How to Create a Disaster Preparedness Plan for Your Horse
In the event of a disaster like a flood, a wildfire, or a hurricane, you will need to be prepared to transport your horse to safety. Having a detailed disaster preparedness plan will ensure your horse is at a reduced risk of injury or death. Start by getting the necessary identification and records for your horse. You can then gather emergency supplies and identify a safe evacuation site. Write and share the plan properly so it is easy to access and use, and practice it a few times so everyone involved feels confident.
Getting Identification and Records for Your Horse
Put an ID tag on your horse’s collar.Include the horse’s name, your name, your contact information, and an alternate emergency telephone number. You can use your email or your phone number as your contact information. Ask a neighbor or family member to be the alternate emergency contact and provide their phone number.
- Make sure the ID tag is securely attached to your horse’s leather collar around its neck.
- You can also get a plastic neckband for the horse that is engraved with all the necessary information.
Have the vet put a microchip in your horse.All horses should get an identification microchip. The microchip can be scanned to identify your horse.
- The insertion of the microchip is not very painful (vets will often numb the horse) and usually done very quickly by the vet. The microchip is typically inserted in the top portion of the neck. It should not leave a large wound or scar on your horse if it is inserted properly.
Take photos of your horse and store them with extra ID tags.Take several full-frame and close-up pictures of your horse. Write down the breed, color, size, and any markings or scars on your horse on the back of the photographs. The more detail and unique markings you include, the better. Make copies of the photos and put them in a sealed plastic bag.
- Keep one set of photos in a safe place in your home, or in your first aid kit. You can also keep a digital copy of the photos on your phone or computer.
- Give another set of photos to a friend or family member for safekeeping.
Get copies of your horse’s medical records and store them in a safe place.Include your horse’s Coggins tests, veterinary papers, identification photographs, and a list of any allergies or medical issues. You can also make a list of emergency phone numbers, such as your vet’s contact information, and include them. Place the documents in a plastic bag and store it in your home or your first aid kit.
- You can aso designate an old backpack as your “emergency bag” and store the documents in the bag.
- Place a copy of the records at your barn with your emergency supplies. That way, if someone else needs to evacuate your horse, they’ll have the necessary documents.
Gathering Emergency Supplies
Get extra halters and lead ropes for your horse.Include at least one extra set of halters and lead ropes for the horse. You can also attach an ID tag to the extra halters in the event of an emergency.
- Avoid halters or lead ropes made out of nylon, as they are a hazard in the event of a fire. Get rope or leather halters and leads instead.
- Put the extra halters and lead ropes in an easy to grab bag or area in your home.
- Keep old halters and leads or extra sets in case other loose horses need to be caught and restrained.
Make a first aid kit for your horse.The first aid kit should include cotton balls and rolls, vet wraps, duct tape, disposable surgical gloves, telfa pads, instant cold packs, diapers, Betadine, saline, triple antibiotic, a thermometer, and Furazone. You should also include scissors and tweezers in the first aid kit.
- Put the first aid kit with your other emergency items in a bag so it is easy to grab.
- Ask your vet for any other items you should include for your horse in the kit.
Pack a one-week supply of food and water.Store feed for your horse in an airtight, waterproof container. Rotate it every three months so it stays fresh. You should also have a 50-gallon (189 litre) barrel of water for your horse, stored in a cool, dark place.
- You should also pack extra feeding and water buckets.
Store a one-week supply of any medications for your horse.If your horse is on any medications, make sure you have enough extra medicine in the event of a disaster. Store the supply of medicine with your other emergency supplies.
- Speak to your vet about getting an extra emergency supply of medicine for your horse.
Determining the Emergency Transport
Have a horse trailer and a truck on hand.Horses are transported best in a horse trailer attached to a hitch on a truck. Make sure the trailer and truck are road ready. The tires should be full, and the floors and hitch should be sturdy.
- You should also keep the gas tank half full in the truck so you have enough gas in the event of an emergency.
- Do regular performance checks to make sure the trailer is in good working condition. Practice hitching your trailer to your truck so you aren’t scrambling in the event of an emergency.
- If you have extra room in your trailer, offer spots to other horses at the barn and include them in your disaster preparedness plan.
Buddy up with someone who has access to transport.If you do not have access to a horse trailer or a truck, find a neighbor or family member close to you who does. Buddy up with them and arrange to use their trailer in the event of an emergency.
- You can also agree to alert each other in the event of an emergency and work together to get your horses to safety.
Train your horse to be okay with being loaded and unloaded.Make sure your horse is comfortable with being loaded and unloaded from a horse trailer. Practice loading and unloading your horse from the trailer so it is comfortable with the procedure. Use treats to motivate the horse to practice loading and unloading. Remember, getting in the trailer should always be a positive experience for your horse.
- Training the horse to get used to loading and unloading will ensure it is less stressed in the event of an emergency. It will make getting the horse into the trailer much more feasible during a disaster.
- Horses are naturally inclined to avoid small, dark spaces, so this step may be challenging. If necessary, enlist the help of a trainer.
Identifying an Evacuation Site
Find a nearby stable or barn.A stable or barn close to you are great options as evacuation sites. Choose a stable that is weatherproof and set up for disasters or emergencies. Look for one that is not too far of a drive away from you so you can get your horse to safety fast.
- You can also look for a vacant barn near you that would work as an evacuation site.
- Keep in mind that different emergencies will require different evacuation sites. A wildfire, for example, may require a different site than a hurricane. Check the risks specific to your area.
Check for nearby racetracks and fairgrounds.Racetracks and fairgrounds also make for good evacuation sites, as they are usually set up to withstand a disaster. Look around your area for a racetrack or a fairground and make it your emergency site.
- You can try speaking to the owner of the racetrack or fairground and asking them for permission to house your horse there in the event of an emergency.
Find an open field nearby.If you cannot find a structure nearby to house the horse, an open field is a good last resort. Look for an open field close to you. Try to find a field that has a shelter or shade.
Have a back up evacuation site.Make sure you have a back up site in the event you cannot get to the first one. Having two evacuation sites will ensure you will have a place to store your horse in the event of an emergency.
Contact your local animal control agency.If you are having trouble finding an evacuation site near you, get in touch with your local animal control agency. They may be able to suggest good spots for you to take your horse.
- You can also contact your local humane organization for suggestions on an evacuation site.
Maintaining a Physical Copy of the Plan
Write down key details of the plan.Type or write down the locations of your main and back up evacuation sites. Note the identification information for your horse as well as your emergency contact numbers. Write down the key steps in your plan so you can follow it easily.
- For example, you may write: “1. Grab the emergency bag. 2. Put the emergency food and water in the truck. 3. Load the horse into the horse trailer. 4. Drive to the evacuation site.”
Make several copies of the plan and keep them in safe places.Store copies of the plan with your emergency bag. Give your neighbor a copy of the plan so they can refer to it in the event you are not home during an emergency.
Post the plan in a central area in your home.Put a copy of the emergency plan in your living room or your kitchen. Post a copy in your stable or barn. Make sure everyone in your household has access to the plan.
- Everyone involved in the plan should get a copy, as well as those who may need to step in.
QuestionHow can I bring enough hay to last 72 hours in my one horse trailer?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerA half to full bale of hay (depending on the size of your horse or pony) is about enough for one day of trailering. If your trailer is big enough, you can bring extra hay along and set it aside in the trailer and, when you need it, just refill your hay net. For 72 hours, you should bring anywhere from five to eight bales just to be extra safe.Thanks!
Video: Emergency Preparedness: Make a Kit and a Plan
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