The little matter of hay …

Hay

This week I received an email from the barn owner where Bear is boarded which noted that, for the foreseeable future, boarders will be charged a $30 per month hay surcharge.

Several factors, including last year’s drought and a drop in hay acreage, have contributed to the doubling of hay prices in recent months. ie. a round bale that cost $40 this time last year is now over $100. For some horse and barn owners this will be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back on whether or not they can continue their stewardship of the horse.

Make no mistake, this is a serious situation. Already many horses in Canada, the U.S. and beyond have been abandoned, or prematurely sent to slaughter or euthanized simply because the cost of their upkeep has risen beyond their owner’s means.

It’s a fact of life. Good quality hay is a staple of the horse’s diet, so we must either pay what the market demands (even when greed becomes a factor which, some would say, it has) or, if we cannot, be forced into the unpleasant alternative.

Thankfully, Bear will be okay. Our barn manager is resourceful and we can manage the extra cost while being mindful of our budget. We have been assured that once the hay shortage has passed and prices correct themselves the surcharge will be dropped and board bills will be adjusted accordingly. When this might happen is anybody’s guess, of course.

Having said this, if it happened that I was ever unable to properly provide for my beautiful horse and there was no other in whom I could trust to see properly to his needs, I would be put in the very difficult position of having to decide whether or not to euthanize him. It doesn’t even bear thinking about. 😦

I agree with French author and aviator, Antoine de Saint Exupery, when he wrote in his delightful book The Little Prince, ” … we are responsible forever for the things that we tame.” To me abandoning Bear would be like abandoning a child. I could not even consider it. So, to me the only viable alternative would be to ensure he does not suffer.

I am confident I won’t need to do anything quite this drastic. In my mind I see Bear living to a ripe old age where, when the time reveals itself, I may need to assist him to that plentiful pasture in heaven. My preference, of course, would be that he gently meet his eternal rest while out in the paddock happily eating hay. 😉

Winter hay

Now, lest you think high hay prices only effect horse owners, you may wish to reconsider.

Cattle operations are in the same boat. In fact, anyone raising large animals and who relies on hay as a major source of fodder is feeling the sting of this shortage.

As a result, all of us can expect to pay more for food in the coming year. It cannot be avoided.

So really, I guess I’m simply giving you a heads-up.

Pray for a healthy dose of rain this year so we may all eat heartily.

Nurture what you love …

Dorothy 🙂
Horse Mom

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