Guidelines For Horse Owners
You should be aware that
actions you take before, during and after a natural or man made disaster could
save your horses' life.
Plan Ahead Before a Disaster Occurs:
Familiarize yourself with
the types of disasters that can occur in your area and develop a plan of
action to deal with each type. Some disasters to consider are hurricanes,
earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, severe winter weather, fire, nuclear power
plant accidents with release of radioactivity to the environment and hazardous
Survey your property to find
the best location to confine your animals in each type of disaster. Check for
alternate water sources in case power is lost and pumps and automatic waterers
are not working after the disaster.
If you think you might need
to evacuate your horses from your property determine several locations the
animals could be taken, several routes to these locations and the entry
requirements for each. Make arrangements in advance with the owner/operators
to accept your horses and be sure to contact them before taking the horses
there. Locations that could be used for evacuation are private stables, race
tracks, fair grounds, equestrian centers, private farms and humane societies.
Permanently identify each
horse by tattoo, microchip, brand, tag, photograph (4 views-front, rear, left
and right side) and/or drawing. Record its age, sex, breed, and color with
your record of this identification. Keep this information with your important
papers. If not identified at the time of the disaster in the above manner,
paint or etch hooves, use neck bands or paint telephone number on side of
Be sure your horses'
vaccination and medical records are written and up-to-date. As a minimum, each
horse should have a current Coggins test documented. Check with your
veterinarian as to what immunizations are advisable. Have documentation of any
medicines with dosing instructions, special feeding instructions and the name
and phone number of the veterinarian who dispensed the drug.
Place a permanent tag with
your name and phone number, and the horse's name on each animal's halter.
Consider in your plan the
prioritizing of which animals will be saved, if all cannot be saved. Let all
farm personnel know of your plans in case you are not there when a disaster
Prepare an emergency kit
trash barrel with lid
resistant non nylon leads and halters
radio and extra batteries
Have trailers and vans
maintained, full of gas and ready to move at all times. Acclimate your horse
to trailers and vans.
Remember during emergencies
you are taking minimum actions to assure the animal's survival. Have enough
fresh water and hay on hand for 48-72 hours.
During disasters you may
wear different or unusual clothing, so condition your horses to strange
appearances ahead of time.
Consider your insurance
needs and be sure you have all the coverage on your property and animals you
may need and that claims will be paid for the type of disasters you may
PRACTICE YOUR PLAN.
At the Time of the Disaster:
STAY CALM! FOLLOW YOUR PLAN!
Listen to the Emergency
Broadcasting System (EBS) station on your portable radio for information about
how to locate horse care providers offering services during the disaster and
any special instructions about actions you should take to protect your
If you leave your home, take
your horses' immunizations and health records with you. Records kept at home
may be damaged during the disaster.
If you evacuate and take
your horses with you, take all your immunization and health records, your
emergency kit and sufficient hay and water for a minimum 48 hour period. Call
ahead, if possible, to make sure that your emergency location is still
If you must leave your
horses unattended at home, leave them in the area most appropriate for the
type of disaster you previously selected such as high ground in a flood. Leave
enough water for the length of time you expect to be gone. Do not trust
automatic watering systems in case power is lost.
After the Disaster:
Be careful about leaving
your horses unattended outside after the disaster. Familiar scents and
landmarks may be altered and the horses could easily become confused and lost.
It is best to place them in a secure area. Be sure fences are intact as some
may be damaged by the disaster. Check fences and pastures for sharp objects
that could injure horses. Be aware of downed power lines, raccoons, skunks and
other wild animals may have entered the area and could present a danger to
If any horses are lost
during the disaster contact veterinarians, humane societies, stables, race
tracks, equestrian centers, surrounding farms and other facilities that might
house animals. Listen to the EBS for information about groups that may be
accepting lost animals.
If you find someone else's
horse after the disaster, isolate it from your animals until it is returned or
can be examined by a veterinarian.
Use extreme caution when
approaching and handling unknown or frightened horses. Work in pairs when
handling strange horses.
Check with your
veterinarian, the state veterinary medical association and the Department of
Agriculture for information about any disease outbreaks that may have occurred
as a result of the disaster.
Be prepared to identify and
document ownership when claiming lost horses.
security measures on your farm to protect assets from looters, exploiters.
This information prepared
Maryland Department of Agriculture
Maryland Veterinary Medical Association
Maryland Emergency Management Agency
Maryland Horse Council
Maryland Cooperative Extension Service
Maryland Racing Commission
Maryland Jockey Club