Are Your Horses in the Path of Hurricane Florence? Ours are too! Resources and Tips on Horse Hurricane Prep.

Life-threatening storm surges, heavy winds, and rainfall expected across portions of the Carolinas

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) predicts Florence, currently a Category 4 storm, will make landfall in the Carolinas later this week. A Category 4 hurricane means that winds are between 130 to 156 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. Thousands of horses will likely be impacted by this storm. Here at ThinLine, in Durham NC, we’re preparing ourselves and our horses for the worst and hoping for the best.

Horse owners in the line of the storm are urged to take action now. Whether they plan to “shelter in place” or evacuate inland, now is the time to act before the roads are too crowded to leave or you still need to stock up on supplies. For those looking to evacuate, Eliza LaLuna of Good Sense Farm, in Barboursville, VA, has compiled a list of locations (both private and state-owned) that are accepting horses and people.

Other facilities include:

Carolina Horse Park910-875-2074
Lesley WootenBoone, NCgrandfatherstables.comI have space available for horses
Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show FoundationBlowing Rock, NCLadonna Shore, Manager, 828-295-4700With 450 stalls on site, there should be plenty of stabling available. Stall prices have been reduced from $25 a night to $15 for the duration of the storm. Hay and shavings are available for sale on site. The Preserve is open from 8:00 AM until 5:00 PM seven days a week and is located at 1500 Laurel Lane, one mile from Main Street and just off Highway 221 west of Blowing Rock, North Carolina.
Grassy Pond ArenaGaffney SC150 stalls and camper hookups
Carolina Horse CoMadison NCMore than 100 stalls
Journey BackGreensboro, NC22 stalls
Lone Hickory ArenaYadkinville NC31 stalls and camper hookups
Sharon Oaks StablesHillsborough, NCDanielle Smith 919-260-4040

If you would like to add your facilities to this list, the best way is to send us a Facebook Message.

If you are planning to evacuate your horses, the American Association of Equine Practitioners offers these recommendations:

  • – Have proof of ownership and identification of your horse. Don’t forget proof of your negative Coggins test! These can be emailed by your vet so that you have it on your phone.
  • – When calling a facility, be sure you discuss your horse in detail (stallion, mare, young, old, etc.) and go over any special needs (medications, special feed, etc.).
  • – In addition to describing your horse, make sure you discuss the accommodations. What fencing is available? Are there stalls or shelters? Will your horses be turnout with others?
  • – If possible, have a contract or written agreement with the facility. When evacuating, things are often rushed and details can be missed. A written document ensures that both parties are on the same page.
  • – It’s best to bring your own hay and feed if possible. If not, then try to locate a source local to the facility that offers feed comparable to what you’re currently feeding.

Riding Out The Storm

If you’re riding out the storm there are a few things to consider. One of the most common questions is “Should I leave my horse in the barn or in an open field?” There’s no easy Yes or No answer to this as it is situation dependent. You’ll want to take into account your barn structure (it is a block structure that can withstand high winds?) and also your surrounding area. Are there power lines or large trees nearby, or is your farm subject to flooding? If your farm is flood prone, your horses should be turned out. If turning your horses out, braid a tag with your contact information into manes or use a waterproof livestock marker to be certain they can be identified and returned if they happen to get loose.

You’ll want to prepare you farm as best you can be leading up to the storm. Make sure you clear the barn aisle of equipment and tools that could be hazardous or impede movement. You’ll want to make sure that you have enough hay, feed, and water to last several weeks. Place the feed and hay as high as you can to avoid floodwaters and wrap them in plastic to keep it as dry as possible. If the electric goes out, most likely you’ll be without water. So fill every container (extra buckets, troughs, plastic garbage cans, etc.) so you’ll be able to use those supplies until the power is restored.

You’ll want to make sure you have an emergency medical kit ready (for humans and horses) in the event of an injury. It might be a while before your vet can make it out, so make sure you’re stocked up on medical supplies such as bandages, bute, Banamine, etc.

Also, it’s wise to have tools handy and working properly before the storm hits. Make sure you have flashlights or lanterns and batteries to power them, chainsaws, nails, hammers, and fencing materials ready for after the storm.

The NHC warns, “While Florence’s maximum winds are expected to weaken a little, it is still expected to remain a dangerous major hurricane as it approaches the coast. The threat to life from storm surge and rainfall will not diminish, and these impacts will cover a large area regardless of exactly where the center of Florence moves.”

The NHC states:

  • 1. A life-threatening storm surge is now highly likely along portions of the coastlines of South Carolina and North Carolina, and a Storm Surge Warning is in effect for a portion of this area. All interests in these areas should complete preparations and follow any advice given by local officials.
  • 2. Life-threatening, catastrophic flash flooding and significant river flooding is likely over portions of the Carolinas late this week into early next week, as Florence is expected to slow down as it approaches the coast and moves inland.
  • 3. Damaging hurricane-force winds are likely along portions of the coasts of South Carolina and North Carolina, and a Hurricane Warning is in effect. Strong winds could also spread inland into portions of the Carolinas.

Hopefully, you and your horses will be well out of harm’s way, but it’s important to be prepared. We’ll continue to update this article with more resources and evacuation locations as we become aware of them. Also, make sure you keep an eye on our Facebook page for updates.