Poll Recap: Equine Evacuation Plans
If a natural disaster threatens your farm or facility, do you have a plan in place if you need to get your horses out of harm’s way? Whether your circumstances require planning for the occasional incidence of flash-flooding or larger disasters such as hurricanes and wildfires, having an evacuation plan for your horses can mean the difference between life and death.

In last week’s online poll, we asked our readers if they have an evacuation plan in place for their horses in the event of a natural disaster. More than 250 people responded, and we’ve tallied the results!

Of the 263 respondents, 137 (52%) said they have an evacuation plan in place for their horses, while the remaining 126 respondents (48%) did not.

Additionally, more than 80 people commented about why they do or do not have evacuation plans in place for their horses:

Several people commented that they do have an evacuation plan for their horses:

  • “Wildfire is our only worry. We will evacuate to predetermined sites if time permits.”
  • “Our stables have a fire evacuation plan in place as wildfires are our most likely disaster.”
  • “I live in Florida. We get hurricanes”
  • “I have my horse trailer hooked up to the truck and ready to go.”
  • “My horse has a brass name tag on her halter (like the dogs), and the truck and trailer always stocked and ready just in case.”
  • “Of course I do. Not to is not an option.”
  • “If we have to leave, they leave, too!”
  • “Unfortunately it took getting hit by a tornado to come up with one, but we have one now!”
  • “Though our evacuation plan is situation-dependent, as wildfire is unpredictable, we have a plan!”
  • “We have a truck and horse trailer and know where the evacuation shelters are for large animals.”
  • “I’ve been through too many hurricanes and tropical storms not to have one!”
  • “Yes. Three to five days would usually be the longest evacuation. Floods and tornados are common in our area.”
  • “I have a plan at the farm where I board horse”
  • “I live in Houston, Texas, and we have hurricanes and tropical storms.”
  • “Yes, but depending on the emergency we may shelter in place. Primary concern is wildfires.”
  • “We are surrounded by forest so we worry about wildfire. We also have plan for power loss.”
  • “I live in Southwest Florida. My only plan is to move my horse and Mini to a larger pasture with less trees”
  • “Hurricanes! I had to leave last year. This year we will be prepared.”
  • “We live in a flood are and are prone to floods. We have an area where our horses can be taken.”

Others commented that they do not have an evacuation plan in place for their horses:

  • “No. All I worry about is wildfires (not common here) but I have no trailer to transport them.”
  • “The natural disaster my area is most prone to is tornado. Don’t get enough warning to evacuate.”
  • “No floods, tornados, hurricanes, etc., in the desert. Just heat!”
  • “We’re highest point for miles and the horses all over 25 years old.”
  • “I live in farm country, higher elevation upstate New York. There’s not much threat of natural disaster.”
  • “Not sure! We bought a trailer for fire evacuations but really don’t have a set plan.”
  • “Thankfully, we live in an area where catastrophic natural disasters are extremely rare.”
  • “I don’t plan on evacuating, I will stay where it is safe and controlled.”
  • “We don’t right now, but we probably should!”

Some people said they do not have evacuation plan in place, but have options available in case they have to evacuate their horses:

  • “I live in an area where there is no chance of flooding, but I do have neighbors farms to use if needed.”
  • “In Maine, I have not experienced natural disasters yet. I do have a trailer in case of emergency.”
  • “While not having solid plans, I do know what I would pack and how I would pack to be on the road in 30 minutes.”
  • “We do not have a set plan in place, just a general idea. We don’t have a lot of possible disasters.”
  • “Not in a disaster prone area, but have a trailer and will take them with us.”

A few respondents shared equine evacuation challenges they have:

  • “I don’t own trailer. I’d walk him out in best direction to safe area (depending on the nature of the disaster).”
  • “I honestly don’t know where to go.”
  • “We have more horses than room on our trailer; so it would require multiple trips.”
  • “I can’t get both horses in my stock trailer at once and no money to buy new trailer.”
  • “With 24 horses and limited time, finding a place to put them all is almost impossible. Will have to depend on help”
  • “Our problem is where to evacuate to. Our friends with pasture space are equally vulnerable.”

While others left general comments:

  • “I took an emergency rescue/evacuation course from University of Guelph. Gold knowledge.”
  • “Thanks to the British Columbia wildfire situation here this summer, I realized how important one is!”
  • “I live on the Florida coast and have evacuated in the past.”
  • “A well-built local equestrian center offers stalls to local horse owners in the event of hurricanes.”
  • “I did not consider until watching Texas.”
  • “Why would you not have an evacuation plan? How does one leave horses and pets behind?”
  • “If there is a natural disaster and you love your horses, their safety is a priority, too.”

Are you and your horse ready for an emergency evacuation? Test your preparedness and learn potentially life-saving tricks with our interactive guide at TheHorse.com/Evacuation!

You can also find additional information on finding housing for horses during evacuations, what to include in an emergency evacuation kit, safely evacuating from wildfires, navigating natural disasters with horses, preparing for a hurricane, and other disaster preparation resouces at TheHorse.com!

This week, we want to know: Do you live in an area where venomous snakes are a concern? Vote now, and  please tell us about your experiences and if a snake has ever bitten your horse at TheHorse.com/polls!

The results of our weekly polls are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter, which offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters on our homepage and look for a new poll on TheHorse.com.