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September 07, 2012 09:50 PM

High Cost Of Hay Forces Horse Sales

Sioux Falls, SD

You've heard about economic toll the drought is taking on our area and it's also affecting horse owners.
The price of hay has shot up so high many horse owners can't afford to feed their animals and are selling them off
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Lori Plucker loves her horses.  She owns 12 of them and also has a stallion to raise colts for a little extra income.

"Working with stallions is a whole different ball park because they really are an animal and that instinct is so much stronger in them than mare or gelding,” Plucker said. 

But Plucker has seen her income plummet as a glut of horses flood the market. 

"The colts, if I get $100 a piece, I'll be doing good.  They should be worth $500-$750.  The one mare is really well broke and she's a good kid’s horse and I'm hoping I can find a family, but even then she's not going to go for what she's worth. If I can get $500 for her that would be good," Plucker said.

She would have been able to fetch as much as $1,500 a couple of years ago.   Plucker is being forced to sell off some of her older horses because she can't afford to feed them.

"It's tough.  Last year, you could buy a square bale, which is like a 60-pound bale for about $2, $2.50 of grass hay.  This year, they're going for about $6, $6.50.  One horse will eat a half a bale a day, so that adds up to a pretty good sum per day," Plucker said.

And she had to feed her horses hay all summer because the pasture was dried up.  She says she just can't keep up with it and knows other horse owners are in the same boat. 

"You can tell the condition of horses isn’t what they used to be.  They're thin and need some food," Plucker said.

It's a vicious cycle; Plucker can't afford to feed them and she can't get much when she goes to sell them.

"It's quite a loss," Plucker said.

One check of the KELOLAND classifieds tells the story.  There are currently 250 ads for horses for sale.

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This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
A misspelling was corrected in this story.

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