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Financial strain at Quebec horse rescue after poor hay season

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A Horse Tale rescue in Vaudreuil is in need of help after a poor hay season caused their food bills to skyrocket.

The rescue, which gives horses a second life after they are retired or surrendered, is home to 13 horses who need three meals a day.

Ninety per cent of a horse's diet is hay, and they eat a lot of it, according to barn manager Caroline Handy.

"They probably go through close to 350 to 400 pounds of hay in one day. Half of them are draft horses and the amount of hay they eat is based on their weight," she told CTV News.

The rescue has nearly 100 volunteers who divvy up the tasks of weighing the hay and feeding the horses.

Executive director Mike Grenier says that normally the rescue sources hay from local farmers, but a dry spring and soggy summer hurt hay yields, forcing them to go further afield.

"We've been at the mercy of changing weather conditions and weather patterns. Last year was a pretty bad year for hay," he said. "The fields didn't produce what they were supposed to."

In order to get to the next growing season, they had to purchase $10,000 of hay -- money they didn't have in their budget.

Grenier says they need help so they can keep providing a good home for horses and also continue their experiential programs, which offer "horse therapy" to people who have undergone trauma or mental challenges.

"They are very calming," Grenier said. "They accept you for who you are."

Handy says that's what attracts so many volunteers to the rescue.

"They are amazing. They listen to your soul," she explained. "They heal."

To get in touch with A Horse Tale, click here.  

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