One of the things that’s unique about practicing veterinary medicine on an island is the fact that often, there is no one to refer to except yourself! For instance, this weekend, I spent my Saturday afternoon, gelding (castrating) stallions for a local horse rescue organization on St. Croix. As a small animal veterinarian, I do not see equine patients as a matter of course and gelding is certainly not a service that I routinely provide.
Unfortunately, we do not currently have a horse vet on the island and we do have a horse overpopulation issue- with many horses being tied in the bushes by the side of the road or left to roam wild…breeding…and not being cared for properly. Stallions or un-neutered male horses can be very wild and dangerous to handle. And while many of the young kids on the island think they are cool to ‘race’ in the bush…they soon learn, that they cannot handle these horses and then abandon them to fend for themselves.
My nonprofit Sunshine Foundation (www.sunshinefoundationstsx.org) has teamed up with Cruzan Cowgirls Horse Rescue- the only horse focused rescue organization on St. Croix- to start a gelding program in order to reduce the number of stray horses on the island and to educate the community about the need for gelding. Male horses that have been gelded are much easier to ride and make better companions as well as racing horses.
Pictured here with me is Dragon, one of the 5 horses that we gelded through the Sunshine Foundation low-cost gelding program on Saturday. Dragon has a special place in my heart as he survived a near-fatal injury early in life and has been a favorite patient of mine ever since.
Saturday, though hot and challenging, was a successful and rewarding day! Sometimes, stepping out of your comfort zone, allows you to experience things you never imagined possible.
If you would like to make a donation to help us win the race to stop pet overpopulation in its tracks visit our website at http://www.sunshinefoundationstx.org.