As Hurricane Florence approaches the east coast, we have received numerous calls as to how to protect your horse during this storm. With this in mind we have listed some helpful hints that our customers have passed along to us to help you prepare for Florence. Also be sure to consult with your veterinarian and/or barn manager for any suggestions.
Your horse should have 2 forms of identification (in case one is lost). Have proof of ownership, including recent photos in the event that your horse becomes loose and you must claim it. Outfit your horse in a well fitted breakaway halter (a regular halter can trap a horse and possibly strangle them!) with contact information (a luggage tag, or a zip lock bag secured with duct tape to the halter). A halter can also be helpful to catch your horse if it becomes loose. A luggage tag, surveyor's tape, or a cow ear tag braided into the mane or tail with your contact info marked with a waterproof sharpie is helpful as well. Livestock markers can be used to write your phone number on the horses’s hindquarters. Fly masks can also be used to help protect your horse from flying debris.
Be sure that you have an emergency first aid kit ready, accessible and waterproof. Have any medications your horse will need and ensure that you have enough to get you through the storm and the aftermath. Some items that should be included are bandages (leg wraps and quilts), antiseptics, scissors, topical antibiotic ointments, tranquilizers and pain releivers (bute, banamine, etc.). Your veterinarian can help advise you as what you should stock in your first aid kit. A flashlight with extra batteries, extra halters & lead ropes, clean towels and fly spray & swat may also be helpful.
Power loss can occur with hurricanes, and many farms may find that they are unable to provide water to their horses. Each horse should have 12-20 gallons of water stored per day. Fill all available water troughs. Be creative with your water resources! Line garbage cans and various storage bins or muck buckets with plastic bags and fill them with water. If your water is supplied by a well, consider a generator to run the well until power is restored.
Store as much feed and hay as possible (seven days is best) per horse. It is very possible that roads will be closed because of down power lines and trees and that you will not have access to feed for a period of time after the storm. Cover hay with water proof tarps and store on pallets. Keep grain in water tight containers in the event of flooding.
Tidy your farm and secure all moveable objects. Remove all items from hallways, secure jumps, lawn furniture, etc. Place all large vehicles/tractors/trailers in an open field where trees cannot fall on them. Turn off electrical power to the barn to avoid any potential fire hazards with power surges or lightning strikes. Secure all gates. Ensure that all emergency tools are working properly and readily available. These include: Chain saws (and fuel), hammer & nails, fence repair materials, wire cutters, a fire extinguisher and duct tape.