I feel for you with rising prices, but American hay can be so cheap! I'm Australian and there was a time a few years back where we were paying $20+ for a bale of lucerne hay. "Meadow" hay was a couple of dollars cheaper generally, sometimes same price. Not sure on the weight, but it was maybe 40x40x100cm, not good at measuring. What are the standard sizes of American hay?
Last time I had a horse though prices were a little cheaper, but never below $10. I once met an American who had moved to Australia who couldn't get over how expensive feed was here. But I guess things change wherever you go, I'm in Denmark now and I am shocked at how much people pay for board here, and for just a small stable with no turn out, it's close to double what I pay for rent, bills and internet for myself. I was talking to a horse rider just the other day and I told her how I used to have horses in Australia, and feed them, rug them and care for them everyday, often going out twice a day, and she couldn't believe anyone would put that much time into a horse. Here it seems that all horse people, at least in the cities, pay for people to care for their horse for them, and just turn up to ride.
I know its like that in parts of Australia, like in the big cities, but I have never really known anyone who does that. Sort of ruins the whole idea of having a horse I think. But from what I read on this forum full care board seems more popular in America?
I hope your drought breaks - I know how horrible it can be.