It never ceases to amaze me what you can learn in a local bar. Yesterday, Chris and I headed to The Hills for the day...he had a business meeting and I had some running around to do...on the way home we stopped at our favorite little bar...
It's just a little bar in the middle of nowhere. It's amazing the people you will find there.
And the conversations that get started...
Without fail, the weather will be discussed.
And of course, horses...
Now I am always a little hesitant to bring up the subject of the current horse market because I hate getting into the slaughter debate. But a few tomato beers into the conversation, it is inevitable that the subject turns from wondering what the cattle market is going to do in this tough economy to the inevitable discussion of what the hell are people around here going to do with all of the horses in this country now that the market is bust and the U.S. slaughter plants are closed.
Now as horse people, we know that just because the U.S. slaughter plants are closed, doesn't mean that horses aren't going to slaughter...but it certainly has changed just how easy it is for some people to make unwanted horses disappear. And without a doubt the profitability of disposing of said unwanted horse is gone.
I was a little surprised to hear a couple of other rancher's chime in with me that the whole "breeding thing" had just completely gotten out of hand. One gentleman put it quite eloquently..."It was to the point that there were too many horses in this country anyway. It didn't matter whether there is a U.S. slaughter plant open or not, horses weren't worth what they used to be anyway. It wasn't the closing of the slaughter plants that killed the value of horses for riding or horsemeat, it was the crashing economy and flood of horses that people couldn't afford anymore."
Huh?? Come to think of it, I am in total agreement with this old cowboy who probably hasn't been more than 150 miles from home in the last decade or so. It's amazing how smart some of these old guys are about things.
The most surprising thing I learned is that a local ranch has sold the last of it's buffalo and will be taking in 700 head of wild mustangs. The government will pay them $38 a head PER MONTH to let those horses live out the rest of their natural life on this ranch. I was dumbfounded!!
I am also curious! The first thing I thought of was all of those horses that Madeline Picken adopted and is working on placing. Are these horses part of that deal? Is it the Picken's that will be picking up the tab or will it be the government? Or I guess I should say us...the tax-paying citizens of the U.S.
Well, I am off to do some research...before I praise or condemn this, I guess I better know what the heck I am talking about. One thing about it...that ranch is going to make bank. You sure as hell cannot make that kind of money on cattle...or even buffalo. Stay tuned...