Feed and Fuel Costs Rising, Horse Owners Report

The costs of keeping horses have risen for the majority of owners in the last three years, with those in the southeast and south central United States being the hardest hit by escalating feed and fuel prices.

The findings are part of the American Horse Publications nationwide online survey, conducted from October 15, 2009 to January 31, 2010, which resulted in more than 11,000 responses. The survey is the largest ever of its kind for the United States.

Nearly three-quarters of respondents reported they are spending more money per horse now than in 2007. Almost 75% say it is feed that has become more expensive, while more than half say fuel costs have increased. Nearly half say that veterinary costs have also risen.

Those from the south central and southeastern states were more likely to say that feed costs had risen than any other respondents, and 55% of those in the south central states say fuel costs have risen.

According to Morgan Silver, executive director and founder of the Horse Protection Association of Florida, owners in Florida already pay about five times more than the rest of the country for feed because it has to be shipped into the area. The rising cost of fuel merely exacerbated the already steep prices. In just the last year, Silver says the price she pays for a 50 pound bag of senior horse feed has upped $2, from $17 to $19.

"Since the summer of 2008 when gas prices shot up, we've seen a big increase of people calling saying that they can't afford to keep their horses," she said.

About the Author

Liz Brown

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