Arizona Hay Prices Force Change

Signs of Horse Owners Thinning the Herd 

Rio Verde, Arizona

The way I see it…

The price of hay has made an incredible impact on the horse industry across the Southwest. I recently listed a Palomino Quarter horse on Craig’s List and was shocked at the astounding selection of quality horses for sale.  Why?

Considering the low price of these horses, I’m inclined to think they have become a financial burden and are being sold as victims of hardship.  Here in Phoenix, alfalfa hay is selling on an average of $18.99 a bale, grains and supplements are also on the increase, making horse upkeep at an all time high.

Other Expenses on the Rise

I haven’t boarded at a horse facility in a long time, but I do stay on top of the current rates. Ten years ago it wasn’t hard to find a nice stable with the basic amenities for $175 per month. Today I’m seeing boarding prices soar to $350, with extra services such as blanketing, turn-outs, etc. easily adding another $50 to the monthly tab.

A visit from the shoer every 6 weeks takes another $90 – $125 bucks out of your pocket, then there’s worming 4 times a year, and at minimum, bi-annual vaccines. If that isn’t enough, it’s imperative to have ample savings for the unexpected vet bill. Horse owners often own more than one horse, especially if they own property, feeding them used to be affordable, now they’re  putting their owners in the poor house.

The Sad Truth

So am I surprised about all the horses for sale on Craig’s List?  Not in the least. We live in the Sonoran Desert, a territory where the majority of horses are completely dependent on baled hay to survive. What is surprising? That our home state of Arizona yields the highest hay productivity per acre in the NATION, and the locals can’t afford to feed their horses.

And Furthermore…

Five years ago the pretty Palomino I listed on Craig’s List would have sold for $5,000, solely for her bloodlines as a broodmare.  Presently, along with 67 other Palominos listed for sale,  I thanked my lucky stars,  and accepted a $2,000 offer.  Yes…  I said 67 Palominos! There are so many other horses for sale on Craig’s List, I can only guess the grand total is somewhere in the HUNDREDS.

amy elizabeth, TBN Ranch


About tbnranch

amy elizabeth, writer, author, antique dealer. Lives in the northeastern reaches of the Sonoran Desert on a small hobby farm.
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8 Responses to Arizona Hay Prices Force Change

  1. That’s so sad. When I was a kid, the first book I read was, The Golden Palomino. It must have been hard for you to let her go.

  2. Emilee says:

    I would like to correspond with you. About many things… but your comment about hay incensed me. I am from tennessee and totally agree with you. Too much to email. I think we could benefit each other. Our Hay is cheaper when we can get it. Maybe going overboard here with you, but as a horse lover, when the killer market died it killed the industry. Do you drive the back country and see undernourished horses? Me too.

  3. tbnranch says:

    Indeed, or worse, abandoning them, which is also happening.

  4. Very sad to hear that the hay prices continue to escalate. I imagine many of the sold horses, are going to people who may not be aware of how expensive maintenance and upkeep can be, and the horses may be sold again. Very sad for the horses as well as the owners.

  5. Good for you but how sad. Your hay is like our beef. We are the second largest producer of beef cattle in the nation yet we pay more for our beef than 3/4s of the nation. 1lb ground round is now between 5 to 7 dollars!

  6. Kate Kresse says:

    i sure do wish that the situation wasn’t like this for you. are any horse owners starting to grow their own alfalfa to combat the prices?

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