EQUUS - - Eq Conversati­ons -

The ap­pear­ance of a trop­i­cal storm on weather maps makes ev­ery horse owner in its path worry, and right­fully so. Even if it never reaches hur­ri­cane strength, a trop­i­cal storm can be de­struc­tive and deadly. Be­gin your prepa­ra­tions when skies are clear so that when the weather turns dicey you’ll have less to worry about. Most of the fol­low­ing steps are good man­age­ment prac­tices in gen­eral:

1. Tend to your trees. Trim over­hang­ing limbs and cut down un­healthy and weak trees that could dam­age struc­tures and fences or block ac­cess to your drive­way if they were to fall.

2. Re­pair hinges and gate latches. Worn hard­ware can break in high winds, al­low­ing horses to es­cape. Pe­ri­od­i­cally in­spect all of the clo­sures on your prop­erty and re­pair or re­place faulty ones promptly. Like­wise, try to get to re­pairs to fences, roofs and build­ings with­out de­lay.

3. Or­ga­nize your barn aisle. Keep the aisle clear of any­thing that could be­come a mis­sile in high winds or im­pede an evac­u­a­tion. This in­cludes stall muck­ing tools, sad­dle racks and groom­ing kits.

4. Pre­pare for power out­ages. Head­lamps of­fer a hands-free al­ter­na­tive to flash­lights when work­ing in the dark with horses. But it’s im­por­tant to de­sen­si­tize your horses to them ahead of time---some horses are spooked by a mov­ing light. Also, con­sider in­stalling a gen­er­a­tor or at least ac­quir­ing a por­ta­ble model so you can pump well wa­ter if the power goes out.

5. Es­tab­lish an evac­u­a­tion plan. Lay out how you will trans­port your horses and where you will take them. Be sure to ac­count for con­tin­gen­cies, such as traf­fic or blocked routes. Keep an ex­tra set of sup­plies in your trailer, in­clud­ing a first-aid kit, ex­tra buck­ets, hal­ters and lead ropes, along with copies of health pa­pers and proof of own­er­ship, such as pho­to­graphic doc­u­men­ta­tion of your horses and prop­erty.

Con­sider adding a lit­tle Ga­torade to your horse’s wa­ter from time to time: In the event of a dis­as­ter or drought, he may hes­i­tate to drink un­fa­mil­iar wa­ter. But if he is ac­cus­tomed to the fla­vor of Ga­torade, it can be used to en­cour­age him to drink wa­ter re­gard­less of its source.

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