“Jules,” a 26-year-old mare, has about 10 days to live.
The former show horse worked to the bone until she found a loving home at Cranberry Sunset Farm on Cape Cod is a victim of inflation, the pandemic and the obsession with weed.
“Jules has respiratory issues, and I need something to get her through this crisis,” said farm director and founder Leslie Ballotti. “I’ve never felt so uneasy about my horses.”
The farm in Marstons Mills has 30 old horses that are used for therapy to help youngsters with autism, developmental disabilities or who have been abused. There’s just something soothing, the kids say, about riding or caring for the majestic nags.
But Jules — like so many others during the coronavirus pandemic — has trouble breathing. Her medicine has jumped in price and can’t even be found in some instances. She needs Glyprolate, Ventipulmin or some types of steroids to help keep her airways open.
Then there’s the hay shortage. The horses need to eat, a lot, and farmers have turned to growing marijuana because it’s more lucrative. Add on the price of diesel to transport the hay from Ohio, and you have a lot of restless mounts.
“Everyone’s scrounging around for hay,” Ballotti told the Herald. “It costs $15 a horse per day to feed them hay and grain.
“It’s been a wake-up call for me. I never thought inflation would be this bad,” she added. “Grocery shopping is one thing, but these are horses.”
Ballotti said she feels somewhat guilty worrying about the bills with what’s going on in Ukraine and around the world. Plus, she added, she lives on a “beautiful farm” surrounded by regal animals who delight kids who need to smile.
“But I can’t find this medicine. I don’t want to put Jules down, but I don’t know what else I can do,” she said. “I’ve called 400 vets trying to get these everyday supplies.”
Consumer prices have jumped 8.3% nationally last month from a year ago. Plus, the price of fuel has hit an all-time high.
Regular gas prices in Massachusetts surged to a record-high average of $4.39 per gallon early this week — which was up 18 cents from last week. The state’s average gas price is 7 cents higher than the national average.
Diesel fuel is also hitting a record high every day, now reaching a staggering $6.27 per gallon average in the Bay State.
Pre-tax cannabis sales data also shows weed has become more popular during the COVID crisis. In Massachusetts, pot sales have grown past $2 billion.
But, as the Cape farm states, horses “quickly sense a person’s attitude, feelings and response” and “must be astute observers of their surroundings.” This probably means they’re feeling the strains of inflation.