Horses to be sold due to drought

Pinto Valley Ranch west of Ottawa says it will have to sell half its herd of almost 50 horses due to the high cost of hay caused by the summer drought.

Pinto Valley Ranch to sell half its herd of 48 horses, it says

Ontario agriculture officials to go to province for help after tour of farms affected by drought. 1:44

The drought is affecting more than just farms, as a popular riding stable west of Ottawa says it will have to sell half its horses.

Pinto Valley Ranch near Fitzroy Harbour currently has a herd of 48 horses.

They normally feed the horses hay but the pastures are dry and bare, despite the recent rain.

Owner Ben Jardine says hay has become more scarce and expensive as the summer has gone on. Now they can't afford to feed the horses through the winter and he has to choose which ones he will sell.

"My wife cries just selling one, so I couldn't imagine selling 25. She'll be devastated," said Jardine. "It's quite an emotional day."

Jardine's father-in-law agreed the couple was in a dire spot and had little choice but to sell the horses.

But Ernie Smith, who owns the local livestock auction barn, said it is tough to bounce back once you sell.

"I think it's going to be the right thing to do," Smith said. "But once they're gone, it's hard to get them, hard to get well-broke horses now. There's just not the cowboys in this country we used to have."

Selling livestock is not as easy as it sounds, either. Those who buy the horses face similar problems due to the cost you face to feed them.

Farmers and livestock owners continue to hope for rain to save some of the pastures, but it could be too late in the season.