Pre­pare for the Worst

Here’s how you can keep your horse as safe as pos­si­ble in the event of dis­as­ter.

Horse & Rider - - Contents - BY BARB CRABBE, DVM

“FRAN­TIC EVAC­U­A­TION IN CAL­I­FOR­NIA LEFT AN­I­MALS TO FACE WILD­FIRE ALONE.”

The 2015 New York Times ar­ti­cle head­line that caught my eye de­scribed horses wan­der­ing down state high­ways, dazed and in­jured. One wan­der­ing horse was struck by a ve­hi­cle and killed, and at least three died in a pas­ture due to smoke or fire they couldn’t es­cape. One horse owner re­ported hav­ing a trailer big enough to haul all but two of his horses; he had to pick which two to leave be­hind. A dev­as­tat­ing choice. Some had no choice but to leave their horses when they had to flee their homes. Would they have had a bet­ter chance if they’d had a pre­ar­ranged evac­u­a­tion plan? Pos­si­bly. When it comes to dis­as­ter plan­ning, there are three im­por­tant ques­tions you must an­swer: Where will your horses go? How will you get them there? And how will you find them when it’s safe to re­cover them? I’ll help you an­swer those three ques­tions. First, I’ll ex­plain the types of nat­u­ral dis­as­ters you’re likely to en­counter to help you bet­ter pre­pare so you can un­der­stand when and why you might be forced to make the de­ci­sion to evac­u­ate. Then, I’ll out­line a 10-step farm-evac­u­a­tion plan so you’ll be ready to move. →

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