Disasters such as wildfires, hurricanes, tornados and floods can happen at any time. They often take us by surprise, but even with advanced warning they can cause deep destruction and despair. Because horses require a high level of care to meet their needs, it is important for equine owners to have an emergency plan in place before disaster strikes.
If you haven’t created your plan yet, now is the time to spur to action! Here are a few tips to get started:
Have your horse microchipped
If you and your horse become separated during a disaster, microchips are essential to reuniting. Be sure you register the microchip with the manufacturer and keep your contact information up to date. If you are unable to microchip your horse, you can braid a luggage tag or other identification clip into your horse’s mane in an emergency.
Practice makes perfect
Your horse should be comfortable being caught, haltered and loading on a trailer. They should also be at ease being led by strangers. Practicing in calm conditions and with other handlers can help your horse feel more relaxed during an emergency.
Create your customized plan
Determine the potential disasters that could occur in your area. Then, contact your county’s emergency management office or extension agents to see if there are designated shelters in the event of an emergency. Be sure to choose an emergency contact or caretaker for your horse and map out where you and your horse will go if evacuation is necessary.
Have an emergency kit ready
Your emergency kit should be organized and easy to grab. Contents should include your contact information, veterinary records with a current Coggins test, proof of horse ownership, extra lead ropes and halters, a first aid kit, water buckets, a 7- to 10-day supply of feed and medication, and enough water to last until you arrive at your evacuation destination or shelter.
Remember: always bring your horses and other animals with you if you need to evacuate. Leaving animals behind puts them in life-threatening danger, including the inability to escape and not having access to fresh food and water.
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