Meeting At Horse Park Seeks Solutions To Hay Shortage

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The current overwhelming need for horse rescues came as a result of what Kentucky Horse Council Board President Madelyn Millard calls the perfect storm.

Millard says, "We started with a late freeze last spring that destroyed the first part of the hay crop. Then we went into a drought, we have a depressed economy, fuel prices that are astronomical and corn that's being used in Ethanol now rather that in feed for horses so all that has combined to create the problem."

In Lincoln County, a number of horses in various stages of neglect have been confiscated by the Humane Society. That organization's Kathy Mitchum showed us one of those horses which she described as "in pretty poor shape. She's almost nothing but bones, and if we have another drought this summer, it's going to be worse."

Mitchum says a lot of farmers are doing the best they can but because of the problems with finding affordable hay and people not being able to pay their boarding bills, apparently some farm owners just can't keep up.

Panel members at Tuesday's meeting split up into small groups to try to answer some basic questions like what else can be done to alleviate the crisis in both the short term and the long term.

Madelyn Millard says, "Nobody wants to think about a horse not having a quality life. Horses are the signature animal for the Commonwealth of Kentucky."

And many in the state are willing to go to great lengths to same them. One man at the meeting said he and his wife spend about $50,000 a year adopting horses and finding them new homes.

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