executive director of the Kentucky Horse Park, said in the written release. "These surgeries will help them become more trainable and lower the number of unwanted horses being born."