Beginning today, this blog will begin to shed light on the serious drought conditions affecting horses and humans all over the world. I have hinted at this in many posts, or mentioned drought conditions when they make headlines, but the individual small stories together make for a compelling tale. Sooner or later, drought conditions in some or all of the world will affect us all, and our horses.
Whether it is an aberrant weather pattern in Africa affecting the formation of hurricanes in the Atlantic, or lack of snowpack in the high Rockies affecting the price of hay and grain, or Australian horses reduced to eating shredded cardboard, it is time for us to start thinking globally…and helping people and horses in need.
Last year, I wrote in EQUUS about the drought in Africa activating anthrax spores in the soil, which lead to the deaths of many endangered zebras. That could happen in other parts of the world as well.
One of the few good things to say about drought is that it keeps the mosquito population down, and horseowners in the Southeast and Far West may have slightly less concern about mosquito-borne diseases this season. Small consolation!
We have another building crisis on the horizon, which is the potential for a shortage of grain and hay in the USA from the combined threats of drought, high fuel prices, and the transition of hay fields across the country to corn for use in ethanol production. The recent scare over suspect feed additives from China was no coincidence: as domestic grain crops diminish or skyrocket in price, our feed and supplement manufacturers will be more and more dependent on Asian sources. I will try to keep you linked to stories on those issues, as well.
Needless to say, if you live in an area directly affected by drought, or have thoughts on how drought affects horses, please email me or click on the comments link at the end of your post to add your thoughts.
I hope you will take these drought posts to heart and realize the interconnectedness of all things equine, all around the world. May your water buckets be full and your paddocks green.