As many of you know, Jennifer Purcell was the Director of the Unwanted Horse Coalition since March of 2015. Jennifer brought a wealth of experience from the equine rescue segment as well as the education world- she was a college professor for several years!
Her experience allowed the UHC to create a number of educational tools and allowed its signature program "Operation Gelding" to gain greater traction by expanding the reimbursement amount to $100 per horse, and creating a Voucher Program that has already gelded over 200 horses since January!
Unfortunately, Jennifer chose to leave the UHC at the end of May to pursue other interests, and I took over the reins of the UHC from her back in June. "I" being Ashley Furst, the current Director of Communications for the American Horse Council (AHC). I've worked at the AHC since 2011, and have filled in as Interim Director of the UHC three times when we were in between staff. I have a Master's Degree in Marketing with a focus in Communications from Johns Hopkins University. Additionally, I have an extensive background in horses- I showed hunter/jumper competitively all throughout my "junior" years (up until the age of 18), and for several years as an amateur.
At the recent UHC Annual Meeting during the American Horse Council's Annual Meeting & National Issues Forum, UHC members took a hard look at what the UHC had accomplished since its inception, and where we want to go from here. We asked ourselves a series of questions:
During this discussion, a consensus was reached that Operation Gelding is still the "pinnacle" program for the UHC, and that the creation of the voucher program has been invaluable to the rescues and individuals that rescue horses that need to be gelded. The decision was easily made to continue this program, and work on funding it at a higher level- Why stop a good thing right?!
The next steps for the UHC were not as obvious- changing the name of an organization certainly isn't easy; what new programs or educational materials can we put out to continue to elevate the UHC as an organization and establish its programs as a leader in the industry?
In the next couple months, some changes may be made at the UHC to help us achieve more and make a larger impact. Stay tuned for updates, and if you have any suggestions, please feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo below of Ashley, and her horse "Marcel" from her showing days!