How to Prepare Your Facility to Accept Evacuees
The US is currently experiencing many natural disasters; wildfires in the west, hurricanes in the east, and flooding in between. Many horses and owners are displaced and need a safe place to stay until it's safe for them to go home. The GoHorse community has been incredible in stepping up to help each other out and we’re so grateful for all of you!
The GoHorse Emergency Help Network
If you are available to offer emergency assistance, please log into your GoHorse listing, navigate to Update My Listing in the menu on the left, and scroll down and click the sliders that you see below to activate your emergency assistance availability until you see a green “YES.”
Your listing will now appear on our map with a royal blue icon like you see below:
When people near you search for emergency boarding or emergency assistance, they will be able to contact you for help. Be sure your contact information, including your phone number and email address, are up to date.
Get Ready for Emergency Boarders
Always make sure the horses coming onto your property are vaccinated and not showing any signs of sickness (runny, gooey eyes or nose, productive cough, lethargy, labored breathing, etc.). Allowing a sick horse onto your property could be devastating so be sure to consider the safety of the current horses on your property before accepting new ones.
Set up paddocks for your emergency borders as far away from your horses as possible. This will reduce their stress and allow their owners to come and go without getting in your way. It also lessens the likelihood of transmitting disease. If separating the horses isn’t possible, you may want to have them examined by a vet as soon as they arrive. This is also a good time to make sure your horses are current on vaccines.
Call your local vet and farrier and ask them to be on call for incoming evacuees. Horses may come in with colic or injuries from traumatic transport. Their owners will be stressed and possibly far away from their normal horse healthcare providers. If you can get them in touch with your vet and farrier, you’ll relieve a lot of their stress.
Keep Things Running Smoothly
Make sure you have enough water buckets, hay, and feed. You don’t have to provide full-service care for your evacuees if you don’t have enough time or resources but you do need to tell them what’s expected of them and what they need to provide before they arrive. The biggest thing you want to avoid is running out of feed during a time when lots of horses are evacuating to your area and buying hay. Call your local feed store and hay provider so they’re ready to support your guests when they arrive. They may be willing to help out with a donation or discounted rate to take some of the strain off of you.
If you have regular boarders, be sure to let them know you have evacuees coming in. Most people are happy to make accommodations in a crisis, but they still don’t like to be surprised. Let them know if the evacuees will create any changes in their routine, and share the precautions you are taking to ensure the safety of all horses. Create a volunteer sign-up sheet and encourage them to support the evacuees who are at your facility.
Look around your property for extra panels or fencing materials (most of us have a pile). If you can throw up a few extra pens, you’ll be more prepared when horses start arriving. Avoid putting unfamiliar horses together in pastures or paddocks whenever possible. We are all for letting horses thrive in a herd, but the introduction process is not worth the risk of injury if it’s only going to be a short stay.
Before accepting evacuees, the last thing you need to do is to call your insurance provider and make sure you will be covered if anything happens to a horse or human while on your property. You should also have everyone sign a liability waiver as they arrive.