After Hurricane Harvey, now it’s Hurricane Irma’s turn, this time in Florida. Horse owners have an extra issue, as they need to protect not only themselves but their animals as well. Here are some places and ways you can seek shelter and protect yourself and your horses from Hurricane Irma.
Protect Yourself From Hurricane Irma
Horse owners in Florida may want to move their animals to other states. People started leaving the state this Wednesday, though some still refuse to leave. If you plan to, it’s good to know there are several farms, barns and equestrian centers willing to provide shelter. These include:
- Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter, in Perry, Georgia
- Tryon International Equestrian Center, Mill Spring, North Carolina
- Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington, Kentucky
You can see a full list of available shelter in Kentucky here.
In Georgia, the following places accept livestock:
- Garrett Coliseum, 1555 Federal Dr., Montgomery, AL 36107 Contact: Randy Stephenson at 334-356-6866
- Houston County Farm Center, 1701 E Cottonwood Rd., Dothan, AL 36301, Contact: Mickey Sego at 334-792-5730
- 5 County Complex, 1055 E. Mckinnon St., New Brockton, AL 36351, Contact: Gavin Mauldin at 334-894-5596
Another list of shelter spots is available here. If you are not in the affected regions but wish to contribute, you can add your own contacts. The Horse Helpers Directory has a registry as well, including for people left behind by Hurricane Harvey.
To facilitate the evacuation, the state of Florida waived some requirements, so that the horses can cross the state line and seek shelter. These include a negative Coggins test, which won’t be required for now. The NOAA expects winds around 150 mph with the storm, so for those who can, it might be best to leave the state. Make sure to have some basic items such as identification on your horses, first aid kits, and papers to prove ownership of your horse. You can find more tips on how to prepare for a hurricane here. The same applies if you cannot evacuate your horses.
Irma is a category 5 hurricane and may bring winds of around 150mph. It’s not recommended to leave horses outside, as there is a high risk of injury.