Category Archives: Handy Tips

Preparing your horses for a hurricane!

I live on the West Coast.  We have earthquakes but no hurricanes.  So, I’ve never really thought of how to prepare my horses for such an event.

Hurricane Matthew is all over the news and I wondered what those horse owners should be thinking about… so I spent some time researching and found a few very helpful sites.



As I was reading, I noted several wild horse herds that weathered Hurricanes just fine – as long as they could get to higher ground.  Where these horses live, there is no debris (except tree limbs) and no power lines.  It doesn’t flood on high ground.

So, preparing for flying debris, downed power lines and flooding seemed to be the biggest issues.

–Flying debris:  Your horse weighs enough to handle the storm winds, but they could easily be injured by anything that is flying in the air.  Objects can become projectiles at a high rate of speed.  Most equine injuries are from flying objects striking them.

So, pick up your area and your neighbor’s area.  Secure your windows and roofs.  Get some 55 gallon plastic garbage cans and fill them with clean water.  Seal the tops.  Get more plastic bins and store hay – or secure/cover your hay – and bin your grains.  Batten down the hatches.

–Power Lines:  If your horses are anywhere near powerlines, remove them horses in plenty of time.  Make sure you have access to a phone should the lines come down.  Of course, do not go near them.

–Flooding:  If you are in a flood area, arrange to have your horses brought to higher ground.  We all have seen what flooding does to horse’s skin.   Remember, flood waters are not clean waters.  They pick up whatever chemicals are along the way.  The quality of the water surrounding the horses is what injures, sickens or kills them.



Of course, the most important element for hurricane safety is preparedness.

Several websites have great information.



Below is a list from the town of Davie, Florida, linked here.

The Town of Davie is proud of its rural character and equestrian lifestyle.  Davie is home to thousands of horses and wants to help you keep them safe in the event of a HURRICANE!




(Before hurricane season)
(or NOW)


Yard/paddock cleanup – remove all debris that could become flying missiles in a windstorm
Strengthen barn – add hurricane straps to roof beams;  add screws to nailed joints
Stalls – extra sand on dirt floors (flooding); get rubber mats for concrete floors (your horse could be standing there for a long time
 Buy plywood and store for boarding up windows
 Buy 55 gallon garbage cans with lids for water storage – 10 gallons per day per horse – 1 week’s supply
 Buy extra water buckets – 3 per horse
 Buy and keep on hand large (55 gallon), heavy duty garbage bags for waterproof storage of hay and grain
 Prepare first aid kit – discuss with vet
 Make sure your horse has a current coggins & is up-to-date on all inoculations
 Horse trailers – plan a safe location for trailer storage; buy camper tie-downs and store
 Organize an individual evacuation plan for your horse – make arrangements with a friendly farm on higher ground; find a trailer buddy if you don’t have your own transport
 Practice loading your horse in a trailer
 Buy ankle ID bands and dog tags, engraved with your name, address, & a cell phone number or out of area number of a friend (the phone lines may be down)
Organize an emergency repair kit: chain saw & fuel, hammer, nails, screws, screwdrivers, spare fence boards & posts, etc.




 If you have not done some of the advanced preparation, do it now
 Buy 2 weeks supply of hay and grain; store inside in high & dry place; seal in garbage bags
 Fill up garbage cans (indoors – barn/garage) with water and fill all water troughs
 Put repair kit, first aid kit and coggins (your horse may not be rescued without it) in a secure place
 Move horse trailer to safe location and tie it down
 Put all tools & loose objects indoors
 Board up barn windows
 Braid dog tags to top of horse’s tail & attach ankle ID tag
 Put extra bedding in stall
 Fill water buckets – 3 per horse
 Give extra hay – at least 3 pads
 Administer tranquilizer in recommended doses in small amount of grain to horses confined indoors, if needed
 Turn off circuit breakers to barn




 Attend to horse’s medical needs first
 If the barn is flooded, evacuate your horse to higher ground – see back of leaflet for post hurricane evacuation sites
 Give hay and water as needed; no grain unless horse can be turned out
 Clear up debris to make access to road
 Make necessary repairs to barn & paddock area so that area is safe
 Do not turn on circuit breaker unless you are sure all electrical wiring is intact
 When your horse and barn is safe & secure, see if your neighbors need any help




 Tranquilizers – Ace granules can be given orally (30 minutes ahead of time) when calm
 Leg bandages – quilts & wraps for leg protection
 Wounds – elasticon/vet wrap/tape
 Gauze/cotton padding (diaper or sanitary pad)
 Antiseptic/antibiotic  ointment
 For swelling/pain – bute paste
 For colic – banamine paste
 Leave barn circuit breakers on during storm
 Don’t trailer a horse after the winds reach tropical storm force (40 mph)
   Don’t tranquilize horses left outside
   Don’t let your horse stand in water
   Don’t feed moldy hay or grain


No one can guarantee where your horse will be safe. The decision is yours. If you cannot make your property safe because of the condition of the barn, trees, power lines, low lying land prone to flooding, or general condition of the neighboring properties, plan on evacuating your horse at least 48 hours before the storm.


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Click image to go to the original article.

Click image to go to the original article.

Before The Storm

  • Have a disaster plan in place for your family, including your animals, and review and update it yearly.
  • Be sure your horse is current regarding vaccinations for tetanus and the encephalitis viruses (rabies, Eastern, Western, and West Nile).
  • Network a “plan” with the horse or farm animal-owning neighbors in your community (get to know your neighbors, plan a meeting, talk through different scenarios, and identify the local resources for dealing with disaster situations) and be prepared to help one another.
  • Know your parish emergency managers (e.g., Sheriff, Animal Control). They are in charge during a disaster.
  • Be sure that your horse has two forms of identification somewhere on his body: (1) Permanent identification, such as a microchip, tattoo, or brand; and (2) Luggage-type tag secured to the tail and halter (be sure to use a leather halter for break-away purposes). Fetlock tags are useful and can be acquired on-line or from a local farm supply store or you can use a paint stick or non-toxic spray paint. Be sure to place your name, address, and phone number (a phone number for someone out of state is best in the event of local phone outages) legibly on the tags.
  • Store the record for the microchip number (typically the Coggins form) in an accessible location. It’s also recommended to have a second copy of this information with a family member or friend in another location (i.e., out of state) but where it can be easily accessible.
  • Prepare a waterproof emergency animal care kit with all the items you normally use, including medications, salves or ointments, Vetrap, bandages, tape, etc. Place the kit in a safe place where you can easily access it after a storm.
  • Clean up your property before the threat of severe weather arrives. Remove all debris that could be tossed around by storm- and hurricane-force winds.


  • If you plan to evacuate in the event of a storm, have a destination and route(s) mapped out well in advance. It is important to evacuate your horses a sufficient distance from the coast.
  • Locate any large animal shelters in your state well in advance of an emergency; January to March would be good months to prepare this plan.
  • Try to leave a minimum of 72 hours before the arrival of the storm. The worst thing that can happen to you is to get stuck in traffic with a trailer full of horses and a hurricane approaching. Provide your neighbors with your evacuation contact information.

Weathering The Storm

  • The choice of keeping your horse in a barn or an open field is up to you. Use common sense, taking into consideration barn structure, trees, power lines, condition of surrounding properties, and the likelihood of the property and structure to flood. Horses on farms subject to storm surge or flash flooding should be turned out so they don’t become trapped or drown.
  • Remove all items from the barn aisle and walls, and store them in a safe place.
  • Have at least a two- to three-week supply of hay (wrapped in plastic or a waterproof tarp) and feed (stored in plastic water-tight containers). Place these supplies in the highest (out of reach of flood waters) and driest area possible.
  • Fill clean plastic garbage cans with water, secure the tops, and place them in the barn for use after the storm.
  • Have an emergency barn kit containing a chain saw and fuel, hammer(s), saw, nails, screws, and fencing materials. Place this kit in a secure area before the storm hits so that it is easily accessible after the storm.
  • Be sure to have an ample supply of flashlights and batteries and other non-perishable items.
  • Listen to local radio stations in your area. If Internet access is available, access state-run websites that contain accurate status information (i.e., State Police, State University, State Deptartment of Agriculture), and take all cautions/warning seriously and act accordingly.

After The Storm

  • Start early to clean up your property and remove all debris that might have been tossed around by storm and hurricane force winds. Be careful of downed power lines that might be “live” and represent a danger to people and animals.

Visit the Louisiana State Animal Response Team website for more detailed information regarding horse hurricane preparations and other emergency and health-related information.


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EVER WONDER HOW all the horses got to RIO?

Several years ago, I wrote about how the Olympic horses traveled to their destinations.

Well, as time has passed, technology has grown.  I find this complex job fascinating!

Here are two current articles.  One from EVENTING CONNECT and the other from Carrie Waltemeyer.  Plus, I found a video of horses flying on AIR HORSE ONE!


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Click to go to the original story.

Click to go to the original story.

How are the horses travelling to Rio?

By plane of course!

The first group of Olympic horses departed from London Stansted Airport (GBR) today (29 July) on a special cargo plane bound for Rio 2016, marking the start of the Olympic dream for the world’s best equine athletes.

With 34 horses from 10 nations on board, the equine cargo worth multiple millions, was loaded into customized pallets for the almost 12-hour flight aboard an Emirates SkyCargo Boeing 777-F which was organized by Peden Bloodstock left the UK at 15.20 BST.

Eventing horses from Great Britain, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Brazil, Japan, Italy and China are on board Friday’s flight out of Stansted, the first of nine shipments delivering more than 200 horses to Rio International Airport, en route to the Olympic Equestrian Centre in Deodoro Olympic Park.

This highly complex operation involves three hubs in Europe and America: Stansted (GBR), Liege (BEL) and Miami (USA). The competing horses and their riders will represent 43 nations from around the globe in the Olympic disciplines of Dressage, Jumping and Eventing.

The question is, do horses get air miles?

Stansted flight facts:

  • Estimated flight time Stansted – Rio: 11 hours 40 mins
  • Aircraft detail: Emirates SkyCargo Boeing 777-F
  • 17,500 kgs of horses flying from Stansted
  • 515kg is the average weight of an Eventing horse (630kg is the average weight of a Dressage horse and 610kg for Jumping horses)
  • 9,900kg of horse equipment
  • 6,000 kg of feed (doesn’t include feed they’ll eat on the flight)
  • 40 litres of water per horse
  • 34 Eventing horses – representing Great Britain, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Brazil, Japan, Italy and China

Did you know:

Baggage allowance: Just like human flights, each equine passenger has an allocated baggage allowance, by weight – however this includes the horse itself! Plus water, hay, 30kg shavings as bedding, water buckets, feed buckets, tack bags (for saddles and bridles), rugs and any spare equipment.

Each horse is also allowed: 1 large haynet, water and his or her own personal bucket, and a small overnight bag with a spare headcollar (halter) and rug, in case it gets chilly.

In-flight entertainment: What are the horses’ favourite in-flight movies? The Horse Whisperer, Black Beauty, Seabiscuit, National Velvet and its sequel International Velvet.

In-flight meals and drinks: bran mash (a bit like porridge) before they get on the flight, then hay and water throughout the flight. Some like apple juice in their water to make it a bit tastier

Passports: Every horse has a passport but, unlike human athletes, they must be microchipped to travel. They all also have an export health certificate.

In-flight wear: Horses, like people, like to travel in comfort. Some may wear a light rug but generally wear as little as possible to stay cool and comfortable. Most will wear protective leg gear – a bit like flight socks!

Check-in: Flights are a carefully orchestrated operation though Peden Bloodstock, so check-in is a very civilized affair, no fighting for the best seats! All have arrival slots at the airport so that vet checks can be carried out, and loading follows a specific planned order to place all passengers in the right part of the plane.

First Class/Business/Economy: All Olympic horses travel in style, in 112cm wide stalls, with two horses per pallet – the human equivalent of business class. This gives them plenty of room to feel comfortable, but there is the option to upgrade to first class.

Cabin crew: Specially trained staff fly with the horses, looking after their welfare, comfort and safety. They are known as Flying Grooms.

Stallions at the front: Stallions travel at the front of the plane so they aren’t distracted on-flight by the mares.

Is there a doctor on board? This is never an issue if you’re a flying horse, there are always vets on board to ensure happiness and comfort throughout.

Aircraft facts: The horses fly on an Emirates SkyCargo Boeing 777-F aircraft – this is a freight plane, and one especially equipped for the safe and comfortable transport of horses. It has custom-designed horse stalls and controlled temperature zones to ensure maximum comfort and minimal stress for the horses and comes complete with trained and experienced expert personnel who know how to handle horses to safeguard their welfare.

FEI press release


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Around 200 horse and rider combinations will fly to Rio for the Olympic Games.

As athletes converge on Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympic Games, a special group of competitors are taking an unexpected journey to Rio.

Roughly 200 horses will fly to Brazil to compete in equestrian dressage, eventing, and show jumping. The sport is contested at the Deodoro Equestrian Centre, roughly 20 kilometers from the Olympic Village. But before they can compete, the horses must get to Rio.


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“[Horses] have to go through customs, their gear needs to go through TSA and get certified so that it’s clear to fly, which means they’ve gone through a bomb chamber or drug detection unit,” says Tim Dutta, whose company will transport the U.S. Olympic equestrian team.

“Horses have passports just like human beings. Once all of these have gone through the checks, we load the horse in the jet stall and then bring them to the airplane.”

Jet stalls can fit one to three horses, making accommodations similar to choosing between flying first class or economy.

A groomer leads a horse out of a jet stall.
A groomer leads a horse out of a jet stall. Credit: Richard Picken

How do Olympic horses fly? “Only business class,” says Dutta, “These are the best of the best in the world and they’re incredibly valuable and nothing but the best is used for them.”

Horses travel with in-flight groomers and veterinarians to ensure that they stay as comfortable and relaxed as possible.

“My role is to make sure that there’s no problems,” says Richard Picken, a U.S. groomer who estimates that he’s flown with over 1,000 horses in the past fifteen years. “Once you’re up in the air at 36,000 feet there’s not a lot you can do,” says Picken.

In-flight groomers travel with horses to ensure the animals are healthy and safe.
In-flight groomers travel with horses to ensure the animals are healthy and safe. Credit: Richard Picken

In-flight dining options for horses include hay and water with apple juice. But business class seats and high-end dining come at a cost.

“I would say you’re probably looking at, round trip, about $20,000 a horse,” Dutta estimates of a flight from Miami to Rio, the route the U.S. eventing team will take to the Games.

While the cost may seem steep, equestrians are left with few other options. Traveling by boat would take weeks and would make competition nearly impossible for horses.

“They’d lose their fitness,” Picken says. “Like an athlete in a hotel room for three weeks and then going out and told to run the 100m. It’d be impossible.”

“Horses are athletes at the end of the day and flying them is the quickest way to get there and the safest.”


This video is for horses showing in the US… imagine the lack of stress in a 3 hour ride versus a few days…  Wow.

Click image to watch the video of Air Horse ONE.

Click image to watch the video of Air Horse ONE.

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Such luxury but also LACK OF STRESS for high level show horses.


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