Wildfires, mudslides, floods—you name it—there are a variety of emergency situations that could require you to evacuate your horses. That’s why it's crucial to have solid plans in place for a safe evacuation.
Here are five tips to get you started.
Make & Share Your Plan
Decide where you will be sheltering your horse or horses during the natural disaster or other emergency. Make sure you have your route planned and your vehicle ready, and then share that plan with everyone living in your home and anyone who may care for your horses in your absence. Be sure you have at least two routes to get to your evacuation site in case of road closures. Plan to begin transport as soon as authorities issue an evacuation of your area, if not before.
Prepare a Kit
Put together an evacuation kit for your horse that includes a checklist of what tack you will need to bring with you, paperwork proving your ownership and health of your horse (branding papers, microchip papers, photographs, veterinary records, Coggins test) and an emergency first aid kit. Consider teaming up with a neighbor for evacuation; pooling resources such as a trailer and supplies may make the process more efficient.
Teach your horse to load in your trailer under calm conditions, since you want him to be on autopilot in an emergency situation. Ideally, you will practice loading your horse into the trailer in which you plan to evacuate him—and make sure your evacuation trailer has room for all your horses. Once inside the trailer, tie your horse or horses, to keep them from hurting themselves or others during transport.
Take at least one bale of hay and a bucket for water—more if you have multiple horses—as well as any special foods for senior and special-needs horses. You may not have immediate access to hay and buckets wherever you are sheltering your horse.