I had one of those intuitive flashes the other day that's got me looking around for evidence to back it up. Well, make that FURTHER evidence, because the evidence I do have is what enabled my intuition to connect some dots.
The dots create a picture that looks something like this: As economic and demographic conditions squeeze the horse industry tighter, making horses harder to sell and harder to afford, the degree of BARTERING could be increasing, while the degree of cash exchange could be going down.
I don't know about yours, but in my little corner of the horse world, there's more trade-out stuff going on that I ever remember seeing. Sometimes it's the trading of one horse for another. Sometimes it's a trade of a horse for services, or for goods that don't eat. Sometimes it's a trade of goods for other goods--say, a saddle in exchange for a load of hay.
I've started doing a certain amount of barter-based business myself, and I guess that's what got me tuned into it as a possible arising trend. Most of the time, it's not me who's initiated it. Instead, someone's come to me with an offer to trade X for Y, with no cash involved.
My rule of thumb on trendspotting is to start paying attention whenever something happens in three unrelated instances. I'm way past three personal episodes now on the bartering concept. My antennae, therefore, are up.