Tornado Plan?? - The Horse Forum
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  • 2 Post By walkinthewalk
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post #1 of 7 Old 06-07-2013, 03:14 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Hagerstown, MD
Posts: 68
• Horses: 3
Tornado Plan??

So I am on the coast of N. Carolina, and have been watching the weather channel ever since my phone blared a message to execute "my tornado plan". Luckily they cancelled the tornado warning shortly after, BUT, it made me realize, I have NO PLAN for my horses! The first horse joined us last August, the second in late March, and now we are into our first storm and I have no CLUE as to what to do with them should a tornado come through here. They are in our "yard" of nearly 2 acres, fenced in, with "as they please" access to a large shed we converted into a barn. But even with a tropical storm dumping buckets on them, they choose to "stand" it out.... they haven't gone in the barn once since it started raining last night. Is this normal?

But really looking for suggestions, advice, and mostly experience, what do you do to plan for your horses should a twister decide to come your way?

Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 7 Old 06-07-2013, 03:26 AM
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: mountian back woods
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For my horses- since i was a small child ive aleays been told to let the horses out when a twister come around- they can jump the fence if they need to get away, etcetera.. ive also heard a horses back was the safest place to be because they 'just know' where to go. I do feel strongly that its true.

Mine never go under the shelter we built for them- unless we put their hay under it- i do believe its natural for them to do the opposite of what we want from them, lol.

My plan? I keep my horses out 24/7 but i do believe they could jump our pasture fence of they absolutely needed to get away and i do hope they would. Ive seen my friends gelding clear an 8 foot fence with ease when a stud chased him and do hope a twister is that scary for mine to jump our 5 footer!! I do believe horses will know what to do in a situation like that and make the correct desision for themselves.. if not- ill just keep praying they do, lol.
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post #3 of 7 Old 06-07-2013, 08:43 AM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Middle Tennessee
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If you're under the gun to where you think the weather folks are going to say take cover immediately:

Keep a can of spray paint in a color that is highly visible on each horse.

Spray paint your cell phone number with area code across both sides of each horse.

I have also heard there are name tags available that can be braided into the horse's mane or forelock.

I am dead against halters (with info taped to them) because a horse can get hung up on anything while fleeing for its safety. The braided-in tags sound the most reasonable.

As far as horse in or horses out? Depends. My horses come in at night, out in the daytime, 365 days/yr. I don't change that routine for storms.

However, if they are still in the barn when a watch or warning comes across the TV, I keep them in.

Last year, a tornado literally went over top the barn and I was down there with the horses when it happened

I didn't hear anything - I mean nothing. The air was deathly still, I felt like I was in a vacuum and I could feel the hair on my neck, and see the hair on my arms being pulled straight up. All my horses stopped eating, hay hanging out of their mouths, and looked at me. I said "better start praying with me".

I had no idea there was a funnel cloud above us until later that day when the news announced a tornado had touched down in the next town and they tracked the path on TV. Between looking at that storm path and the sensation of wanting to be "sucked up", even though I was inside the barn, explained a lot

In my case, there wouldn't have been anytime to cut the horses loose. They have 22 acres with a ancient woods (big oak trees with branches big enough to be a tree) along the boundaries, there's nothing to say they would have been safe from harm out there either.

In the end it's a crap shoot, everyone has to assess their own physical environments and go with their gut
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I CAN'T ride 'em n slide 'em. I HAVE to lead 'em n feed 'em Thnx cowchick77.
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post #4 of 7 Old 06-08-2013, 11:26 AM
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 242
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I was thinking about this in the past. I have always kept the ridiculously impractical idea that I could drag them into a storm cellar. XP In reality I would probably let them loose and let them decide how to best get away/protect themselves. That spray paint idea is a really good idea, I never would of thought of that.
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post #5 of 7 Old 06-08-2013, 01:28 PM
Join Date: Jan 2010
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We must remember, that animals do not think like human beings. They don't understand that a storm/tornado is coming and that they must jump a fence to get away. Most usually in bad weather, large animals will stand with their backs to the wind and stay put. Many horses and other large stock were killed during these large tornados. This whether inside or out.

In our forest fires out here, most will let their horses out of fenced areas and then try to gather them up afterwards. My daughter often goes into fire areas with her trailer, to rescue horses. The main problem, is that most horses are not trained to jump into a trailer. THIS IS IMPORTANT. Train your horses to trailer, regardless of who is asking it of them. Many times with fire all around, my daughter has only been able to rescue those horses who would quickly jump into her trailer. She could not risk her own life by wasting time, with a horse who would not.

Another thing to remember, is to train all your dogs to stay in a crate and have a crate for each dog and cat you have. Many red cross and other stations for humans to stay in during or after a fire or storm etc., will not accept animals which are uncrated. You can imagine the bedlam if there were several hundred people in a building and all with loose animals. So teach your dogs to crate up willingly. Throw a collar and lead in the crate with each dog, so later you can take them out to potty.

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post #6 of 7 Old 06-08-2013, 02:53 PM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: saskatchewan, canada
Posts: 72
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my guy stays out in his paddock with a halter and a tag with my number on it, but only during tornado warnings and insane wind storms. he is easy to catch even if fairly spooked so i think a tag is enough. if its just a typical storm no halter as i could see the metal buckle acting as a magnet for lightning (i think im just paranoid there but oh well). he has busted through fences before and if he felt he needed to i think he would. the only time i would stall him during a storm is if there was hail and im out there with him. thank god we havent had to deal with to many funnel clouds and tornadoes yet but with weather trends changing we may soon have to deal with them
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Last edited by specialdelivery; 06-08-2013 at 02:54 PM. Reason: spelling
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post #7 of 7 Old 06-08-2013, 03:27 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
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I've always been told to leave the horses out whenever a tornado is coming but I think it's one of those things that it all depends on exactly where it hits. If the horses are out, they can be killed by debris and if they are in they can be killed by debris.

My barn is made of tin, which turns into nothing but a mass of large and powerful razor blades in a tornado. I'd just as soon my horses not be trapped right in the middle of it if it gets hit. Being away from it won't guarantee their safety but....

I second the great idea of spray paint to put your phone number on them. Another option would be those big grease markers that folks used to mark cattle.
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