All animal owners, especially those who own horses, must rely on themselves to take care of their animals in times of emergencies and disasters. Make sure you take these things into consideration.
Animal Identification: All horses should have at least one form of permanent identification – microchip and/or tattoo. Note: A veterinarian must implant a microchip but YOU must insure the registration of the chip with your information with a registry. Other means of identification: Include ID tags/bands on halters/neck straps and/or braided into mane and tail. A leg band is another option. Spray paint your name and phone number on the body of the horse. Take full-framed photographs of your horse and include additional pictures of unique scars and other markings. Store these photos with your personal “Go Kit”. Training : Relocation is stressful for humans and horses. Stress will increase if your horse (s) are not comfortable with being loaded and unloaded from a trailer or transporter. Regular training for transport will decrease stress for humans and horse(s) and expedite speed of evacuation.
In a separate waterproof pouch, keep copies of Coggin’s Tests, vaccination and other pertinent medical records, pictures of your horse(s), microchip and/or tattoo records, your contact info, veterinarian contact and alternate contact of family or friend. This pouch should be kept with your personal “Go Kit”.
Include feed, hay and water for at least three days per horse. Also include water/feed buckets, extra halters, lead ropes and other necessary stable care tools. Keep a medical care kit with required medications, knives, scissors, wire cutters, blankets, tarpaulins, and leg wraps. Include your and your veterinarian’s contact information, copy of Coggin’s test, vaccination records, and pertinent medical instructions inside the medical kit. Take extra ID bands/tags for each horse.
Pre-arrange several places where you can take your horse if evacuation is necessary. This could be a fellow horse owner or pre-planned locations that have be designated by local agencies. Pre-plan all possible evacuation routes to these locations and have the maps/directions to each of these locations stored in your tow vehicle and/or trailer. Communicate your plans with others (i.e. stable owner/manager or close friends who may have to assist you). Make sure you share phone numbers and email addresses to stay in touch.
Make sure you have all your tack, feed and other supplies ready to go in case you have to relocate. Leave when so ordered by officials. Consider leaving earlier for safety ra
ther than waiting for an order to evacuate.
If you own your own trailer, keep it and tow vehicle ready by regularly checking trailer hitch, tires, lights, and latches. Consider keeping trailer pre-stocked with emergency care kit and equipment. If you do not own your own trailer, make prior arrangements to have your horse transported in an emergency. Keep your horse’s emergency care kit and equipment clearly marked and accessible to expedite loading.
Back up Plans/Shelter in Place
There may be incidents where time does not permit evacuation of your horse or transportation is not available. Each situation will dictate the best action available for your horse. Sometimes, it may be best to bring them into the barn. Other times it may be best to leave them in a pasture or paddock where there is some shelter available, on dry ground, and out the path of any wind-borne hazard. Ensure that you have adequate feed, hay and water for at least 72 hours and that the water source is not dependent upon electric. If safe to do so, attach ID tags/bands to each horse or mark them with spray paint.