Hurricane season is always a stressful time of year for horse owners. Here are some helpful tips to keep your equine safe and help you prepare.
Before the storm
Core vaccines: (Tetanus, Eastern/Western Equine Encephalomyelitits, West Nile Virus, and Rabies) All horses should receive core vaccines at least twice a year to help protect against diseases that are contagious. EEE/WEE and West Nile Virus are both transmitted by mosquitoes, and with hurricanes come rain and an increase in mosquitoes. Tetanus is also important vaccine if your horse gets cut during the storm.
Coggins test: Making sure your horses have an up to date negative coggins test. This is important in case of evacuation across the state line or to a shelter.
Identification: Properly identifying your horse before the storm with your name and phone number can be helpful if your horse gets loose.
- Break away halter with name and contact info
- Dog tag with name and phone number braided into the horse mane not tail
- Shave your phone number into the side of your horse
Pasture or barn: Should horses be placed in a barn or in a pasture during a hurricane?
The correct answer is horses should be placed in a large pasture during hurricanes. Horses are flight animals meaning when they feel threated they run to get away from danger. Horse owners may try to place their horse in a stall to protect them from flying objects, but placing your horse in a barn during a hurricane can be very dangerous for many reasons.
- If your horse is in a stall during the hurricane and a tornado comes, the horse is trapped and cannot escape.
- If the winds are too high the wind can collapse the barn on top of your horse or blows a tree over onto your barn.
- Flooding is also a major concern when your horse is locked in a stall.
- Please do not bring your horse in your house during the hurricane; this can be very dangerous. Tile and garage floors are very slippery and your horse can break their leg if they slip and fall.
Placing your horse in a safe large pasture where they have plenty of room to run from danger is always the best option for horse owners.
- Make sure to place horses in a high, dry pasture
- Do not place horses on electric fence pastures during the storm
- Do not place horses in pastures located under power lines
- Check fences before the storm
Getting your pastures ready: Secure all movable object in barns, pastures, and around the house. Burn existing burn piles to decrease debris. Park horse trailer and tractors away from trees.
Emergency first aid kit: Keeping a first aid kit on hand at all times is important in case your veterinarian can not get to you after the storm. Your first aid kit should have Banamine, Bute, thermometer, betadine scrub, bandage material, duct tape, and scissors.
Water and feed: Make sure to fill all water troughs and keep extra water on hand. A generator is important to run wells and fill water troughs. Keep at least 3 days’ worth of grain and 7 days’ worth of hay per horse in case the local feed stores are closed after the storm.
After the storm
- After the storm has passed, check all horses for injuries and contact your local veterinarian if you need assistance. If you notice a missing horse please contact your local Animal Control.
- Walk pastures and check fences. Remove trees and branches from pastures.
- Document and take pictures of damage done to your barn.
If you have any questions please contact your County Extension Office to speak with a Livestock Agent