Horse owners see a bleak winter ahead. They're concerned about rising hay prices, as well as animal neglect and abandonment.
Both owners and animal rescue groups blame the drought, which
wiped out hay crops across the South and affected pasture land that
horses would normally graze through November.
Farmers say hay costs have risen from a few dollars for a square
bale to more than $7.50. They also say the price for a larger round
bale that sold for $20.00 to $30.00 has doubled. Transportation
costs also have gone up.
Cattle farmers also are facing a difficult winter because of hay
shortages, though they can more easily sell their livestock to
slaughter houses. That practice is banned for horses.
Also, while cattle can eat more types of feed, horse owners have
to be careful because their animals could die if they're given the
wrong feed or their feed is switched.