The floods in Australia: What to think about during high water emergencies!

A distressed reader from Australia sent in a list of Equine Flood Preparedness.   The distraught woman is Down Under, watching her friends a family (and herself) struggle with their homes and animals — and she felt helpless.  The only thing she could think of to do was post a list for others so they wouldn’t suffer what she and her countrymen are suffering.

I thought this was a lovely gesture on her part and I wanted to pass on her gift onto you.  Maybe all of us can keep the flooded families in our prayers.


This was titled, Tsunami

This is a two story building... the family is on the roof.


OK, we might not be realizing the HUGE amount of water over a HUGE amount of space in Australia.  This flood is the size of California, Nevada and Maine COMBINED…  Imagine having to rescue people and animals from this large of an area!  Imagine the amount of coordination and expertise needed.  This is a way, way, way larger area than the floods of New Orleans.  (I’m not downplaying the devastation, just comparing.)

Watch this video… You will see a boat, piloted by a charitable Vietnam Veteran who didn’t know these horses, saving a thrashing cow and you will see horses hanging onto the roof of their barn (who were saved although injured).

This is a swimming horse... Click to watch the short video of the devastation. The horses in this video, laying their heads on the roofs were saved!


This video really touched me.  You don’t realize until the end that the man comforting the horse and the horse don’t even know each other!  The horse is confused and breaks away to swim towards the government helpers where the cows are on higher ground.  When the horse finds land, the government worker asks the man if it is his horse.  He says, No.  And the rescuer says that this must be that horse’s lucky day.

This man is saving a horse he doesn't even know...Click to watch!


Here is a link of news station videos from Australia.  If you go to the third video down on the right, you will hear the story of the dramatic rescue of the horses who were hanging onto the roof in the above video.


The distressed reader sent me this link from her local webnews.  It appears that the government agency that deals with Emergencies (SES) has stepped in and is doing the best that they can to rescue people and their animals:

Published on Wednesday, January 5, 2011
More updates on horse rescues during Queensland floods…  The Australian Stock Horse Society’s Facebook page has reported that the Chinchilla SES Boat Crew assisted in saving horses on Warregold Stock Horse Stud when 95% of their property went under water. WARREGOLD CINDY was stranded on a dry knob in the rising floodwaters. The SES rescued Cindy by swimming her over 1km to dry land, and saved a number of other horses with their boat crew. Warregold Stock Horse Stud are indebted to the SES for their persistence and hard work.

The mare being escorted by the SES boat.


Obviously, this region, although vast (the size of California, Nevada and Maine COMBINED!) is far less populated than the US.  I found this news article refreshing… People have ideas they hope to implement.   And they thought AHEAD and flew in more inspectors (helpers) before the airports closed.

Overhead view

“A lot did manage to do that,” he said, “some, however, did not have high ground available to which stock could be moved.  It is too early to give any indication of livestock losses in the flood, which has inundated an area the size of California, Nevada and Maine combined”.  He added, “I know in a lot of cases [owners] thought they had gotten [their livestock] on to what was higher ground but then that ground went under as well.”

Mr Beatty has advised that in Rockhampton, the RSPCA had set up a foster scheme through which people who had not been forced to evacuate could foster pets for a time.  However, it was unclear whether the scheme could ultimately meet the demand in the face of the rising Fitzroy.  The temporary animal shelter set up in Rockhampton is full – with 82 cats and dogs now in residence.  “The problem is some people would be happy to foster pets but the body corporates in some of these apartments and town houses are just saying ‘no pets’,” says Mr Beatty, “so we’d like them to show a bit of compassion to be honest. It is a fairly volatile and difficult situation, surely they can relax the rules for a couple of weeks?”

As water levels in Queensland continue to rise, with peaks not expected in some areas until tomorrow, RSPCA spokesman Michael Beatty has confirmed that inspectors helped rescue around 20 horses in the last week, some forced to swim behind boats to escape the rising waters.

Rockhampton, one of the major danger areas for rising waters, normally has only one inspector, however, the RSPCA flew in several others before the airport was closed – Rockhampton is currently closed to all transport – with road, rail and air access points all flooded.

Beautiful photo under horrible conditions


1)  Don’t dilly dally.  EVACUATE.  Don’t leave the horses in any barn or paddock.  If you cannot take them with you, let them free.  HOWEVER…

2)  Before you let them free, REMOVE all blankets and halters or anything that could get caught when they are swimming

3)  BRAID their information into their mane or forelock or tail.  You can use a baggie with string through the top or write with waterproof pen onto a wider ribbon and weave that in tightly.

4)  DISCONNECT any electrical fencing.  Get them out of any area with barbed wire.

5)  STORE FEED in a dry place.  Right now, the flooded towns have a shortage of hay as it was all ruined.

6)  If they aren’t microchipped or branded, take excellent photos.  Locate their papers and bring the papers with you.

7)  MARK you horse with waterproof but safe colors.  One owner wrote her phone number on her horse’s coat with zinc oxide!


I’m posting two links which are Flood Bulletins from Australia.

1)  FLOOD AND YOUR HORSE (click here)  I’ve shown this brochure in an image but you can click on the link to download it.  I found the paragraph about sanitation and carcass disposal vital even if it is a bit gruesome. Someone has to talk about these things and give helpful information.

Brochure on floods and your horse. Click to enlarge

2)  FLOOD AND YOUR HORSE PROPERTY (click here)  I’ve pictured this brochure as well but you can click to download it for yourselves.  I found this article interesting if you have crops or pastureland.  I would have never thought about soil testing…

Brochure #2. Click to enlarge


I found two FB pages that originated in Australia.  Both of these pages are following the events.

Facebook 1:  This one is a helpful listing of all pages devoted to this disaster.

List of Qld Flood Facebook Groups and Pages  (link)

Facebook 2:  This one has videos and dramatic stories.

Australian flood emergency links 2011  (link)


The lovely reader from Australia who initially sent me the idea for this blog just sent this to me!  I love that one woman identified her horse with Zinc Oxide!  Smart!  Here is what our good reader Down Under had to say tonight just before I posted this:

The horse rescues around Brisbane and North Queensland as well as Horse Welfare Australia are asking for donations to help horses to go to the Queensland RSPCA. Our RSPCA relies on donations because they receive very little government support. So if you end up writing the post, that is how readers can help.

RSPCA donations can be made at

Just to let you know too if you’re interested we found 12 of my friends horses (very sadly, a mare and 2 foals are still missing), 9 of those 10 Appaloosa’s I wrote about in the first post have survived! The owner was rescued from the roof of his by helicopter but luckily he set them free before the water came and they were waiting for him at his gate when he could get back to the property!

Now we are just waiting for the water to recede and fingers crossed there will be more happy endings (a horse was found with its owners phone number on its rump written in suncreen zinc!).


I liked this video because the owners of some of these horses are calling to them from higher ground.  The horses perk up and come running.  I’m thinking the horses didn’t really want to brave the rushing waters to get to the other side… but the voice of Mom really helped coax them.  A nice video to end this unsettling story.

Click to watch! They hear their human calling to them...

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!


To learn all about the Bucket Fund and to donate the the ‘Saved from Slaughter Orphan Foals’, please click on the photo (photo credit, Trish Lowe)

Click to help the Orphan Foals

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!

2 comments have been posted...

  1. Rebecca Gimenez

    I really appreciate you publishing this site – from those of us on the other side of the world we wondered and prayed for all the animals as well as the people that are being caught in this amazing phenomenon… please stay SAFE!!!!!!!!

    Thank you for the amazing and sobering videos….

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