Disaster Preparation for Horses

Are you ready for a disaster?

     I read an old article in Carolina Hoofbeats that got me started thinking…

     In 1996, when Hurricane Fran hit the center of North Carolina, I did not have my horses at home.  I did see massive amounts of trees which had been toppled:  stately 100-year-old oak trees down, and little trees twisted and broken.  My horses were safe, however I could not have reached them at their boarding farm due to the fallen trees.  If Fran came through now, I would not be worrying about flooding, as my house and barn are on a hill, but the tree damage to my fences and barn could be extensive.

     Since I have had my horses at my little farm, we have not had a huge hurricane to deal with in my section of central North Carolina (knock on wood), although we have had some storms that caused creeks to flood over pastures and roads.  We did have a local, Apex, chemical plant catch fire billowing potentially noxious gases into the air at 10:00 at night.  That fire caused an evacuation of all the families living near it and all of the people and horses downwind to the west of it for several miles.  Fortunately, I had a friend who was not in the air-flow and who could take my horses for a day or two.  She has moved, now, so what would I do now? or for a longer time?  And what would I do now if a disaster occurs?

Here is a short tip list of things to have at hand to maintain the health and welfare of your horses in an evacuation emergency:

  1. Make sure your horses’ vaccinations, booster shots, and Coggins are up to date.
  2. Collect important papers in one place (Coggins, registration papers, list of medications,  and photos.)
  3. Know where you can take your horses in an emergency (and/or where emergency facilities for horses are located).
  4. Keep a supply of hay, grain, water where they can be easily collected for travel.
  5. Keep veterinary supplies in a container for quick evacuation.
  6. Have your contact information on your horses halters with either a plate or waterproof marker.

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About A Cain

I am originally from New York State and moved to Pennsylvania for college and graduate school. My husband and I later lived in California and West Virginia, and then we were transferred to North Carolina. I learned to ride as an adult, in North Carolina. I have two horses now: one wild-and-wooly teenager who is learning from me, and one former race horse that has turned into a school master for me. They are both pretty sensible and great on trails, so we go everywhere. They live with me on my own North Carolina mini farm. I love to sit on my deck in the evening and watch them graze.
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