Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays most equine owners from caring for their charges, but sometimes severe weather makes it difficult. Ask equine owners though, and they will tell you that the key to surviving any storm is preparedness. When thinking of preparation for big storms, most people think of tornadoes. But there are other weather phenomena out there: hurricanes, blizzards, floods, and the basic summer storm. What can we do to ensure that our animals, as well as ourselves, are kept as safe as possible?
Most of us will choose to ride out the storm, but that doesn’t mean we sit and do nothing. We must become weather aware! Sign up for free weather notifications. Be informed and prepare accordingly. One’s personal safety should be a priority. If you have not had time to prepare your equines, you should take care of yourself and seek shelter. Equines sense stress and may become even more difficult to move which will put yourself in harm’s way. If you are informed though, you have a better chance of keeping both yourself and your herd safe.
Are you planning to evacuate? Make sure you have a place to go. When you are alerted to an approaching dangerous storm, either move your equines prior to the storm’s arrival or if it is an unplanned evacuation, move your trucks and trailers to open areas where trees cannot fall on them. This is not the time for equine loading practice; make sure they will load easily so that you can move quickly.
There are steps you can take if you plan to stay: fill all water tubs and buckets in case of a power outage, and make sure you have at least a three-day supply of hay, feed, and medication. It is a good idea to make sure your equine is up to date on its vaccines especially its tetanus vaccination.
Some people leave their equines inside a barn, and some leave them outside. No matter what you decide, authorities recommend that you paint contact information on your equines’ bodies or braid it into their manes or tails using luggage tags. Some people attach freezer bags containing their information to their equines’ halters, but do not leave any halters on your animals unless they are leather or breakaway. Keep copies of your equines’ identification papers and photos in several locations in waterproof containers. Micro-chipping your equine can also be invaluable in getting your equine safely back to you after a storm.
You probably already have a first aid kit. Make sure it is up to date and stocked in case you need to provide your equine immediate assistance. Keeping other items on hand in case of emergency is a good idea too such as extra halters, lead ropes, a flashlight with fresh batteries, leather gloves, a pocketknife, along with duct tape.
After the weather clears, check to see that all equines are there. Inspect each for injuries. Check the fences for damage. Look for, but do not touch, downed power lines. Clear fields of debris, and in the event there is damage, take plenty of pictures for insurance purposes.
Do your due diligence in keeping your equines safe. Preparation is key in severe weather. Then no matter the weather, you can almost always be assured of a positive outcome.
Prepare your barn, prepare your pasture,
prepare your equine, and prepare yourself.
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