It's been a long day.
We got news today that one of our major granting sources is not able to fund us this coming year. While we hadn't *really* counted on it (you can't count on grants) ... in the back of my mind the fear of our hay fund being so low was eased some by the thought of that grant.
Now I'm scared.
I looked around the barn tonight and just kept thinking ... if things don't change, how am I going to feed you? The ironic part is we have super amazing wonderful news of an ASPCA Community Support grant that will allow us to feed OTHER people's hungry horses ... while facing a scary winter in which some of ours may be facing hunger.
Things have to change.
We have $11,000 worth of hay ordered. We have about 11 weeks worth of hay on hand. We need to feed hay to the entire herd starting this weekend through about May 15. That's a lot more than 11 weeks.
We have just under $2,000 in the hay fund right now. $2,000. That's a difference of $9,000. It's terrifying.
We thought we had our hay. That large load of CRP hay we put in last January should have fed everyone this year. And then the drought came. Adoptions came to a near halt. We had to start feeding hay. Our medical bills have gone through the roof (and we owe our vets a pretty penny). We're overwhelmed with young horses that are too young to start under saddle and around here, we just don't place them until they are riding.
Yet even our nice riding horses, like Hope & Nora, sit.
We are going into winter with more horses than we have ever had before, and for the first time in 6 years I'm scared. Intakes are shut down. I'm doing everything I can think of to downsize and fundraise.
But I'm failing. And if I fail, horses go hungry. And I CAN'T let that happen.
I'm open to ideas, folks. Our calendar goes to print on Monday - and I still need at least four more sponsors at $400 to cover the printing costs. But I already have a few paid sponsors so I HAVE to print it. Anyone want to sponsor a month for a local business, or willing to talk to a friend that owns a business? I just need a commitment by SUNDAY.
Fosters? I feel like everytime I ask for fosters I get responses, but never get a response to my follow up emails. I would love, love, love some fosters until May. Especially training fosters. Anyone have an indoor arena, some extra hay, and/or time to work with a riding horse? Donate the expenses and training, share in the adoption fee, we'll talk! Let me know!
Adoption event? Coming. Is it the adoption fee? Hope has nearly 90 days of professional training - worth about $1800 - not to mention all the riding we've done and her care. The kill pens get $500-600 for a sick, unsound horse ... it kills me to think that $850 for a 15 hand, 7 year old beautiful appaloosa with training is "too much". Yes, I know there's a contract. But we try really hard not to be crazy about it... we just want to keep her safe. I see horses like her listed for $2,000+ every single day.
Fundraisers? Working on them. Our silent auction is underway and ends in a week ... and right now it's raised under $200. We'd love to see it top $1000 and pay for the square bales. We try to add new items but for the most part they are all up (at least, what's going to get up, I know there are Western saddles somewhere but I don't have time to clean and photograph them with everything else). But there are English saddles, books, household things, apparel, so many cool things ... check it out? Share it? https://gentlespirithorses.rallyup.com/2017fallauction
Or maybe consider the Trail of Painted Ponies fundraiser. We haven't done one in a couple of years but it always used to bring in $4-600. Order a pony through us, we get half the value back, and you get a great collectible that makes a great Christmas gift. http://gentlespirithorses.org/support/trail-of-painted-ponies/
Calendars, bake sale, GSH logo apparel ... all coming next month. But the hay needs to be paid for now, and those fundraisers usually help cover the stable lease and winter feed for our seniors, and winter farrier. Not to mention the crazy vet bill that needs to be paid off.
More grants? Well, yes, there are more to apply for. But grants are highly competitive and no guarantee. And remember, we work full time. Our volunteers have trickled away to our hardcore base people as the cold comes in and that means the physical work falls on us too. The seniors must be fed twice a day - they can't eat hay. Grants take a lot of time and work ... and right now, my time is extremely limited.
So I don't know. Open to ideas. Want to hold a bake sale in your community along with ours? Contact me, I'll get you a flyer and some brochures. Share our adoptables. Share our fundraisers. Volunteer (but if you say you are going to help I HAVE to be able to depend on you. Too many things end up behind and falling back on me, it's so much easier to just do it myself. Except I'm failing.)
Or, just ... donate. Have hay? Bring it over. We've had some really wonderful supporters donate hay, donate funds, and I hate making pleas like this because I don't want them to feel like they need to do more - they already do so much. But $10, $20, $50 ... it adds up. It doesn't have to be $100, $500, $1000 to make a difference. Those donations definitely help, but so do the $10 donations. $10 can buy two square bales of hay and feed a single horse for about 5 days.
I know we don't get like this often, but the loss of that funding really hit me hard today. AND the CRP donation program isn't in place this year due to the drought, so we can't even look forward to that. Extra mouths, extra months of feeding ... I'm really, truly scared.
Help me feel better?