Hurricanes and Horses – things to consider.
Hurricane Houston reminded us all that Mother Nature is frightening and dangerous force, not just to human – but to equines. Ideally, before the hurricane strikes, you will have ample time to evacuate and transport your horses, pets and yourself to a safer location. However, in many cases evacuation is not possible. While it is always best to use your good judgment and common sense, here are some quick tips to consider in the event that you suddenly find your horses in the path of a hurricane.
- It’s best to evacuate your horses to a safer location before the hurricane strikes. See the East Coast Equine Evacuation List for provisions in your area. Also, many counties have a local fair grounds that may be used for equines in the event of a hurricane.
- Most rescuers recommend that you don’t leave your horse in the barn, or a stall. If at all possible turn your horse out in a paddock with a run-in shed. However, some barns are built with cement and designed to withstand a hurricane. (Again – common sense is best).
- If your horse is easy to catch and easy to handle with just a rope around the neck, then it is safer to remove the halter. If not, make sure your horse has a break-away halter on.
- Leave some method for rescuers to contact you. Some recommend braiding a name tag or identification into the hair in the mane or under the horse’s tail with haystring. Others, paint their cellphone on the side of the horse. If you have beard trimmers, you can try trimming your number in your horse’s hair. The best method is to microchip your horse and register with many of the equine registries.
- A fly mask will protect your horse’s eyes from flying debris.
- If at all possible, tie a sign to a tree at the end of your driveway that notifies rescuers that horses are on the property.
- Make sure your horse has an UTD Tetanus shot. Flood waters are dirty. Any open wounds should be cleaned thoroughly as to prevent infection.
- Fill all your available tubs with clean water and affix a cover with plywood and a tarp. Add a tablepoon of mouthwash to prevent Algae. When a hurricane rolls through and you loose power for a long period many are without adequate drinking water for the horses.
- Make sure your cars and truck’s tanks are full of gas.
- STOCK UP – on hay, grain and shavings. Store this inside the barn up above any area that may have the potential for flooding. After the hurricane, supplies for equines will be scarce.
- Hurricane winds are powerful, so powerful that equipment that is not designed to be blown around will be blown around – so clean up, move all equipment (rakes, shovels, wheelbarrows, buckets, etc) into an empty stall and close the door.