Cowboy Poor Arizonans

Only in Phoenix… four bales of hay, $75! Good grief, I understand the choice to be horse poor, giving up a little a lot to have one is worth it. But horse broke is a different story! If you’re wondering how much hay one full size idle horse consumes, it’s about 1 1/2 bales a week.

I’ve been seeing big changes in the horse industry here. Prices of feed are way up… and the selling prices of horses are way down. Boarding stables are standing empty and many are for sale… real cheap.

This morning there are 1,741 local ads on Craigslist listed in farm & garden, mostly horses and horse trailers. It would be a piece of cake buying a nice quality broke trail horse for $1,000 or less. That’s the easy part, but the buck doesn’t stop there. Shoeing prices are now $100+ for a full set and $90 for front only, and that’s every 6 weeks. Then, be prepared to spend another couple of hundred dollars a year on vaccines, wormer, fly spray, etc. etc. Then there’s the boarding expense.

Boarding stables are charging on the average $275 -$350+ a month. That price offers little to no profit at all to the stable owner if they have hired help for stall cleaning.  I found many ads offering a free pen to boarders in exchange for cleaning 10 or more stalls daily. That’s great if you have an extra two hours a day, but most horse owners work and would still like to have time to ride.

Even a small stable like TBN Ranch can’t fill all our pens and make a profit. Actually, it would cost us money. Between hay prices, manure removal, and water…  I would have to charge my boarders way too much money.

So here we are, only a few horses, a beautiful shedrow barn and it’s 1/2 empty. Ten years ago it was full, and I charged $150 a month including hay… when it was $7 bucks a bale.

Cowboy times are changing, and that’s for dang sure.

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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21 Responses to Cowboy Poor Arizonans

  1. Juli says:

    Has anyone been looking into one of those fodder systems? The kinds where you basically grow your own fresh grass hydroponically? I have friends who are doing it and they LOVE it. Healthy for the horses, their not dependent on anyone else and much less expensive. One friend in particular no longer feds grain. There are so many antioxidants in what she’s growing she doesn’t need to. I’m aware there are some ranchers across the US who simply canNOT remain in business if they weren’t using a fodder system.

  2. bkbaucum says:

    I’m in West Texas and coastal is $12 for a two string bale here, I lucked out and the refinery I work for has pivots across the road from us that use our cleaned discharge water to irrigate a hay field. They even pay a farmer to come cut and bale it in round bales. Anyway I talked to the superintendent over that area and was granted permission to get it for free as long as it was for my personal use. I’m praying for some decent rains here this year but so far it’s not promising.

    • tbnranch says:

      Rain? ha ha what’s that? Nice plan I hope it works out for you! I just bought hay and yikes! $18.00, I thought I’d stretch it by buying hay pellets… those are up to $18.99 for 80lbs. Oh brother, just can’t win I guess. Go with the flow… what else can you do right?

      • bkbaucum says:

        Right. A bag of just plain ole cleaned corn here is $12. And my 16% hog grower feed is $12.55. Although I’m fixing to finish up my hot wire on their larger pen on my next days off so maybe they can root up some bugs and roots to snack on, but I seriously doubt it helps their feed bill much.

      • tbnranch says:

        Ordering feed today… I’m dreading it.

  3. Linda says:

    Time to form individual co-ops with family, friends and neighbors to help one another during these financially tight times. Maybe someone has a strong back to buck that bale while someone else can fill water troughs, muck stalls and make horse treats for all to share. THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX!!! We recycle, share and buy at discount or used when possible. We need to work together to survive. Remember–one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!

  4. mamasheri says:

    It’s a sad situation. Seems like it just moves around, like a wanderer. And if it’s not horses it’s cows or sheep or goats. Just sad

  5. Rita A. says:

    So sad. The state of our world filters down in so many ways. Everything is threatened but I feel for the horses and their owners.

  6. Patty B says:

    That is very sad indeed. My fear is what is happening to the horses that people are unable to sell. Here in PA it is our dairy farmers that are suffering, I am sure our chicken farms as well since I have not seen the price of eggs go up too much. The government controls the diary prices so as prices continue to go up the milk price doesn’t leaving many dairy farmers selling their stock. I for one would not mind paying more for milk, if I knew it was going to the dairy farmer, but it doesn’t it.

    • tbnranch says:

      Thanks for sharing, I’d like to know more about this. I figured the Government hand it’s hand in there somewhere. Maybe chicken feed wouldn’t be so high if corm wasn’t been grown for ethanol?

  7. shadowlilies says:

    So sad…I really hope things turn around for you. You have a really nice place!

  8. I wonder what it would cost to truck hay from the east (Ohio, WV etc) if you rented your own rig. You could sell the extra?

    • tbnranch says:

      I have a feeling it’s being done. Been getting emails from truckers wanting to sell hay off the truck from parts unknown. Not that much cheaper, but a little. Problem is you have to buy no less than a squeeze.

  9. Feed prices have rocketed here in the UK too. We just have hens and have seen the price of layers pellets go up £2.00 a bag over 2 years, but no one wants to pay more for eggs!!

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