This month we’ll talk about horses. Since we’re still in hurricane season, here are a few important things to remember that will make evacuation easier and help with finding your horses if you can’t evacuate them. When told to evacuate, do so immediately. If you wait until the last minute to evacuate, emergency management officials may tell you that you must leave your horses behind. In this case, your horses could be unattended for days without care, food, or water.
Take a plastic tag (you can cut one out of a plastic lid, etc.) and write your contact information on it. Punch a hole in the top and tie on twine. Then you can braid this tag into their mane. Alternatively, you can spray paint your telephone number on the horse’s backend. In a pinch, you can use a luggage tag and tie it onto the halter. It’s always a good thing to microchip all your animals that are dear to you.
If you can’t take your horses with you, leave them in the pasture where they can seek high ground. (This is when the info tag mentioned above comes into play.) If they are left in a barn and the water rises as it did in Harvey, they will most likely drown.
Before the storm hits, put coggins, vet records, registrations, id papers, and photos in a plastic bag and put it with your other important papers. Make sure your trailer is ready and in a place of high ground that you can access. If you don’t have a trailer, make arrangements with someone who does. Another thing to do before the storm nears is to research evacuation stables away from the storm area so you’ll have a place to board them until you can come back home. You should also have hay, feed, and medications for four or five days.
We were lucky with Hurricane Laura, but we must always prepare for the worst and hope for the best!
For additional information, check out the American Association of Equine Practitioners – Owner Emergency and Disaster Preparedness.