Surviving Downunder: The Drought in Australia

All it took was one post on Facebook from one of my good friends from college, and I knew I had to tell this story. 

In December and January, our news reels were full of images from the bushfires in Australia and the thousands of animals fleeing to survive. We were buried with cries to help the koalas and kangaroos. We saw firefights trying their best to battle the fires all across the country. But we never heard about the horse industry. We never heard about the farmers and ranchers. We didn’t know the extent of the drought except when it came to the bushfires.

CattleField

An Australian cattle field that used to contain hundreds of healthy cattle grazing on lush, green grass.

Kendal Kern Simon grew up near St. Louis, moved to Texas years ago and met her husband, Grant. The two, with their son, moved to Grant’s home country of Australia about three years ago for the cutting horse industry Downunder. In December she posted an update letting Facebook friends know that the fires weren’t near her family’s ranch, however, they were having to buy water, on top of hay.

Wait … BUY WATER? 

Can you imagine having to buy water to not only quench your thirst, but that of your cattle and horses, to do your laundry, to do every day things?

This is why I wanted to share the story of those who weren’t getting a chance to in the news. I spoke with Kendal, another Texas transplant (Kelli Barron) seeing massive effects from the drought and cutting and cowhorse trainers who had lost cattle and horses to the fires. I then spoke with nutrition experts at Kentucky Equine Research about what horse owners have to be careful with not only dealing with the drought, but when the rains come and the lush green grass returns. I spoke with the National Cutting Horse Association of Australia to see how the drought affected the industry.

An initial, shorter, version was published on the Quarter Horse Newswebsitein February, but the full thing was published in the March 1 print issue. I’m so happy that the editor trusted me with this story, and I’m honored that I was entrusted to share their stories.

Quarter Horse News Australia Drought

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