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the Northern Virginia

Coalition of Equestrian Organizations

This page was updated
Nov. 12, 2006

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Resources for Horse Owners                NVCEO Planning Calendar                      Business Directory

Member Organizations

Battlefield Equestrian Society
Clifton Horse Society
Equestrian Trail Alliance
Frida Icelandic Riding Club

Great Falls Equestrian Society
(George Mason Univ.)
Equestrian Team

Horse Works
Mason Neck Horse Coalition
Nokesville Horse Society
Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding
Old Dominion Endurance Rides
Rainbow Therapeutic Riding

Turner Farm Park
Equestrian Committee

United States Trail Ride

Affiliate Member

Cedar Creek Mounted Guard
No Man's Land
Back Country Horsemen


Commercial Members


Don't see your group here?
Contact Us to Add your Equestrian Organization

In addition to the information below, the following documents
published by the Louisiana State University AgCenter
are available for downloading, in Adobe PDF format.
Disaster Readiness for
Horse Owners

Preparing Your Evacuation
"Grab and Go" Box

Hurricane and Emergency Preparedness
for Horse Owners
Lessons Learned form Hurricane Katrina

by Bonnie Clark
Director of Rescue/Relief Efforts at the Lamar-Dixon Evacuation Center during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita

The time to prepare is well before you need to move out of the path of a hurricane or any other disaster. When a hurricane is threatening your area. the first order of priority is to save human lives. Please be sure to follow local recommendations for preparing your home (ie: turn off electricity, gas, etc.) as well as preparing for moving your horses. With proper preparation and planning we can save the lives of our horses.

1. Documents - You will need a current negative Coggins on each horse you plan to move to a safer location. (If you plan to take your horse to another state for shelter, you may be required to have a recent health certificate. Check with the state in which you are planning to seek shelter.) You should also have a copy of each horse's medical history including your veterinarian's contact information, and a signed permission for emergency treatment that goes with the horse. You can set the maximum you are willing to pay without personal notification, but if you don't sign an approval for emergency treatment it could cost you your horse.

2. Medications - If you horse requires special medications or must be sedated for hauling, have these supplies on hand and send them with the horse.

3. Identification - Each horse must have a microchip for identification, a tattoo or a brand. Of all of these the best means of identifying a specific horse and tracking the owner is the microchip. It is a low cost and highly effective means of identification. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THE MICROCHIP NUMBER, BRAND OR TATTOO WRITTEN DOWN AND WITH YOU AT ALL TIMES. ALSO, KEEP CURRENT PHOTOS AND COGGINS PAPERS WITH YOU.

4. Emergency Boarding - Make arrangements with boarding facilities at points as far outside of the disaster area as possible. Make sure that you notify the facility if your horse is a stud or a mare in heat.

5. Tack - All horses should be shipped with their own halter and lead ropes. (Halters can carry disease so make certain that the halter is clean and that it was not used on a sick animal.) Do not saddle horses prior to shipping, remove all halters for horses remaining in place.

6. Trailer - Check your trailer to make certain that it is safe to transport horses. Check the floor, tires, spare tire, brakes and lights to make certain they are in working order. Make sure you have a jack and lug wrench that fit the trailer. Plan to move your horses while the storm is at least 4 days away. Once the governor calls for mandatory evacuation, commercial vehicles or horse trailers are discouraged on evacuation routes.

7. Truck - Check to make sure your truck is ready to pull the trailer. Check the hitch to make sure it is secure and in proper working order. Make sure that you have a full tank of gas. DO NOT carry full gas cans in your horse trailer.

8. Commercial Haulers - if you plan to use a commercial hauler, you must arrange to have them pick the horse up well in advance of mandatory evacuation. Once the governor calls for mandatory evacuation, no commercial vehicles or horse trailers are allowed on evacuation routes.

9. Inter-state transportation - If you move your horse into other states, check in advance to see what the requirements are and verify that you have a specific place that is going to provide safe shelter for your horse. Don't wait until you get there to start looking. CALL BEFORE YOU HAUL!

10. Location - Ideally you should send your horse as far from the disaster area as possible and out of areas prone to flooding and wind damage (for hurricanes, storms, etc) .

11. Feed - Pack enough feed and hay to last each horse for at least one week and send it with them.

12. Prioritize - If you only have a trailer that does not have the capacity to transport all of your horses, decide NOW which horses you are going to transport first. Plan so that you have plenty of time to make necessary round trips long before mandatory evacuations are ordered.

13. Emergency Fencing - Purchase several rolls of orange plastic snow/construction fencing. If your horses are used to being fenced, this fencing will contain them until any damaged fencing can be repaired. It can be put in place with a staple gun and trees or wooden fence posts.

14. Barn/Stable Preparation - store all lose items and furniture inside the barn or storage area so that these items do not become dangerous projectiles in high winds. Secure any loose roofing materials- Secure all gates.

14. Determine your Out of Area Contact Number - This should be a phone number of a friend or relative outside the disaster area in the event you can not be reached by phone.  This person should know where you can be reached.

16. Horses That Remain in Place - If you cannot move your horse and are in an area prone to flooding, or severe wind damage leave your horses in a covered area but DO NOT close the doors or gates. If water begins to rise and the horses are trapped in their stalls, they will drown. They must be able to get out and move to higher ground. If you must bar their exit, use bailing twine or something else that will break easily or that the horse can move out of his way without being injured. Make sure that the horse has access to plenty of safe water as it may take up to a week or more for you to get back to him. Mark light colored horses with a permanent marker or spray paint with white paint on dark colored horses with an OUT OF AREA CONTACT NUMBER of someone a rescuer can contact to determine your evacuated location. You can also braid this information into your horses' mane or tail.

17. Emergency Supplies - You should have a supply of topical antiseptics, gauze pads, vet wrap etc. You should also have access to feed and hay in the event that the storm wipes out your barn and feed room. Do not use feed or hay that has been in flood waters.

18. Protect Yourself - If mandatory evacuations are posted for your area and you cannot transport your horse to safer ground DO NOT STAY BEHIND with your horses. Do the best you can for the animals and get out safely.

19. Follow up - If you horse has been transported to an emergency boarding facility, call and verify that your horse was received and make sure you have all of their contact information.

20. Contacts - When a hurricane is threatening, contact the head of your local office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, Civil Defense or State Department of Agriculture to find out more information about options for livestock in your area.

This article is meant as a guide, only. Contact your local State Veterinarians Office to learn more about suggestions, procedures and requirements for your area.

More about Bonnie Clark

During the Hurricane Katrina evacuation of horses to the Lamar-Dixon center at the Louisiana State University, Bonnie Clark was appointed the Director of all equine operations.  In addition to this daunting experience, Bonnie has over 12 years as a veterinary technician.  She has been appointed as Equines Facilities Commander by the State of Louisiana - State Animal Response Team.  Bonnie also worked animal relief efforts during Hurricane Andrew in Homestead, FL.  Ms. Clark is the President of the Louisiana Equine Council and she is the publisher of the Louisiana Horseman's Guide,

Bonnie Clark has released a CD based "E"-Book called "The Horse Resource".  This 94-page E-book is chocked full of valuable information that is a must of every horse owner.  For more information about Bonnie Clark or to obtain "The Horse Resource" go to .

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Northern Virginia Coalition of Equestrian Organizations, Inc.; P.O. Box 1971; Centreville, VA  20122-1971

Jeff Shoup, President, 703-754-4981