On this warm and sunny mid-winter day these horses look a bit lean but their owner, Kimberley Anderson says they are healthy. She admits to feeding them less hay than last year due the rising, high cost. But to a concerned passerby the horses looked like they were starving. It wasn't long before the SPCA and a Fresno County Sheriff came knocking.
"I'm just proving to them that I do in fact care about these horses, they are my pets," said Anderson. "That I have taken very good care of them for seven years. This is just in a one short period of a rough patch."
An older horse was put down by Anderson's vet and she agreed to somehow buy more hay for her 16 remaining rescue horses. "I have plans to plant teff in my pasture for production so I'll produce about 74 tons of teff hay for winter-time."
While authorities can monitor situations like this one, they can't lower the cost of hay. It has nearly tripled in the past three years. Anderson isn't the only horse owner struggling to meet the cost. The cause is a matter of supply and demand across the globe.
"One of the reasons is the drought in Texas so were shipping a lot of hay out of California to Texas," said Chris Smith with Clovis Feed. "And the other is we're a lot of hay to Japan, China... so that brings the price up to the horse folks and dairymen."
The Valley and the world are now paying the same market price, $300.00 and up a ton, a big jump from $150.00 just three years ago. For Kim Anderson, that fact has her praying for a miracle. "Help for my horses on their behalf to keep them in their home."
All the love in the world won't keep these animals fed but Kim Anderson is determined to do right by the horses she rescued over the past seven years.