Heart of the Horse nonprofit in need of hay as prices rise

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The combination of drought conditions and inflation has sent hay prices soaring.

Costs have been going up over the past year, forcing many to get creative and that includes the folks at Heart of the Horse, a local non-profit that provides horse therapy to disabled youth and veterans.

Heart of the Horse Therapy Ranch is a calming place with a stable of 18 horses helping children and adults.

The non-profit has been around for 11 years but is facing one of its biggest challenges these days.

"With us right now, it's getting alfalfa to feed our horses," Heart of the Horse CEO Guy Adams said.

Adams says last year at this time, they were paying $11 a bale but those prices have more than doubled in 2022

"When it went up $20-$28 a bale, that kind of shot us in the foot. We go through 1500 bales a year."

The price hike is attributed to a couple of things

"Cost of diesel is one thing, but finding the water to grow the hay is not easy for these guys," Adams said.

Even with skyrocketing prices, just finding hay has become a big problem Adams says

"If there's any alfalfa growers out there, give us a call," he said. "Make us a deal. We're not asking for free, we want to pay for it. We just need it delivered here."

The ranch needs 1,000 more bales to keep the horses healthy and happy for the rest of the year while it continues to provide therapeutic riding for a number of families

"We do over 200 sessions per month with medically fragile children, that's not even counting the veterans for free," Adams said. "We've never charged anybody a dime."

What has made matters worse for the therapy ranch's budget is that it hasn't been able to hold its annual fundraisers since the pandemic started.

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