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
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 -
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