By Don Blazer

        AQHA just released the results of a survey the association did on what is termed a "downturn" in the economy.  Summary of the survey: all negatives; one complaint after another about the increasing cost of everything related to horses except the "never increasing" selling price.

        Well, complainers, thank you very much….you've gotten exactly what you've asked for.

        If the cost of hay has soared, don't blame the drought.  There are always droughts somewhere…just as there is always plenty of rain somewhere else.   The cost of hay is up because the cost of transport is up, the cost of land is up, the cost of labor is up, the cost of store rental, taxes and insurance are up.

       You can't ship hay without paying for fuel, and the cost of fuel is up because we are extravagant wasters.  The complainers are driving over-powered, over-hyped, over-rated trucks and SUVs.   But they aren't complaining about that; they're bragging on it.  They can't afford to feed the horse, but they can feed their ego.

        Land and home prices are plummeting as the credit crunch catches up to those who thought there was a way to get something for nothing.   You have to pay for what you get, so if you can't pay the price of horse ownership, don't get a horse.  (Unfortunately those who didn't "over-buy" are going to have to pay for those who did in the form of government bailouts.)

        Local tack and feed stores are struggling to make a profit, while the big lot purchasers (who never have in stock what you need) are getting property tax breaks from city, county and federal government….the biggest money wasters of all.  But no one is complaining; they're just asking for more government services.

         AQHA, an association established to preserve the breed, is now so focused sponsorships, big events, merchandise and image, that it forces horse owners to "join" in order to "transfer ownership records."   A service fee for the administrative costs is one thing…forced membership is another.

        Has the cost of horse ownership gone up more than the costs of other things?

        Has the cost of horse ownership soared with housing prices, truck and car prices, gasoline and diesel prices, cell phones and flat screen HD television?

        Face the facts…if you're complaining about the cost of horse ownership, you can do something about it. 
        Don't own a horse…that's an option.

        Now according to some who responded to AQHA's survey, horses are being sold for as little as $5 per head, or being turned loose on government owned land, which is supposed to prove there are a lot of unwanted horses. 

         Well, there are unwanted horses, but it's the complainers who caused it, breeding low quality stock, approving AI and shipped seamen, registering and encouraging the breeding of anything and everything, closing slaughter plants and having no plan for the care and future of the horse.

        Horse rescue operations are even a contributor to the unwanted horse problem.  Once a charity is started, it will be overrun by "welfare" cases.  Horse rescues are going to have to change their thinking--remove the emotion, and add responsibility--if they are going to help horses.

        And the price of horses isn't down…it's the same as it always is.

         I just attended two major horse auctions.  Good horses sold for good prices and the purchasers were not complaining about the cost of horse ownership.

        The horses that sold cheap, were cheap, and will probably suffer at the hands of the complainers who are creating just what they are complaining about.

        If you really want to help horses, it's time to stop complain' and start doin'.

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