Depending on where you live, flooding can happen any time of the year. All too often people panic leaving their four legged friends to fend for themselves. We hear it on the news every spring and summer here in Texas. Pastures in flood zones can become like swimming pools. Land with access to creeks and rivers can rise so suddenly that horses become trapped in flood waters. There are things you can do to keep your horses safe – however if you know your horse is living in a flood prone area – you will need to be aware of the weather so you can move them to safety before it becomes too late. Below are three articles – 2 are on real life incidences, and the third details what you can do. ~ HfH
Horse Rescued From Texas Creek
MANOR, Texas — A 23-year-old horse named Weston was rescued from a creek in Manor on Tuesday.
Manor firefighters said Weston was in the creek for quite some time before they arrived. Travis County and Austin-Travis County EMS also helped with the horse rescue.
Crews said Weston traveled about 100 yards downstream before they were able to locate a possible point to rescue him.
Weather forces horses to take refuge at Sam Houston Race Park
Houston – About 80 horses are expected to spend the night at Sam Houston Race Park after their owners became concerned about flood waters on ranches and equine facilities in the area.
“We don’t really have another place to go,” horse owner Rhonda Siemens, of the Cypress area, said.
She remembers what it was like in 2012 when floodwater overtook her farm.
“There were some areas of the farm that were under 20 feet of water,” she said.
Yvette Roney, also from the Cypress area, brought nearly a dozen horses to safety after treading through chest-deep water two years ago. She remembers the water being the biggest, but the not only problem.
“We were leading horses out and fire ants created floating islands,” she said. “There were also snakes.”
Owners supply food to their horses at Sam Houston Race Park but there is no charge for boarding.
Protecting Your Horses from Flooding
The rain on September 11th felt like a typical late summer shower in Colorado. The difference was that it didn’t stop. It rained for five days, causing widespread flooding. Many of the most heartbreaking stories from the floods involved people struggling to save their horses, dogs, and cats. Some people had to hope that their pets would find safety, as flooding made travel impossible.
What we learned from the events in Colorado is that a flood can happen almost anywhere. Even if you do not appear to be in the path of a flood, water can change course during a storm. Low lying areas may fill with water, and small streams can swell to dangerous levels. What can you do to keep your horses safe? Follow these tips.
1. Find out whether your property is in a flood zone. You can begin by searching the map feature at FEMA.gov. Contact FEMA if you have questions. Your town or county planning department is also a good source of information, as it determines what can be built within the jurisdiction.
Very little can be built in the “flood way”, which is the active conveyance of a stream during a flood. However, accessory structures including barns may be allowed in 100 year flood zones, and they may not be required to be set above the “base flood elevation.” In other words, your horses may be housed in a building that will flood in a major storm. This situation is dangerous, so avoid building in flood zones when possible. This will also save you the hassle and expense of purchasing flood insurance.
2. Design your property to allow each horse to get to safe, high ground. This is critical because you may not be there in the event of a flood. Take these precautions:
Do not construct pastures next to low lying areas that are not connected to higher ground.
If you live in an area prone to flash floods do not turn your horses out next to stream beds. Flash floods move too quickly for your horse to react.
Keep your horses out of soft, boggy areas. Even if you don’t experience a dramatic flood, over- saturated ground can be dangerous for your horse if he gets trapped in the mud.
3. Think ahead for the survival of your barn during severe weather events:
Ensure that you have positive slope on all sides of your barn, and that water flows away from the structure.
Keep all electrical gear off the floor.