What is your flood plan?
Floods are one of the more common natural disasters faced by horse owners. It is estimated that the chance of flooding in flood-plain regions, where a lot of paddocks are, is approximately 1% per year – or 30% chance for the average mortgage time-frame.
Forward planning can greatly reduce the likelihood of emergency evacuation, injury, illness or death of your horse.
There are 2 types of flooding that can occur:
Slow-rising floods: generally occur when a river or water source rises slowly, generally fed from upstream, and can be predicted to reach a certain level
Flash-flooding: occur suddenly when there is a large deluge of rain, melting of icecaps, or the breaking of a dam wall or levee. It is harder to predict the level the flood will rise to as there is little time for calculations or to get alerts out.
Here is a list of actions to consider for your emergency plan:
Prepare your emergency plan in advance
Become familiar with the area, including locations or rivers, creeks, drainage and flooding areas
Have an evacuation plan – whether it’s high ground paddocks, a friends paddock, or the local pony club grounds
Plan to be self-reliant for approximately 3 days – both with your and horses feed, in case you are both cut off from access to services
Have your emergency kit prepared
Have your horses well documented, including markings and brand, for identification purposes
Consider ways to identify your horse should they escape their safe region or washed away in water, including id tags braided into manes or on head collars, or telephone numbers written with Niko on hoofs, or safe body paint (more likely to show on greys or pale markings).
Have an emergency stash of feed and water kept in your float or truck – feed will often be depleted quickly at evacuation centres
Ensure your horse is well trained to be floated so if flood strikes the evacuation is less stressful
If you have to evacuate and leave your horse behind, ensure they are not confined in stables or small yards and have an easy escape route. Horses can swim and can tolerate water up to the belly for periods of time. Leave feed accessible above the ground for the time period you may have to leave.