Gas Prices Hit Barns, Too

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Among my favorite philosophers is Linus Van Pelt. His advice to ”never discuss religion, politics or the Great Pumpkin” is something I try to heed when deciding upon articles for each issue.

Most of us find our time with our horses the most relaxing of the day. It’s a chance to escape the demands and stresses of daily life, and we don’t want to think about the presidential race, war issues or the health-insurance crisis. When a reader tells me she picked up her latest copy of Horse Journal to enjoy during breakfast, I know we’re doing our job well.

But, when my husband returned home with a load of shavings and announced they’d gone up to $6.19 a bale, I realized there was no escaping the fact that one national crisis could no longer be avoided: rising gas prices. I had ignored the increase in oats a few months earlier, as they’d been the same price for quite some time and I blew it off as a normal turn of events. But it’s everywhere now, with prices going up faster than you can blink — and definitely faster than salaries. I shudder to think about this summer’s hay prices.

So, we’re going to face this issue head-on and work to bring you cost-cutting recommendations and economical solutions to everyday horse management. We’ll continue to increase our field trials of products to help you zero in on the best choices and the Best Buys. We’ll also look for ways to cut daily costs, starting in this issue. Our trials showed how stall deodorizers might help you reduce the amount of soiled bedding you toss out every day. The savings' Almost $100 a year.

We’ve sorted through vaccines again to help you decide what you actually need to give your horse and what you might want to avoid. Why give your horse a Rhino vaccine if he never leaves the farm and other horses aren’t moving in and out' His risk is low, yet many owners routinely pay for this vaccine every year. If you’re thinking about giving the injections yourselves, our advice will help you work with your vet to achieve this.

In upcoming issues, you’ll learn to look critically at what you’re feeding your horse and decide if some of the nutrients are simply being wasted. You may really only need one ingredient in that multi that you’re feeding. Plus, our next rating of feeds across the nation is shaping into a groundbreaking article.

We’ll help you decide if your horse truly needs to be wearing four shoes or if it’s just being done because everyone in the barn is doing it.

You’re probably already mapping out which shows to travel to and which to skip this year, and with good reason. But remember that the gas prices are going to affect every area of horse ownership, not just traveling, and our goal is to help you save money without sacrificing any of the enjoyment of owning horses.

Cynthia Foley