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Disaster Tips: For Horses

The following items are recommended for inclusion in a disaster kit specifically for horses. Make one kit for each horse in your care.

Food and Water:

  • One-week supply of the food or special feed your horse is used to eating. Store in an airtight, waterproof container and rotate every three months to ensure freshness
  • One-week supply of water, stored in a cool, dark location. 50-gallon barrels are good for storing water
  • If tap water is not suitable for humans to drink during a disaster, it is also not suitable for cats to drink
  • Feeding and water buckets

Cleaning and Sanitation:

  • One-week supply of dry shavings to be spread out in the horse's stall
  • Pitch fork, wheelbarrow and/or muck bucket
  • Maintaining a clean environment for horses during a disaster minimizs the threat of disease

Identification:

  • Permanent identification like microchipping, tattoos or freeze branding
  • Temporary, easily-visible identification, such as:
    • Using a livestock crayon and write your name, phone number and address on the horse
    • Using clippers to shave your name, address and phone number in the horse's coat
    • Braiding into the horse's mane an ID tag with your name, address and phone number
  • Temporary identification tag that you can write your temporary location on in case your horse is separated from you
  • Current pictures of you with your horse to prove owership if you are separated
  • Copy of the Bill of Sale or other documentation that can prove ownership

Health and Safety:

  • A two-week supply of any long-term medication your horse is taking
  • Medical records, including vaccination records. Keep your horse up-to-date on vaccinations, especially tetanus, as disasters increase the risk of getting cut
  • A copy of your horse's current Coggins certificate
  • First aid kit containing cotton and cotton rolls, disposable surgical gloves, vet wraps, duct tape, telfa pads, Betadine, instant cold packs, easy boot, diapers, Furazone, scissors, Blue Lotion and tweezers. Ask your veterinarian what else to include.

Housing and Transportation:

  • A horse trailer and a truck that can safely pull it, in case you have to evacuate. Conduct periodic safety checks of the the floor of the trailer, the trailer hitch, tires and lights.
  • Rope to tie out your horse in case you don't have access to a stable. (train your horse to tether before disaster strikes)
  • Halter and lead rope, preferably not made of nylon, which can melt in the event of a fire.  
  • Pre-identified locations where you can evacuate your horses, such as equine centers, boarding stables, racetracks, and fairgrounds.

Becuase horses are so large, significant advanced planning is required to evacuate and shelter them temporarily in case of disaster. If you don't have a trailer or enough trailer space for the number of horses you have, work out ahead of time other arrangements for transporting your horse(s). Identify friends or relatives who could help, or transportation services available for hire.

It takes time to move larger animals. If disaster is imminent, allow plenty of time to get them to safety. Do not wait until the last minute. If you have a horse who is not accustomed to being in a trailer, practice loading and unloading with the horse as part of your regular routine.

Set up a "buddy system" with a fellow horse owner so you can evacuate each other's animals if one of you is out of town when disaster strikes.