Thousands of Unwanted Horses Are Dying of Drought-Related Causes
Horses require lots of water, and growing the food they eat requires lots of water. It is, therefore, no wonder that as the drought progresses, the plight of horses is getting worse by the day.
Horses are among the hardest hit victims of the drought. Although a number of private aid agencies for horses are working to save them, the outlook isn’t good.
While precise figures are hard to come by, rough estimates from the Unwanted Horse Coalition, an alliance of equine organizations based in Washington, puts the number of unwanted horses — those given up on by their owners for whatever reasons — at 170,000 to 180,000 nationwide. This figure is at best a guess because in areas where large populations of wild horses roam, such as on tribal lands, it is simply too costly to do a head count.
Hay, the mainstay for feeding a horse, costs many times what it did a few years ago, so many people who have managed in the past to feed a horse or two are now unable to because of hay prices. A 60 lb. bale of hay, which feeds a horse for about 3 days, now costs $8 to $12 a pound.