Preparing for a hurricane - what to do with horses?


The truth is out there...
12 Years
Mar 5, 2007
Phoenix, AZ
My dad and I have been debating what we should do with our horses this Sunday. We have a category 2 hurricane heading this way and we hardly ever get weather as severe as this. I've never had to face this situation before and it seems like everyone is saying to do something different. They are calling for 12 inches of rain and 80+ mph wind. Our whole coast has been evacuated and events are being cancelled. We are more inland, but they are still calling for very bad weather. It will be a long night/day for us for sure!

Anyways, we have four horses. We do have a barn and stalls, but the barn is bordered by woods and lots of trees. We've had a lot of rain this past week and the ground is VERY soft. Not only that, but with 12 inches of rain, the barn will definitely be flooding. My dad and I were originally going to put the horses inside, but now we are very concerned about trees falling, which seems to be a very realistic event. We have the same fear about the outside, but my dad is thinking we could keep them in the upper field where there are very few trees that could fall. However, there is no shelter in that field, and access to shelter would mean having to go near lots of big old trees that have been weakened by all this rain. We are also concerned about trees falling on the fences. If they get out, there is no telling where they will end up. We are also not sure if we should keep halters on them during the storm. They could certainly get caught up on stuff with them on, but if we needed to move them or catch them in an emergency, the halters would make this much easier. We usually do not keep halters on our horses when they are out at pasture.

Our thought right now is confining two to a large round pen and two to the fenced area outside the roun pen. Both areas are free of trees and on high ground. My fear are them freaking out over the wind and getting injured, or injuring each other. However, we are not left with a whole lot of options and we've never had to face this situation before. I'm in New Jersey and the worst we get is some bad thunderstorms!

What are your thoughts on the situation? If you are in the hurricane's path, what will you be doing? Our hourses stay outside most of the time except for the old one who has his own shelter. However, he can't use that during this storm because the wind would lift it right up and out of the ground. The others have a run in shelter that they use, but it is bordered by the cow farmer's property and they are tons of trees.
Wow, that's a tough one. I've never had a good answer for dealing with tornados here in Iowa either. I do know that some of the worst injuries are caused by blowing debris. We had 90 mph straight line winds here recently and my neighbors had to put down one of their miniatures because it was cut up so badly by a piece of tin blowing through the pen. Given my choices I'd want them in a barn for the worst of it but there is risk either way. I sure hope you come through OK!
When the huge forest fires blazed across BC, horse owners painted their phone number on their horses rumps. They also tied cloth with their phone numbers into the horses mane, tail and onto the halter.
When it has blowed close to 100 mph here I leave my horses out in the field. They stand in the open with their backs to the wind. Out in the open they have a chance but locked up their chances go way down. JMO
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I'm a Florida cracker and have been through many a blow. We braid the horses' manes with cloth strips with our name and numbers written with laundry pens so they weather the rain. We remove halters because they can get caught on stuff. We turn them out into the most open/clear pasture that does NOT have any barbed wire anywhere or anything they can get blown into or equipment that can get blown into them. Also avoid anyplace with wood fences as the wood rails become projectiles when the wind gets that high. Welded wire fences stand up the best. Make sure they have enough room to run if they need to.

After hurricane Andrew, we learned a lot about what to avoid: Most equine injuries were from barbed wire, projectile wood, flying metal debris. Being kept up in a stall produced a lot of deaths caused by the building collapsing around them and trapping them. Lots died and many had horrific injuries. Many deaths were due to drowning.

Bart's recommendations are right on the money.


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Can you write numbers on the blazes or white markings of pintos with blue kote? That alone would be that obvious and harder to steal a horse if someone would attempt to do so.
Great tips guys! Excellent article rebelcowboy. I will definitely be printing it out and sharing with my dad. I'm going to rip up strips of t-shirt and write our info on it. The blue kote is another good idea. I just have to see if I can find where I put it.

I think our original idea is still the best. My dad has been securing things that can blow away. We will also leave halters off and my dad will be moving vehicles into open areas as well. Hopefully we won't get hit nearly as bad as they are expecting, but it iss better to be prepared than not!
I think they used those wide mouthed permanent marker pens on the lighter colored horses. My horses are black so I have no idea what to use
White grease pens?

The Halter thing is a double edged sword, easier to catch after the crisis, left on they could get caught on something.

Hardly anybody here uses barbed wire anymore but there is still some around. I did take down all the temporary electric fences so the area was huge and if they wanted to, they could run.
The lead mare picked what she deemed a safe spot and they all stood together with her, her yearling filly in the middle, out in the open, away from trees.
I went to feed them and it was howling, actually frightening, the whites of their eyes were huge, they were scared but not much I could do, we just had to wait it out.

Many a horse and cattle owner has lost their stock to collapsing buildings.

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