Friday, December 31, 2010

Watching The Ball(s) Drop on New Years Eve!

New York with it's Ball Dropping tradition every New Years Eve has nothing on Tacoma, Washington tonite...we beat ya by 13!!!! Take THAT Big Apple!

I spent the day at Operation Gelding, a clinic organized by the Doctors & Staff at Tacoma Equine Hospital to help the struggling equine community to change Stallions & Stud Colts into Glorious Geldings. The project was sponsored by the Unwanted Horse Coalition in an effort to help control the horse population by making it affordable to local owners.

Eight horses & probably as many volunteers were signed up to attend the clinic today. One young colt wasn't quite feeling 100% today so his owner opted not to proceed, holding off a few weeks to get back up to par but that still left several others and I'm proud to say SEVEN new Geldings were sent back into the community.

Dr's Linda Hagerman & Meg deGravelles donated the use of their facility & friendly staff members, Nicole & Karen while King Feed donated straw for stall bedding & their pharmacy suppliers donated post-op medications. A whole legion of volunteers showed up and the process went very well, I'd say.

My job was to organize the intake paperwork and make sure that everything was signed plus any other support duties that might need to be done, like counting out pills.  I think I got the easiest job while most of my co-volunteers were outside in the stalls, typically with a leg in-hand during the procedure. I stepped out several times to watch the happenings but happily popped back in the toasty office to thaw. The sun was shinning but it was CHILLLLLLY out there!

All of the owners were very nice and extremely grateful for the affordable service and I'd say it got to folks who needed it. One brought us salmon spread and hand made soaps as a "Thank You"...and the gesture was very much appreciated and unexpected.

Yummm! Thanks Juliane :)

Another unexpected surprise was a McDonalds Sugar-free iced coffee for me when Juliane Hanley of Cowgirl Spirit Rescue Drill Team showed up (knowing I have a *slight* addiction to them). She was bringing in Cherokee, a black & white Paint that she saved at the auction in August. This clinic was just the right timing for her to get this already sweet guy the procedure that would give a better opportunity to find a good home. Stallions just don't re-home as well as geldings & mares! Interestingly enough, Nicole from Tacoma Equine had just been saying that she could be in the market for a well mannered horse like a Quarter Horse or a Paint...and after she came out to admire him I mentioned that he might likely be up for adoption sometime in the near future...her eyes lit up! We'll all cross our fingers that some magic may have happened today...or at least that he gets some attention which is what so many of the rescue horses need...just to be noticed.

Getting a pre-op pep talk

Cherokee actually did extremely well before, during and after his procedure. But even the most experienced owners are concerned about their equine friends going under & Juliane clearly wanted what's best for him & there for him every step of the way...

For Cherokee's baby book....awwww!
  His procedure went well and his recovery appeared pretty easy.

It took a whole team to get him into position once he went down

At least the sun came out and it *looked* like a summer day ...but it sure didn't feel like it!

Starting to perk up a little bit
He & Juliane had some together time before Dr. Linda gave him his last check before releasing him to go home

I went through this process with Basil but it certainly was not on the scale of today's adventure in gelding. I did learn the name of the tool used to..uh...make the cut....The Emasulator ...I'm not kidding....that's really what it's called....

Lisa demonstrates the delicate nature of the Emasculator
While talking to the staff, I learned that there was a waiting list for both horses and volunteers and that they'd like to do this again if they can get sponsors to help cover the costs. I was thinking that it would be great to have several vet practices rotate months in various areas so that many owners could take advantage of the opportunity. Perhaps then each practice might only have to host one of these clinics once or twice a year. What an amazing way to give back to the equine community and to be a part of the solution to the horse over-population problem. I know I'd be up to help at future clinics and I think most folks who helped today would too.

We hear over & over to end on an "Up Note" when working with horses and I'd have to say this was one such Up end the year with such a positive message and don't see this stuff in Time Square!

So my husband is waiting for me to finish so we can celebrate the new year with our parrot head friends but I wanted to share this one last great adventure in my incredible horse year with you. I hope everyone can reflect on 2010 and find times that you'll always want to remember...and that tomorrow finds you in 2011 with renewed hope.

Happy New Year everyone!!

1/1/11 eta: Here's a write up on the clinic in the Tacoma News Tribune!


  1. Good pics from a very interesting Day. Really glad for the Rescues to have a better chance for a new home.

  2. have to know that I looked at that Black & White Paint,Cherokee, and thought of you guys!!! Juliane is a wonderful horsewoman and every horse that has come out of her program is amazing. Y'all might want to keep on eye on this one!

  3. Thanks for writing an awesome post about the clinic Jet! We were glad to have the help of such wonderful volunteers. It's doing things like this - helping horses and their owners- that makes my job worth doing! - Karen, Vet Asst @ Tacoma Equine

  4. Oh...Karen#2, THANK you for including us...we had a meeting yesterday with the SAFE admin group and we have exciting news! It appears that SAFE would be VERY interested in sponsoring a clinic with Tacoma Equine. Let's keep in touch & make that happen!! :)

  5. Absolutely! I think that a pairing with SAFE to do more clinics would be great. There is definitely a need out there and I think that if we can continue to provide this service, we will make a difference.