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The Cape Fear Equestrian
Hurricane Preparedness for Horses

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September is a busy month for hurricanes and hopefully this information will be helpful.  Though I hope you won't need it!

There are many things you can do to prepare for a hurricane.  Those who have experience in hurricane survival, I hope you will find this information even more helpful.  For those who have not had this enlightening experience,  I hope this information eases your fears and answers some of your questions.

There are many things you can do now to prepare for a hurricane whether we have one or not.  The most important is to update your horses vaccines.  Tetanus boosters are important since the risk of injury to your horse becomes greater.  Encephalitis and west nile vaccines are very important as well.  These diseases are carried by mosquitoes and conditions for mosquitoes are enhanced with the moisture and humidity left behind after a hurricane.  Since these diseases can kill both humans and horses they should not be taken lightly.

Decide how you plan to identify your horse and purchase the materials now.  Leather halters properly fitted with a luggage tag attached is probably the most used method.  The tag should contain both identifying and notifying information.  A second tag can be braided into the horses tail as well.  Be sure it is braided in and not tied around, since this could cut the circulation off of the tail.  Neck and fetlock ID bands can also be purchased for this purpose.  Be sure you have identifying information on hand incase your horse is lost in the storm.  A picture taken with a family member, copy of coggins test or registration papers and other identifying information should be kept in a zip-lock bag in a safe place. 

Purchase these items now, they are inexpensive and useful even if we don't have a hurricane.  Camper tie-downs, to secure trailers and other equipment. Plastic trash cans, for water and feed.  Items for a water proofable first aid kit. Items for an emergency barn kit; chain saw and fuel, hammer and nails and extra fencing materials.

As a storm threatens our coasline, last minute preparations can begin.  Don't wait too long, when the storm is 24 hours away you should get started. Clean the property of all debris that may be tossed around by the high winds.  Consider barn structure, trees, power lines and the condition of surrounding property when deciding on whether to keep your horse in or out.  Remove items from the aisle and walls, fill trash cans with water, place feed and hay in containers or wrap in plastic, and place in a high and dry area.

Down to the last hours, the storm is approaching, your property is properly prepared, now its time to prepare your horse and head home.  Place the prepared  identifying information on your horse.  It could be a while before you can get back, so be sure to leave plenty of hay and water.  Turn off the circuit breakers to the barn.  Power surges can cause sparks before, during and after the storm.  Leave the power off until you are sure the power has been restored to the area, that way you'll be there if something is wrong.

When the strom is over, you may carefully leave your house and see to your animals.  Be on the lookout for fallen wires, live electric wires could be all around you. When your horses need have been seen to, you may carefully start cleaning up your property.   If your horse has missed a few meals, don't try and make them up.  Stress and the drop in barometric levels can easily trigger colic.  The best thing to do is let them miss one or two more, feeding only hay. 

Ocean

Living on the coast has its ups and downs.  Hurricanes being the major pitfall.

Planning to evacuate?  Your evacuation destination and routes should already be planned out.  Plan to leave at least 48 hours before the arrival of  a storm.  Hurricanes pack powerful winds, capable of toppling loaded tractor trailers.  You don't want to be stuck with a loaded horse trailer in a hurricane.  If you choose to leave take all of your animals.  It could be a week or more before you can get back.  You should take the same preparations in readying your property as if you were staying.  Your neighbors don't want your debris blowing on their property!

 

When You Need Help!

Click on When You Need Help! For evacuation shelters and services available after a storm hits.