Watson Lawrence, Extension Agent, Chesapeake
Prepared: September 2005
Updated August 2011
WHY HORSE OWNERS NEED TO BE PREPARED
Disaster preparedness is important for all animals but it is particularly important for horse owners because of the animal’s size and the requirements needed to shelter and transport them. Chesapeake is located next to the Atlantic coast and hurricane threats are very common here. The most important step in protection of your valued animals is to have a plan in place.
CITY EMERGENCY CONDITIONS
The following are city emergency conditions that identify the status of a hurricane. Being aware of the strength and time of landfall of a hurricane are important facts.
Condition I Awareness Beginning of hurricane season
Condition II Alert Knowledge of hurricane threat within 72 hours
Condition III Watch Increased threat of hurricane within 48 hours
Condition IV Warning Hurricane conditions likely within 24 hours
Condition V Landfall Experience gale force winds or stronger
DEVELOP A PLAN
A plan needs to be in place for either of the following decisions:
Evacuation: Most mistakes made with evacuations are waiting too late to take action. Horse trailers are not very stable in high winds and waiting too late to evacuate can force you to be caught in traffic. Make sure horse trailers are ready for road travel. Having a destination site available is also something that needs to be planned in advance. Networking with other horse owner’s further inland can offer points of destination away from the storm. Listed below are places that have given tentative approval for accepting horses for short-term boarding with impending hurricanes off the coast.
Please call ahead to check the status of available stalls.
10515 Colonial Downs Parkway
New Kent County, Virginia 23124
(804)966-7223 ext. 1070
1. Colonial Downs offers emergency stalls (12’ x 12’) as space is available. Their racing season begins Labor Day and continues until Christmas.
2. No fee required, however boarders are asked to provide their own bedding and feed.
3. Require recent coggins test and health certificate for immunizations. Must bring all stall guards, as stalls do not have front gates.
4. 1,050 permanent stalls on site. Must call for availability.
Senator Bob Martin Eastern Agricultural Center
2900 NC Highway 125 South
Williamston, N. C. 27892
Contact: Durwood Taylor or Keith Whitaker
1. Reduced rates of $10/stall/day during evacuation event
2. Proof of current Negative Coggins Test
3. Primary care of animals (feed, hay, watering, cleaning stalls)
4. Shavings (2-bags/stall minimal) purchased on site @ $5.90/bag – no outside sources allowed
5. Removal of sheltered animals once event has subsided
Lexington Horse Center
P. O. Box 1051
Lexington, Virginia 24450
Contact: Chris Kelly
Lexington offers their facility to horse owners prior to a natural disaster.
1. No fee required. Feed and bedding are available nearby for purchase.
2. Contact Robert Reel at (540) 463-2194 to insure stalls available.
3. Negative coggins test required.
4. 700 stalls on site.
Airfield 4-H Center
15189 Airfield Road
Wakefield, VA 23888
Doug Chesson - Director
1. Airfield has 100 stalls and can board horses on a first come first serve basis prior to impending hurricane.
2. Fee would be $15.00/day.
3. Stall cleaning available for $15/day if requested. Straw for bedding also carries a $5.00/day charge.
4. Person must stay on-site to care for horse. Lodging rooms available.
5. Requirements to be admitted on the grounds would include a negative 12-month coggins test and sign a liability waiver issued by the Airfield 4-H Center.
6. Airfield 4-H Center is just west of Wakefield and not very distal to the coast, so consider whether this site would provide secure destination from the storm.
Governor James B. Hunt Horse Complex
1025 Blue Ridge Road
Raleigh, N. C. 27607
Contact: Sheri Bridges-Complex Program Assistant
1. Governor James B. Hunt, Jr. Horse Complex will allow temporary boarding of horses fleeing an impending hurricane as long as space is available. There are horse shows there almost every weekend so the availability may be limited.
2. There would be no fee for temporary boarding.
3. The normal business number would be (919) 733-4845. For after hours, the contact number would be for security personnel (919) 612-6767 mobile #.
4. Requirements to be admitted on the grounds would include a negative 12-month coggins test and sign a liability waiver issued by the NC State Fair.
5. There are 485 permanent stalls on site.
Sheltering in place: If evacuation is not possible, a decision must be made whether to confine horses to a shelter or leave them out in pastures. Shelters should be sturdy buildings located on high ground. The following are the most common causes of injury or death as a result of hurricanes:
1. Collapsed barns – owners miscalculated the severity of winds
2. Electrocution – power lines are often down and a deadly hazard
3. Fencing failure – wandering horses may be hit or killed on roadways
4. Debris - the most likely cause of injury is from flying debris
Whether to shelter or pasture your horses is dependent on your circumstances. Often, animals released to open, safe pastures, away from overhead power lines and potential debris are able to fend for themselves much better than being in an unsafe shelter. Pastures should be not less than one acre in size. Make sure all animals have some form of identification. If your pastures or shelter do not meet these criteria, you should strongly consider evacuation as your best option.