It is fire season around here.
Today I was reading about all of the fires in Nevada which is just up over the hill about an hour or so. Between me and Nevada is the Sierra Nevada mountain range. It is full of trees. Timber.
Of course, a huge Forest fire is just one kind of fire I worry about. To be honest, the woods around here are known for their illegal drug stills (true, sadly) which explode. One erupted two years ago. The fire engine were in my driveway – blocking it. They told me it was too late to evacuate. Luckily, nothing burned except the perp’s house because the wonderful helicopter ‘dousing unit’ had plenty of water from a neighbor’s pond.
However, fires happen. I hate the idea. It scares me. Especially with 12 horses here.
So I started thinking about very quick methods to ID my horses – just in case. Gulp.
IRIS RECORDS, MICROCHIPPING AND PHOTOS.
Iris scans, microchips and photos (4 sides) are excellent methods of identifying your horse. But, many of us have not chipped, scanned or photographed our horses. And, after your lost horse is found, it takes a scanner to read both the microchip and the iris. So, you may know that the horse n front of you is yours – but the person that has the horse may not believe you…
Which is why you want to make sure that you upload photos of youandyourhorse together. Get a Photobucket account or post them on Facebook. Put the photos anywhere that you can retrieve them in case your entire house and ‘important papers” drawer is gone. You should also take a picture of your papers and upload those to FB or somewhere safe. Google docs is a good place for record keeping.
RESEARCHING ‘FAST’ ID METHODS
All of my research kept me enthralled for about 2 hours which wasn’t good since I really needed to write this and get to bed!
As an aside, during my research sojurn this evening, I ended up ordering the book HORSES OF THE STORM which is about the equine rescue effort after Katrina! I thought it would be a dramatic and interesting read. If you’d like to order it, I found it on sale here.
As I was contemplating this, I had thought about creating a stencil with my phone number on it and then spray painting it onto their coats – but I figured there had to be better ways. I also thought about quick-collars that you could pre-address and then just grab them and strap them on when needed – kinda like those colored collars that newborn puppies wear.
Somewhere in my mind I remembered hearing that the horses with their IDs braided into their manes/tails were easy to spot.
I started my research.
Basically every site said to prepare in some way because a disaster isn’t a good time to start planning… If you don’t prepare, you won’t have time to do anything about it when you need to.
Since I was most concerned about fire, I wanted to have an ID method for the horses that was FAST and easy.
LIVESTOCK MARKING PENS
I decided that livestock marking crayons would be the least expensive and the easiest to use.
There are several brands to choose from. Usually the prices vary between $1 – $5. Cheap. They come in a rainbow of colors.
I found several companies that distribute them. Here is a link.
The crayons are waterproof and easy to schmear on. You could put your phone number and some identifying word on each of your horses.
For example, you could paint your phone number and then “Petunia” on each of your horses. Or maybe the last four of your social. That way, the person that finds your horse will see the personal mark that only would apply to you.
One article said to paint your horses hooves in a pattern only you would know. Front right foot is blue…
For me, these crayons seemed like a good item to have in the barn or the trailer. If all else failed, you could write just one colored swipe and at least whomever found your horse would be able to say it had a big blue patch on it’s right shoulder~
It seems like ID Tags would be another easy way to prepare for a disaster. The hard part would be getting halters with the prepared tags on all of your horses – or weaving the tags into their manes or tails.
However, the tags seemed to be the most durable of the marking devices.
You can order tags online or at a Petco Kiosk. The general consensus is that the aluminum tags are the best. Many put the little plastic cover around the aluminum. I think the tags start at about $2.
I was thinking that I could have the tags made up and then have them pre-strung on some sort of shoelace or clothe streamer that I could attach to their hair with a clip – and then braid the cloth in their hair just to be doubly sure.
I wondered if the clips humans use for hair extensions would work in this application…
For me, I doubt I could figure out 12 halters with tags to be ‘on the ready’. Probably I could and maybe I should, but I thought the mane tags would be safer in case a halter got stuck on something as they were running…
You could also get tags made especially for equines. I found this link for Equitags.
Some sites suggested luggage tags.
To me, I thought a colored collar that you could write your pertinent information in permanent ink would be the fastest and easiest.
I thought I could have them all ready to go and if there was an issue, I could run around the ranch with all the collars on my arm and just 1-2-3 wrap the suckers around my horses’ necks, seal and go!
Unfortunately, I never did find exactly the kind of horse collar I had in my mind. I wanted long, colored, durable, writable and easy to fasten.
Instead, I found several ‘broodmare collars’ – which is what they use at big breeding facilities to identify the mares – some livestock collars and some reflective collars. So, if you know of the kind of collar I want, please write to me…
I found one that was glow in the dark… Click here.
I found one that was orange like for road construction. Click here.
I found several for broodmares that you could write on but they seemed perhaps, uh, flimsy. Click here.
FINAL WORDS OF ADVISE
If clippers are all you have (and you have power) you could make your mark on your horse as well…
Or, as I look at my PETCO MINI REWARDS CARD sitting on my desk… if all you have are those mini credit cards from every discount store and pharmacy – get a twisy-tie or rubber bands or dental floss….and start threading those through their hairs.
All of those mini-cards have scan numbers on the back that identify YOU. And, you will probably be the only one who has a BLOCKBUSTER VIDEO mini-card woven into your horse’s tail. Or CVS PHARMACY, or HOME DEPOT or whatever rewards card you have in your wallet… USE THEM!
HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!
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