• Phone: 770-464-0138
  • PO Box 328 * Bethlehem, Ga 30520

Georgia Equine Rescue League

Helping Starved, Abused  & Neglected Horses in Georgia

"With your help we...will make a difference!"

Stallion To Gelding Castration Program

Plan 1: Take your horse/or call a vet to come out, anytime during the year. We pay $75 per horse toward the cost.

Plan 2: Take your horse to an appointed location in the Month of November Castration Day).  Cost $50 per horse - (locations will be posted on this site)

To end the suffering of innocent horses by reducing the number of unwanted births.

Thousands of horses are born each year as a result of thoughtlessness on the part of mare and stallion owners. It is the plea of GERL for these owners to consider very carefully the future of resulting offspring before permitting their horses to reproduce. Equine rescue organizations across the nation are overwhelmed by the growing number of unwanted and neglected horses.
   Our organization believes that the first step in eliminating this problem is to reduce the number of foals produced each year. We strongly urge owners of equine of breeding age to geld their stallions and resist breeding their mares unless they intend to keep and use the resulting progeny, or they have a reasonable expectation that the foal produced will be a marketable animal.
   In an effort to reduce the number of stallions and to encourage the use of only top quality animals for breeding purposes, GERL has initiated our Stallion to Gelding Program. As an incentive to stallion owners, we will pay $75 toward the cost of gelding any male equine in Georgia for individuals who require financial assistance. Two horse limit per owner, please. Owners may use the veterinarian of their choice and must take full responsibility for post operative care.

Applications must be mailed and approved by GERL before arrangements are made with attending veterinarians..

It is our hope at GERL that all of our members and many others who are also concerned about the growing number of unwanted horses in our state (and in our nation), are aware that each November, GERL partners with local veterinarians all over Georgia to provide low cost stallion castrations. Basically, the stallion owner pays $50 and GERL pays $50. The horses are transported to a designated location for the service. The veterinarians agree to perform the procedure for $100. There may be additional charges since a current tetanus immunization and Coggins are required preoperatively. Many stallion owners also request that “wolf teeth” be removed while the horse is anesthetized.

One day in November of each year has traditionally been designated as “GERL Stallion to Gelding Day” ever since this very important part of the “GERL Get Well Plan” was implemented in 2010. Over time, our Castration Day has, of necessity, become Castration Month. Each participating vet or vet clinic still performs the low cost castrations on a certain day but they choose a day which best fits their schedule; therefore, the castrations are being performed throughout the month of November. Dates, locations, and times for each Castration Day are listed on the GERL Web Site (www.gerlltd.org). Stallion owners must make appointments directly with the vet most convenient to them.

This year, GERL received a $5000 grant from the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) to help with the cost of this event. It is not the first time that ASPCA has donated to this important program and we are truly grateful.

Although, to have your stallion castrated during this event, is the most cost effective, GERL also helps with the cost of the surgery at any time during the year. GERL will pay $75 toward the cost of having your stallion castrated by the vet of your choice. For more information, please contact Marian Finco (Stallion to Gelding Coordinator) at mhfinco@aol.com.

I always attend the Castration Day at Countryside Hospital for Animals near Jersey, GA. I was joined this year by Leslie Lambert and Jacki Moore (our Volunteers of the Quarter). There, the surgeries are performed by Vet students from the University of Georgia School of Veterinary Medicine. The students are advanced students and are supervised one-on-one by Staff Vets from Countryside or Instructors from the Vet School at UGA. The students are very excited for this opportunity to practice their surgical skills and it is easy to see that they will all make outstanding practitioners in the future.

There were 12 stallions castrated at the clinic I attended at Countryside on November 19. This number included some darling Mini Horses and a couple of “very spirited” (wild!) donkeys. The surgery went well for each of the animals and they all went home to face a much better life for having had this experience.

Seventy-eight stallions were castrated during our Stallion to Gelding Month this year.

“Stallion to Gelding Day”, sponsored by GERL comes each year on the second Saturday in November. Patty Livingston and I met at Countryside Hospital for Animals near Jersey, GA. early that morning as we have for all of the years that the event has taken place. It was a sunny, crisp morning and as the attending veterinarians, UGA veterinary students, and the stallions (soon to be geldings), began to arrive, the excitement was palpable. The Countryside Vets are always willing to help with this very important GERL Program, the UGA Vet Students are very excited to obtain their first experience with castrating a horse, and the stallions are just excited to be horses on such a beautiful morning! I doubt that they (the stallions) know that the rest of their lives will be effected in a good way because their owners have made the very responsible decision to have them castrated.

This yearly event is sponsored by GERL in an effort to encourage the owners of stallions (including Mini Horses, ponies, and donkeys) to have them gelded. We are able to negotiate with many veterinarians over Georgia so that, after GERL pays part of the cost, stallion owners can have the procedure done for the extremely low cost of $50 per horse. This, in an attempt to prevent the over breeding of horses which has led to the overabundance of horses in our state. This overabundance has brought the value of horses to such a low point that those who cannot afford to own a horse, can easily obtain one. This most often leads to starvation and/or very poor living conditions for these poor horses.

This Stallion to Gelding Day was much like all of the other such events I have attended. All went well and that is the great news! It is still amazing to me to see the horses get up after general anesthesia and the surgery, walk around for a bit, and then load onto a horse trailer to go home within a very short time. I asked some of the stallion owners what this program meant to them. Many of them said that they would have eventually had their animals gelded anyway but this opportunity to save quite a bit of money, made them make it a priority to have it done on November 14th. After 73 years of observing human nature, I am certain that many of them would perhaps have put off getting it done until it just might have possibly resulted in the birth of an unwanted foal. All of the vets and vet students participating at Countryside were at the site from 8:30 AM until about 5PM. There were 13 stallions gelded and we all enjoyed a pizza lunch provided by GERL while we enjoyed a lovely day of doing a very good thing. Including the other sites all over Georgia, where the very same thing was going on, 72 stallions were gelded on that day!

Please join us in giving a BIG thanks to all of the equine vets who participated in this event this year: Amicalola Veterinary Service, Barnesville Animal Clinic, Barrow Veterinary Service, Big Springs Equine Medicine, Countryside Veterinary Service, Fulton Equine Clinic, King Equine Veterinary Service, New South Equine Medicine, Royston Animal Clinic, Town & Country Animal Hospital and Maggie’s Menagerie.

As is our custom, Anne Ensminger and I met at Countryside Animal Hospital in Jersey to set up a booth for GERL during the annual castration day. We didn’t have the GERL cargo trailer this year since we seldom sell merchandise at this event. We had brought hand warmers and blankets to take off the morning chill as we waited for the patients to arrive.

The UGA College of Veterinary Medicine students and vets were already there and waiting to get started. I noticed that there were more students participating this year than last. There were also a couple of male students in the mix which is more unusual than you might think. The entire group seemed interested to learn about GERL and the ways in which we help horses. They were all excited about the opportunity to perform surgery and several thanked us for providing the opportunity. I asked them how many had participated the previous year and there were none. I thought that was interesting.

As our Castration Day approached, I regretted that I had to let it be known that the event would have to be smaller this year. I wrote about our lack of funds for this program in our last newsletter and the response that followed was very gratifying. We were able to allow the participation of five additional veterinarians who had expressed an interest in helping this year. Because of the generosity of G.E.R.L. members, the participating Georgia veterinarians, many volunteers, and the UGA students and instructors, we were able to help with the castration of 96 stallions on November 8th. Thanks very much to all who did not hesitate to step up and donate to help make this happen. I also want to thank Dr. Rebecca Gimenez who graciously offered to cover any overage. It felt good to realize that there are others as passionate about the G.E.R.L. Castration Program as I.

G.E.R.L. is always very appreciative of the veterinarians who agree to host a clinic on our Castration Day each year. They perform castrations at the greatly reduced rate of $100.00 per stallion. The stallion owners pay half of that fee and G.E.R.L. pays the other half plus the cost of medications. The only extra charge to the horse owners is for a required tetanus inoculation if their horse has not had one recently.
This program was founded as part of the “G.E.R.L. Get Well Plan” and is our way of addressing the overpopulation of horses, a great contributor to the horse problems in our state.

Dr. Ava Griner Talmage, Amicalola Veterinary Services
Dr. Dan Carter & Dr. Billy Myers - Countryside Animal Hospital, Jersey
Dr. Dr. Ross Kittrell, New South Equine Medicine, Good Hope
Dr. Logan King, King Equine Vet Services, McDonough
Dr. Wanda Thompson, Royston Animal Hospital Royston
Dr. Mark Korb, Barnesville Animal Clinic, Barnesville
Dr. Eric Sjoberg, Dr. Brittany Bell and Dr. Jennifer Adams, Maggie's Menagerie Veterinary, Ila
Dr. Jennifer Baker & Dr. Bill Baker, Equine Associates, Hawkinsville
Dr. Katie Lott-Ellis, Jacksonville Equine Associates, Waynesville
Dr. McCord, Bowdon Animal Clinic, Bowdon
Dr. Hagart, Town & Country Animal Hospital, Mt. Airy
Dr. Melissa Fulton, Fulton Equine, Spalding County

To my way of thinking, this is one of the most important programs that we sponsor and the GERL Board of Directors all join me in vowing that we will do all in our power to ensure that we continue to host this event every November.

This was our third year to host the Stallion to Gelding Castration Day and I was very grateful to the 18 equine veterinarians across the State of Georgia who volun-teered to participate by hosting a clinic at the reduced price of just $100 per horse. GERL would be paying $50 to the vets for each horse they castrated in addition to reimbursing them for the drugs they used during their clinic. I really wanted to beat our record of 141 castra-tions from last year, but would be happy with whatever number we could do. We had a lot of returning vets who had participated in the previous two years and were able to snag a few new ones as a result of a mass mail-ing that we had recently done to every large animal vet-erinarian in Georgia.

If you're not a regular reader of the GERL newsletter you may be wondering why I make such a big deal out of such an event? That is simple. We have over ten million horses in this country and that number is grow-ing by approximately three hundred thousand every year! That is mind-boggling to me, but easily explains why you can buy a horse for as little as ten dollars to-day. If it is a stallion you can probably get it for free! Of course, who do you think typically buys a ten dollar horse or takes a free stallion? My experience for the past five years of "being in the trenches" of horse res-cue , they are usually living in squalor and are on wel-fare or some other type of government assistance. They have absolutely no idea how to care for a horse and un-fortunately for the horse, they seldom do.

In an effort to reduce the number of horses bred and born every year, GERL created and offers two differ-ent castration pro-grams: our Stallion to Gelding Castration Day; and our other Stallion to Gelding program where GERL will pay $75 towards the castration of any stallion in Georgia. The owner must fill out an application and the cost is whatever their personal vet charges for performing castra-tions. This program is particularly beneficial for equine owners who do not have a trailer or the ability to transport their stud to a clinic. In addition, GERL also pays 100% of the cost of cas-trating every stallion picked up by the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) and offers this same service/support to local animal controls and law enforcement who agree to prosecute the owners of impounded equine.

Most of my friends would not be the least bit surprised to hear me say that GERL's annual castration day is my favorite day of the whole year. After all, I am often referred to as "The Castration Queen" and I wear the title, proudly! But this year was a little different because I would be taking Sil-ver, my little GERL foster mini horse, to the clinic to be gelded. I have been fostering him since I picked him up in July and had been waiting for castration day which was the first step to getting him to his new "forever home", which was already waiting.

I arrived at Countryside Animal Hospital in Jersey around 9:00 a.m. to find all of the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine Thenogenology students and vets already there and waiting to get started. Miss Anne arrived a few minutes later and Linda Kundell arrived shortly after her, pulling the GERL cargo trailer. We helped get the GERL booth set up with tables, chairs and all of the other necessities and went inside to get coffee and donuts.
By this time, several other clients had started to arrive with their stallions and I walked Silver over to an area in the large arena where he would be laid down (eventually). The two students who would be performing Silver's castration, Erica Rodriguez and Ukachi Ugorji, UGA Sophomores, were very excited about the opportunity to operate. Dr. Richard Fayrer-Hosken would be assisting the girls with Silver and he had a former college roommate from Illinois who was also a vet, standing nearby. I snapped a few pictures and moved on to the other groups of students who were getting ready to lay down their first patients. Dr. Billy Myers was assisting one group while Dr. Dan Carter and Dr. Robert Stawicki, Clini-cal Assistant Professor at UGA, assisted the other two groups.

After hanging out at our booth for a while I thought I'd go back and check on how Silver was coming along, and much to my surprise, he wasn't even down yet! In fact, he looked exactly as I had left him earlier, not the least bit wobbly. Dr. Fayrer-Hosken was sitting on the ground beside Silver and coaching the two slightly flustered students while he injected the fifth or sixth dose of twilight drugs. By this time, all of the other students were on their second horse, but Dr. Fayrer-Hosken continued to reassure them that Silver would eventually go down. Silver had attracted quite an audience by now and several of them exchanged stories of the perils of castrating minis and donkeys, which was quite entertaining.
Finally, he did go down, but he sure didn't want to stay down! Dr. Stawicki came over and helped sit on him to keep him down while Erica and Ukachi prepared everything nec-essary to start the surgery. Erica actually performed the sur-gery and it was a beautiful thing. She did a marvelous job and the smile on her face was priceless! But, Silver wanted to jump up almost immediately after the surgery which had everybody surprised, except the veteran vets, of course. Fi-nally, he was allowed to get up and he was perfectly fine. In fact, you would have never guessed what he had just been through! Tough little creatures they are.
Speaking of minis and donkeys, I spoke to Dr. Ava Talmage a couple of days after her clinic up in Jasper and she told me that out of the twelve stallions she castrated at her clinic, most of them were mini donkeys and they had a really long day! Tamma Trump helped at Dr. Ava's clinic and she men-tioned that they didn't get out of there until after 7:00 PM!
It is so gratifying to be able to help make something happen that not only benefits many Georgia stallion owners, but also benefits the UGA students. We received a very nice thank you card from all of the UGA Thenogenology students and it made me realize how much they look forward to this event every year. It makes me proud to be a part of GERL.

GERL was not able to secure a large castration grant this year but tremendous thanks goes to Kel-Mac Saddle Club as well as to one anonymous donor who each gave large dona-tions earmarked for our castration program. We are very grateful to each of the participating veterinarians, their staffs, vet students and instructors from the UGA School of Veteri-nary Medicine, as well as the many GERL volunteers who came together to make this event a tremendous success by castrating 114 stallions this year!

Dr. Ava Griner Talmage, Amicalola Veterinary Services, Talking Rock
Dr. Billy Myers, Dr. Dan Carter & Dr. Richard Fayrer-Hosken - Countryside Animal Hospital, Jersey
Dr. Rhonda Veit and Dr. Ross Kittrell, New South Equine Medicine, Good Hope
Dr. Logan King, King Equine Vet Services, McDonough
Dr. Wanda Thompson, Royston Animal Hospital, Royston
Dr. Patricia Barnes, Union County Pet Hospital, Blairsville
Dr. Chandra Moxon and Dr. Mark Korb, Barnesville Ani-mal Clinic, Barnesville
Dr. Eric Sjoberg, Dr. Brittany Bell and Dr. Jennifer Ad-ams, - Maggie's Menagerie Veterinary, Ila
Dr. Jennifer Baker & Dr. Bill Baker, Equine Associates, Hawkinsville
Dr. Katie Lott-Ellis, Jacksonville Equine Associates, Waynesville
Dr. Lois J. Lassiter, Budget Vet, Conyers
Dr. Chandra Moxon and Dr. Mark Korb, Barnesville Ani-mal Clinic, Barnesville
Dr. Robin Barrow, Barrow Veterinary Services, Social Circle
Dr. Charles Graham, Cairo Animal Hospital, Cairo
Dr. Hagart, Town & Country Animal Hospital, Mt. Airy
Dr. McCord, Bowdon Animal Clinic, Bowdon
Dr. Jennifer Gardner, Gardner Veterinary Services, Means-ville
Dr. Donna Wilder, Macon County Vet, Montezuma

Did we have a BEAUTIFUL day for our second annual Stallion to Gelding Day held on November tenth?!! YES we did! We are happy to report that the event was a HUGE success!

I remember very well the first time I was introduced to the concept of a clinic where stallion owners would transport their horses to a central location, then each horse would be fully anesthetized before undergoing the castration procedure. After the surgery and a relatively short period of recovery from the anesthetic, the animals would then be transported back home with the owners having been instructed concerning how to provide post surgical care. My long professional history with surgery and anesthesia made me doubt the wisdom of such an idea. Now that I have witnessed total success involving the castration of 239 stallions over the past two years, I am satisfied that this endeavor is a safe and cost effective way to prevent the birth of many foals facing an uncertain future. What do I mean by that? The bottom line is that there are simply too many horses in Georgia, (in our COUNTRY!) as compared to the number of responsible horse owners willing and able to properly train, enjoy, and care for them. The price of horses is at an all time LOW. This can be directly attributed to the very sound principal of economics, known simply as “supply and demand”. Many people, who could not have possibly enjoyed horse ownership in the past, now find themselves responsible for the care of one or more of these wonderful animals. These horse owners, unfortunately, have no idea HOW to care for a horse, nor do they have the necessary financial resources. This is a very BAD situation for horses. GERL has witnessed the starvation, mistreatment, and abandonment of many of these unfortunate animals.

In an effort to reduce the number of horses bred and born each year, GERL is attacking the problem from the ground, up. We are seeking to encourage stallion owners to geld their animals before they ever have a chance to reproduce. We are very aware that we end up financially helping many stallion owners who would geld their stallions anyway but we are happy to do that in order to reach those who, because of the cost of the procedure, would keep their male horses intact and allow them to indiscriminately produce offspring.

Last year (2011), GERL paid half of the cost of gelding 98 stallions on our “Stallion to Gelding Day” in November. We were able to enlist the services of twelve veterinarians state wide to make that event possible. Each veterinarian agreed to perform the surgery for $100.00. GERL paid half, and the stallion owner paid half. GERL also paid for the anesthetic drugs. This year (2012), we successfully enlisted the services of sixteen veterinarians and we were able to see one hundred forty one stallions castrated!

We are tremendously grateful to each of the participating veterinarians, their staffs, vet students and instructors from the UGA School of Veterinary Medicine, as well as many GERL volunteers who came together to make this possible. An additional benefit of this year’s event came in the form of a researcher from Berry College, Dr. Caires, and his Research Assistant, Rachel Lemche who attended a couple of our clinics to obtain tissue for a stallion fertility project. Testicular tissue obtained during our Castration Day was collected and submitted to this project by other participating veterinarians as well.

We have several members who regularly contribute to our Stallion to Gelding Program. They embrace and stand behind our dedication to this mission. We are very grateful to each of them.

In addition, GERL is extremely grateful to have been awarded a ten thousand dollar grant from the ASPCA in support of this project. We are very pleased that an organization of such importance to animals in our country understands and agrees with our commitment to the welfare of horses, not only through rescue, but by taking steps to reduce the number of unwanted horses.

GERL plans to hold our state wide Castration Day in November of each year. The growth and success of the event will be directly proportionate to the number of veterinarians who agree to participate and accept a reduced fee for their services. We hope that each of them feels the extreme gratitude of Georgia Equine Rescue League. Below are a list of the equine vets across the state who participated:

Dr. Ava Talmage, Amicalola Veterinary Services, Canton
Dr. Michael White, Crossroads Equine Veterinary Services, Ringgold
Dr. Ross Kittrell and Dr. Rhonda Veit, New South Equine Medicine, Watkinsville
Dr. Billy Myers & Dr. Dan Carter, Countryside Animal Hospital, Jersey
Dr. Lois Lassiter, Budget Vet, Conyers
Dr. Logan King, King Equine Vet Services, McDonough
Dr. Wanda Thompson, Royston Animal Hospital, Royston
Dr. Patricia Barnes, Union County Pet Hospital, Blairsville
Dr. Jennifer Gardner, Gardner Veterinary Services, Meansville
Dr. Charlene B. Cook, Central Georgia Equine Services, Fort Valley
Drs. William and Jennifer Baker, Equine Associates, Hawkinsville
Dr. Katie Lott Ellis, Jacksonville Equine Associates, Jacksonville, FL
Dr. Robin Barrow, Barrow Veterinary Services, Social Circle
Dr. Chandra Moxan, Barnesville Animal Clinic, Barnesville
Dr. Melissa Henn, Shamrock Pet Care, Dublin
Dr. Alex Greenberg, Cairo Animal Hospital, Cairo
Dr. Richard Fayrer-Hosken

It was April 16, the morning after another night of severe Georgia spring thunder storms, when a group of truly dedicated people gathered for a very unusual event. The sky was overcast, the temperature was cool, and the wind blew relentlessly. In spite of the weather, a group of excited students from the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine, one of their instructors, Dr. Richard Fayrer-Hosken, and the entire staff from Countryside Hospital for Animals near Jersey GA, gathered to join with GERL to put on an equine castration clinic.

GERL has been organizing these clinics all over Georgia for the past year. It is our feeling that this is an important avenue for us to pursue in our quest to find ways to reduce indiscriminate and irresponsible breeding of equine in our state. The way it works is that GERL negotiates a special price for each castration with local veterinarians. It is then agreed that GERL will pay half of the cost for each procedure and the stallion owner will be responsible for the balance. The result is a price that is hard to resist for owners of stallions which are not meant to be breeding animals.
This particular clinic was, by far our largest undertaking of this type to date. The doctors and staff at Countryside put forth an extreme effort to insure the meticulous organization and planning required to make such an event run smoothly. There were drugs and supplies to procure, advertisement, appointments to make, paperwork before, during, and after the clinic, and arrangements for UGA vet students to participate. It did not go unnoticed that the entire Countryside staff was present on a Saturday and cheerfully working overtime.

There were 13 equine safely and successfully castrated during the clinic. All surgeries were performed by junior and senior veterinary students under the supervision of Dr. Fayer-Hosken and the expert and experienced doctors from Countryside. The question of the day for the students was “What is the most dangerous part of this procedure?” Answer: Anesthesia. Thankfully, any danger from anesthesia was avoided. At one point during the day, there were five horses undergoing various stages of the procedure, with five teams of budding surgeons, instructors, and helpers working all at the same time!

GERL would like to express tremendous gratitude to Dr. Billy Myers and the entire Countryside staff of veterinarians, clinic personnel, and volunteers for their continuing support of our organization and for their hard work to insure the outstanding success of this event.

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