10 Rules to Live by in Evacuations with Horses from Wildfires or Natural Disasters
1. TEACH YOUR HORSE TO LOAD (and tie)! And I mean immediately step into a trailer.
2. Take at least one bale of hay and a BUCKET, you never know where your horse is going to end up.
3. No matter what, if you take your horses or not, MAKE SURE you take your proof of ownership/BRAND INSPECTIONS! This will help you prove the horses are yours later on! (Photos work in non brand inspection areas!)
4. If you CANNOT TAKE your horse, TURN THEM LOOSE! They have great survival instincts, its better than dying in a locked barn.
5. IF YOU TURN THEM LOOSE, write your phone number on them in some way! Spay paint/shoe polish, whatever you can find.
6. If you turn them loose TAKE THEIR HALTERS OFF! Imagine all the debris your horse is going to encounter! You don't want them caught on!
7. If you turn them loose, LOCK THEM OUT OF THEIR BARN/PEN/STALL/YARD. They WILL go back!
8. If you take your horse to an evacuation center, it is still a good idea to have your horse marked in some way. Sometimes evacuation centers have to evacuate!
9. If you take your horse in a trailer, PLEASE tie them if you safely can! I cannot count how many times we were evacuating and found a loose horse we needed to load with ours, if the horses are loose in the trailer that is a disaster waiting to happen.
10. If your horse is in a large pasture area, cut the fence in corners and leave gates open! When horses can't find their way in smoke/debris they will follow fence lines.
For more info: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/