We’ve all heard it, but I’ve learned it the hard way: A little bit of preparation can make all the difference when bad weather arrives. If you are facing a hurricane or wildfire, which usually come with some warning, it’s best to evacuate with your animals. Here’s what you can do to prepare:
1. Make a list of farms that offer temporary stabling within 100 miles of your property and keep your truck and trailer in good working order. If you have more horses than trailer space, line up help for evacuation in the event you need it.
2. Make sure you can catch, lead and load your horses so you don’t waste time during a crisis. With wildfires particularly, you may not get much warning and wasted minutes can affect your ability to escape. (If you evacuate, make sure you take all insurance and loan information with you as you will need that paperwork if your property is damaged.)
3. Secure loose outdoor items, like lawn furniture, building materials, and jumps and trail course obstacles, so they don’t become projectiles in strong winds.
4. In case evacuation isn’t necessary or feasible, decide ahead of time whether you want your horses inside the barn or out in the pasture during severe weather. Some people insist horses are safer in the barn where they’re protected from flying objects; others worry about the barn collapsing or catching fire. When making your decision, evaluate your barn and the potential threats for your horses.