Guest Author - Kim Wende
Horse owners should be prepared for a disaster no matter where you live. Fires, tornadoes, hurricanes or earthquakes can happen any time. While you may not be in a flood zone there can be a fire any place any time.
During a disaster if you have to turn your horse loose for safety reasons, here are some things you can do, so they have a better chance of being returned to you.
*Have a stall sign with your horse's name and an emergency phone number where you can be reached 24-hours a day
*Write your horse's name and your phone number on their hoof with a permanent marker
*Get your horse micro-chipped
*Clip dog tags with their information into their manes
*Put reflective identification fetlock bands or collars on them
*Use livestock markers to write on your horse's body
I would not advise leaving a halter on in case it gets caught. If the halter does not break after getting caught, it can cause severe damage or even death. There are several products on the market now to help get your horses back in case of loss during an emergency.
Make sure your trailer is always in good working condition as you never know when you might need it. Your horse should load and unload easily this is critical and could mean the difference between life and death. If your horse is only used to a stock trailer make sure they will also load into a two-horse trailer as you never know that may be the only trailer available.
Make sure your horse can be loaded by anyone. Do your best to stay calm as your horse is going to be nervous in an emergency situation and the calmer you are the better it will help your horse.
If you board your horse ask if they have an emergency evacuation plan in place. If they do, ask for details and find out if the other owners know about the plan. If the answer is no, then be proactive and see if you can help prepare an evacuation plan.
You could have a safety day where everyone practiced loading and unloading the horses. Doing this would give everyone a good idea of whose horses needed more work on loading or unloading. Furthermore, make sure you have an emergency 24-hour number listed on your stall.
Make sure you have an emergency location in place where you could take your horse such as a friend's house, neighbors or another facility. Know your exit routes so that you can be prepared in an emergency. I hope this never happens to you, but by doing this, you can rest a little easier.