I am an all around horse lover and emergency management student. For my senior project before I graduate with my bachelors degree, I am doing a thesis project about emergency preparedness with horses. So do any of you guys have emergency plans in place for your barns and horses? More specifically do you have evacuation plans in the event of a local disaster or emergency? It is vital to think about these things before a disaster takes place. As unlikely as a catastrophic disaster might seem in your area, it's better to have a plan and never have to put it into action, then to be caught with out one and wish you had! I really appreciate your feedback! Thank you!

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Hi Katelyn! Great thesis :)

At our farm, we do not have an emergency evacuation situation set up. We live atop a mountain and though we have six horses, only have one two horse trailer. It is on my agenda before the season changes again, as the new trainer/manager, to set up an evacuation plan.

However, that being said, I will say that our general emergency preparedness in terms of severe storms (we are in a temperate rainforest, so rain and wind can get pretty intense!) varies depending on the storm, and the horse. Two of our horses get locked out into their pasture where there is but one tree, as opposed to their attached paddock which is wooded. Our mares generally are left to decide where they feel safest (in their pasture or in their attached dry lot), and we have only one time put them in stalls during an intense storm because everything else was flooded.

In terms of first aid, we regularly check with our vets to make sure we are stocked up on current (ie not expired) things like bute, banamine, dex, ace, etc as we are an hour from any of the local equine vets. We keep plenty of bandaging/etc in stock and even have things like an Old Mac poultice boot, just in case.

Great question, and I hope to be able to update soon with our emergency evacuation plan!

Hi Ashley! Thank you so much for answering my post! Sounds like you have your work cut out for you with the evacuation plan, but under the circumstances I would say it's very necessary! I am just now writing my own plan as well. Luckily I have a trailer for my two horses, but there are more then 20 horses kept at my barn and the manager does not have a plan in place.

I live in Michigan and we have major storms as well, typically we bring our horses in if possible. The fences at the barn are not going to withstand a strong storm and we live near a main road. I too keep a stock pile of vet supplies, but luckily my horses are much closer to veterinary care. 

If you need any help or suggestions with your evacuation plan, please feel free to contact me on facebook or email me! 

Hi Katelyn!

Could you give an example of how an evacuation plan might look? I'd like to start writing one up to discuss with the barn owner and other riders here, but am unsure where to even start! :)

Like I said, I am just now writing my own as well. Right now, I make sure I have at least half tank of gas in the truck at all times. I keep the records of my horses shots and coggins in the trailer. I also have the trailer stocked with buckets, hoses, vet supplies and anything else I might need on short notice. I check tire pressure on the trailer once a month. I take the trailer for yearly maintenance checks as well. Both my horses load well, but its good to practice that with them. My trainer lives an hour away, so as of right now, that is where I would take them if we had to evacuate. But I am also working on other places in the event that he was affected too. The lady that owns the barn where my horses live does not have a plan. As of right now, I am just working on a plan for my two horses and then if she wants to adopt it too that would be great. Is that helpful? Like I said, mine is a work in progress too! 

I would "Like" this if I could! Great thoughts! 

Disasters and emergencies are not exactly common hereabouts, however, we have just been experiencing major flooding.  I know there are a number of horses who did not make it out, and I choose to believe they are still okay, whether or not that may be the case.  This is one of the reasons I have a truck and trailer that will fit all of my horses (which is currently two), and they are good loaders.  One never wants to have to leave someone behind because they won't get in the trailer.  I do know one barn which lost their outdoor rings, but got the horses and people safely out.

We know that a number of people had little time once they realized that the situation is dire.  Given that, I can only recommend that sooner is better than waiting.  I'd rather look like an idiot for taking my horses out and there not being a problem, than leaving it too late so that I can't get them out.

I board my horses, and I know that some people think I'm insane because I practice leading with a towel over their eyes in case of fire.  Amongst the other things I do so that my horses might get out okay.  I take heat for carrying chains for the truck, 10 gallons of water in my trailer, drive up jacks, a fire extinguisher, a small air compressor with an adapter... but I'm the sort that would rather have them and never need them than need them and not have them.

Yes exactly! Much better to practice, then to wish you had when an emergency happens! I too have a trailer for my horses with all that stuff in there. I have not practiced with my horses with a towel over their faces, but I will be now! Thanks for your post!

Mags, this sounds like genius preparation to me! We will be working on leading with eyes covered as well, now. We live in a very large forest, and though it is a rainforest, I imagine it would be easy to overlook the thought of a forest fire (let alone a barn fire). We have just recently gotten everyone set on loading. We had one older gelding who had trouble loading and in general has trouble with a lot of things.. we think because he is developing cataracts. Luckily we got him loading easily and happily, so for the most part if there were an issue we could at least rest assured that everyone knows how to easily load.

There is another trailer on the other end of the property (which is about 2 miles from here) that is a 3-horse I believe, so at the very least we could get 5 of the six horses out, and I imagine if we tried hard enough, we could fit 4 horses in it (two are smallish Paso Finos and one is a Connemara/QH). If all else failed, we could ride one off the property as there is access to thousands of acres from our farm that we can easily get to on horseback, and call in help from there.

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