Disaster Planning for Horses

Before the Storm

  • Become familiar with the type of disasters that occur in your region. Think about both natural and man-made disasters.
  • Have a written plan. During stressful times, it is easy to forget or omit something important. Keep all your vaccination records, current Coggins, pictures of the horses, and medications with the disaster plan. Compile a list of emergency numbers including veterinarian, neighbors, poison control, local animal shelters, and animal control.
  • Identify your horses through microchip, tattoo, or paint sticks. Take pictures of you with each of your horses, as well as detailed pictures of each horse.
  • Consider whether you need to evacuate the horses. Storm surge from the hurricane is often overlooked since the focus is normally on wind damage.
  • If you choose to evacuate, do so 72 hours before the storm is due to hit, or you could be caught in traffic and high winds. Traffic moves very slowly if at all and high winds will make the horse trailer unstable. Familiarize yourself with evacuation routes, secondary routes, and potential evacuation sites. Fairgrounds, equestrian centers, and private farms sometimes have the ability to assist during an emergency.
  • If you do not have a means of evacuating, the area must be free of debris, power lines, barbed wire, and there must be enough room for the horses to run. Your decision whether to keep your horses in an open barn or field is up to you. Do not lock your horses in the barn.
  • Remember that power may be out, so don’t count on automatic pumps working. Make certain the horses have enough water and food to last two weeks.

After the Storm

  • Use caution after the storm. Beware of downed power lines.
  • Landmarks and scents may be altered causing horses to become confused or lost.
  • Check pastures for debris that may injure horses. Ensure fences are intact.
  • Wildlife will also be impacted by the storm and may end up where least expected. Use caution.
  • Contact nearby veterinarians, humane societies, stables, or farms if your horses are lost.

See our suggested list of supplies to keep on hand as your Emergency Disaster Kit.