September 22, 2009
Protect Your Horse When Disaster Strikes
Tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and firesdevastating natural and man-made disasters can enter our lives at anytime, often without warning. Are you prepared to take care of your horse if tragedy strikes? Emergency situations may require anything from a brief absence from your home to permanent evacuation. Even small-scale events, such as a gas leak, can have a significant impact on your ability to help the animals in your care. It is vital for all horse parents to plan, prepare and prevent.
To help you protect your horse from the dangers of both natural disasters and ordinary, everyday accidents, the ASPCA has provided a list of 10 vital actions you can take.
Here’s a preview of some of our life-saving tips:
Get a Move On
Practice putting a halter on your horse, and get him used to trailering. Periodically, you should practice quickly getting your horse on a trailer for the same reason that schools have fire drillsasking a group of unpracticed children to exit a burning building in a calm fashion is a little unrealistic, as is requesting a new and strange behavior of your horse. Remember, practice makes perfect!
Keep it Clean
Keep a clean and tidy stable and pasture. Remove any hazardous and flammable materials, debris and machinery from around the barn's walkways, entrances and exits. Inspect your grounds regularly and remove dangerous debris in the pasture.
Be a Social Butterfly
Get your horse well-socialized and used to being handled by all kinds of strangers. If possible, invite emergency responders and/or members of your local fire service to interact with your horse. It will be mutually beneficial for them to become acquainted. Firemen’s turnout gear may smell like smoke and look unusual, which many horses find frighteningso ask them to wear their usual response gear to get your horse used to its look and smell.
For a complete list of actions you can take, read our Top 10 Disaster Readiness Tips for Horses.
Do you Twitter? Use this hashtag to tweet on this article: @aspca and #ProtectHorsesInDisasters