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Natural Awakenings San Diego

Hundreds of Horses Face Brighter Future

Jan 31, 2013 10:21AM

Utilizing local vets, venues and volunteers, National Equine Resource Network [NERN] improved the lives of hundreds of horses by providing low cost castration services to horse owners in need. NERN hosted low cost gelding clinics in horse dense communities all over California, assisting in the castration of nearly 300 horses in 2012. This reflects a 200 percent increase over 2011 clinic numbers. They also hosted their first out of state clinics in Nevada and Washington states.

Citing their partnership with R-VETS, NERN’s Executive Director, Shirley Puga says, “Working with Dr. Davis this year allowed us to expand our clinic offerings, with more clinics, additional procedures, and greater flexibility beyond what we could have otherwise provided.”

According to Dr. Davis, “NERN's innovative and proactive program addresses an animal welfare and economic problem that, outside the equine community, tends to get insufficient attention. A combination of the economic downturn, increased feed costs, and indiscriminant breeding has led to a serious problem that impacts not only the lives of the horses, but animal control facilities, local governments, and public safety.”

NERN’s gelding program helps horses, horse owners, horse rescues and the equine community at large. For horses, castration provides a brighter, more secure future as many stallions face a lonely, frustrating existence filled with uncertainty, excessive breeding, harsh handling, and ultimately auction. Low cost clinics assist responsible, but financially challenged horse owners to castrate their colts and stallions at a significantly reduced rate. Fewer surplus horses means fewer added to the growing population in overburdened rescues, and fewer neglected, abandoned or sold to slaughter. The equine community is benefitted by a reduction in the backyard breeding of unregistered or unproven horses that serve only to dilute breed genetics and decrease overall market value.

NERN’s 2013 goals are to further expand the number of clinics offered, to continue expansion into additional western states, and to provide funding to other nonprofits and/or individuals needing low cost castration options outside NERN’s service area.

“The veterinarians, venue owners and volunteers are integral to the success of this program and we thank them for their participation,” says Puga. “Without them, this program would not have been able to provide this low cost option to so many horse owners. We hope these folks, and others, continue to join us in offering proactive solutions to the issues that face the equine community.”

To learn more about NERN, or to donate to their proactive equine welfare programs, visit

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