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Flood advice for your horses

March 2, 2022

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As most of the east coast of Australia is experiencing severe weather and flooding, here are some of our top tips to protect your horses during an emergency.
• Move your horses to higher ground. It is crucial to be aware that larger floods than those previously experienced can occur in your area. If you are at high risk, you should evacuate yourself and your horse as early as possible.
• Ensure your horse has access to food and clean water. Even if your property is not directly affected by flooding, you may be isolated and require assistance such as the supply of essential items and feed.
• Try and keep your horse dry and warm; we understand that everyone doesn’t have access to a nice dry barn on top of a hill, but a rug and a tree to stand under will make them comfortable and protect them during the constant rain. Health issues can also arise after prolonged exposure to floodwaters, including mud fever, rain scald, pneumonia, waterborne illnesses and stomach problems from drinking contaminated water or mouldy food.
• If you have a horse or livestock caught in floodwater, DO NOT try to rescue them yourself. Call the SES on 132 500 and your local veterinarian. The SES will coordinate with other emergency services to retrieve your animal, but you may need to arrange to have a vet on stand by.
If you are at risk of severe flooding and evacuating them is not an option, you can still keep them safe even if you must go yourself.
• Never leave them in stables or in a small yard if you evacuate without them. Horses are good swimmers and can try and reach higher ground if need be; leaving them confined reduces that ability. It may be necessary to pull down internal fencing to access higher, safer areas.
• Leave their headcollars and rugs off to not weigh them down when they are wet and prevent them from getting snagged on fencing or debris.
• Keep a good description of your horse, including photos and a microchip number if they have one, so they can be easily identified when found or rescued.
The NSW SES has developed a Rural Properties FloodSafe Guide for information and advice on floods in rural and remote properties in NSW. https://www.ses.nsw.gov.au/…/floodsafe-for-rural-areas/
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