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Hay bills putting financial pressure on Montreal-area horse rescue

Click to play video: '‘Hay-flation’ is hitting horse recue west of Montreal'
‘Hay-flation’ is hitting horse recue west of Montreal
WATCH: A Horse Tale rescue in Vaudreuil needs some help with its food bills. After weather conditions put a damper on last year's hay season, the organization was forced to look further afield to replenish its supply. And as Global's Felicia Parrillo reports, that cost them a pretty penny that they didn't budget for. – Feb 20, 2024

Sunny is a pretty serious horse.

His owners joke that he always looks like he’s on guard — probably because he’s retired from a long stint with the Montreal police.

He now lives at A Horse Tale rescue in Vaudreuil, a refuge for horses who are retired or need rehabilitation, or simply a new home.

“We have calèche horses from downtown Montreal. We’ve had about 16 over the years; there are three that are still with us,” said Mike Grenier, executive director of A Horse Tale. “We have three from the Montreal SPVM that are retired that are with us, and some other horses from various backgrounds.

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The rescue is home to a total of 13 horses. They all have their own space, and of course, their own food.

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Hay makes up 95 per cent of their diet, and between all of them, they go through a lot.

“They eat between 350 and 400 pounds of hay,” said Caroline Handy, the rescue’s barn manager. “It’s a lot. If it’s really cold, they need more hay to keep them warm as well. And so sometimes we go over 400 pounds in a day.”

Usually, the rescue gets its hay from a farmer next door.

But difficult weather conditions last year made it impossible for it to produce enough hay for the rescue.

“We were kind of at a crisis,” Grenier said. “We needed to find hay, and finding hay in the winter, we can’t go to Walmart to buy it. It’s certain suppliers. We found someone outside of Hawkesbury who was able to deliver it.”

Last week, the rescue bought 70,000 pounds of hay, which cost $10,000.

But that will only last them until June.

“We weren’t budgeting for it, so we weren’t expecting that,” Grenier said.

Grenier says the extra cost of hay has put a financial strain on the rescue.

They’re hoping for some help from the community so that they can keep providing a good home for the horses, with lots and lots of hay.

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