Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

December 29, 2007

Hay prices affect riding horse sales

TOPEKA, Ind. — When it comes to the status of the local horse trade business, the phrase “all work and no play” has taken on a whole new meaning.

According to Dallas Martin, longtime manager of the Topeka Livestock Auction, while sales of work horses remained fairly strong for 2007, sales of pleasure and riding horses have been experiencing a rather dramatic drop-off.

“The riding horses are selling really cheap,” Martin said. “It costs so much to keep them these days that a lot of people have stopped buying them.

“The economy is just not as good as it was, and people just don’t have the extra money to spend on pleasure horses,” he said.

Martin indicated that one of the main reasons behind that big drop-off is the skyrocketing cost of hay, a staple food for horses especially during the winter months.

“The hay prices have caused a lot of the prices of pleasure horses to decline,” Martin said, noting that a widespread freeze in early April of this year coupled with the ensuing summer drought played havoc with the nation’s hay supply.

“A lot of guys barely got a first cutting this year, and didn’t get anything at all on the second due to the summer drought. With that lack of supply, the cost shot up, and it’s pretty much that way all across the country,” he said.

While the drop-off of pleasure horse prices may not be in the best interests of breeders, Martin said that for those in the market to buy a pleasure horse, the time couldn’t be better.

“This would definitely be the time to buy one if you want to buy a pleasure horse,” Martin said.

On a more positive note, Martin said that sales of draft and work horses, especially the fancier hitch horses, have remained strong over the course of the year.

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