Horse Rescue’s Hay Supply Suffering After Severe Summer Drought

HUMBOLDT, S.D.- The drought felt across the Dakotas this past summer had a severe impact on ranchers and farmers but it also affected other ag-industries, including one horse rescue in Humboldt.

The Gentle Spirit Horses Rescue and Sanctuary is now dealing with the after-effects of the drought that left them with dried up pastures and a limited hay supply.

“As of right now, with the hay that I have, on hand, we are good until about January,” said Nina Ring of Gentle Spirit Horses Rescue & Sanctuary.

With upwards of forty mouths to feed, hay is in high demand at Gentle Spirit Horses Rescue and Sanctuary.

“They eat about 30 pounds of hay a day so when you add that up, it gets to be a lot. We go through about 100 tons of hay every winter with the horses that we feed.”

This winter is going to be a bit more difficult than those past, after the severe summer drought dried up pastures and forced the rescue to start hay feeding about two month early.

“So the hay that we had stockpiled for the winter is not going to make it, we’re not going to get through the winter with the hay that we have.”

The rescue has been forced stopped taking in new horses, however they’ve still found themselves with an uncomfortably high number of extra mouths to feed.

“A lot of our horses that were in foster have come back from foster because our fosters have their own horses to feed, and we don’t want our horses to have a drain on them. As well as adoptions have slowed down, so horses that we would have normally adopted out by this time have stayed with us because people don’t have the money for hay.”

More emergency hay is on the way, but there is not enough cash on hand to cover the payment upfront.

The non-profit is hoping an online donation page and a horse calendar sale will help to generate the extra money needed before this hay runs out.

“That’s hopefully not going to happen. We will have our hay on hand, we will not let our horses starve, but it could get very tight for the rescue.”

The rescue is hoping this winter will be a wetter one, leading into a mild spring to help the pastures bounce back from the drought.

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