You’ve walked the pasture searching for harmful holes, broken fencing, and toxic crops. Your fencing is protected. Your passageways are nonslip and clutter-free. Your feed is secured. You have the veterinarian’s phone quantity posted clearly.

However, there’s extra to making sure your barn is protected than you would possibly suppose, mentioned Rebecca Husted, PhD, a global knowledgeable in managing equine emergencies and president and first teacher at Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue, in Macon, Georgia.

“There are lots of things people just never think about, but they can make a huge difference in the safety of their horses, as well as themselves and other people,” she mentioned.

To be certain that your farm meets knowledgeable security necessities—together with the much less apparent ones—we’ve created this listing of horse farm security ideas.


1. Make Your Farm Entrance Accessible and Easy to Find, Even within the Dark.

Timing is crucial, and poorly marked entrances can sluggish emergency responses significantly, mentioned Husted. Fire vehicles and ambulances have issue turning round to return to a missed entrance. “We sometimes spend more time looking for people’s places than we do actually helping them,” she mentioned.

Some farms are in distant areas with no clear highway names and poor GPS service; others are in standard horse areas with many farms in proximity, which might make it tough to determine the proper entrance.

Owners ought to have their deal with numbers seen near the highway, the place they are often seen from both route from a car touring 40 miles per hour, Husted mentioned. Numbers must be a minimum of 2 inches tall and made from reflective materials that’s seen at night time. They shouldn’t be blocked by bushes, flowers, ornamental gadgets, trash bins, or muddle.

Entrance gates must be simple for emergency personnel to open, Husted continued. Owners ought to share the code or be capable to open or take away a gate shortly throughout an emergency. Passages must be vast and tall sufficient for autos to go via simply. Make certain paths aren’t blocked with automobiles or trailers and overhanging tree branches are stored trimmed.


2. Invest in Great Gates, Doors, and Latches

Difficult-to-open or cumbersome gates and doorways are security hazards, mentioned Husted. Stuck and dragging gates and doorways create extra wasted time throughout an emergency and put each horses and people in danger.

Tricky gates could be significantly hazardous when horses are hurried or spooking. “If the gate doesn’t move fast enough, they can catch their stifle or get hung on it,” Husted mentioned. “The litany of injuries that can happen when a horse can’t get through a gate is endless.” Handlers can get damage as effectively, she added—even in much less excessive conditions, as a result of they’re paying extra consideration to making an attempt to open the gate or door than to the horse. “Invest in the right hardware to hang your gates right and the post you need to actually support their weight, or hire a professional to do it for you,” she mentioned.

Latches have to be fast for folks to open and troublesome for horses to determine. “You can go from a latch problem to a loose horse problem, which can be really dangerous, especially if the horse gets on the road,” she mentioned. Latches must be inaccessible to horses—resembling in a groove contained in the steady door itself—or require hand actions horses can’t mimic with their mouths. They must be painted in reflective paint that makes them simple to seek out in the dead of night and shouldn’t have protruding elements horses might hook a physique half on.


3. Block off Entrapment Corners Near Gates

Ideally, gates must be positioned distant from corners of fenced-in fields, Husted mentioned. Horses can get trapped in a nook by different horses or when handlers open the gate. Trapped horses can panic, get crushed or attacked by higher-ranking horses, and attempt to bounce the fence. If your gate is in a nook, you possibly can transfer it towards the middle of the fence line or reduce off the nook with sturdy boards, making a blocked-off triangle that eliminates the entrapment space.

The blocked-off nook itself could be a security hazard, nevertheless, if the horse jumps it and will get trapped contained in the triangle, Husted added. So it’s essential to put the boards excessive and area them a protected distance aside to keep away from trapping legs, toes, or heads. Painting the boards can make sure the horses see the realm—particularly if it’s a brand new addition to a pasture they already know. Do not use wire fencing to shut off corners, as horses can simply get trapped within the wire, resulting in doubtlessly critical accidents.


4. Use Secure Secondary Fencing Along Roadways

Where roads and horse farms meet, hazard threat is excessive, Husted mentioned. Unfortunately, too many individuals underestimate that threat, trusting their fence and gate to offer sufficient safety. Fences and gates can break, or bushes fall on them and create passageways. Particularly motivated horses would possibly even bounce fences.

A secondary fence that strains the farm on the roadway facet gives a security barrier. While some farms do have secondary fences, many nonetheless have a gap: the driveway.

A secondary fence wants a gate to shut off the driveway, Husted mentioned. If it isn’t sensible to at all times have a closed gate throughout the driveway, go away it open on the situation you possibly can shut it shortly, resembling with a distant management, inside seconds of a horse getting unfastened.

Every farm ought to have a transparent emergency plan within the occasion of a horse escaping to forestall panic and get the horse again to security shortly. Plan who helps catch the horse, who will get the truck, who calls 911 to alert them horses might be on the highway (to guard each horses and drivers). Depending on the highway, folks can plan to convey cones, reflective triangles, and flashers to assist cease visitors.


5. Fence Off Natural Water Sources During Freezes and Droughts

Having pure water sources, resembling lakes, ponds, and rivers, in your pastures provides horses a relentless water supply. But at sure occasions of the 12 months, these our bodies of water can grow to be treacherous, mentioned Husted.

When temperatures attain under freezing, deep waterways can grow to be ice traps for horses making an attempt to drink, she mentioned. “They don’t know any better, so they end up on that ice, and then they either drown or have to get rescued from that situation.”

On the flip facet, excessive temperatures and poor rainfall can result in droughts that drop the floor peak, resulting in plentiful, deep, sticky mud across the water’s edge. “Next thing you know, horses are going out into mud that they’ve never had exposure to,” mentioned Husted. “They get entrapped and need to be rescued.”

In these excessive climate conditions, provide your horses water on increased floor, and block off entry to the pure water sources.

Drowning and dirt entrapment are frequent accidents for horses, however they don’t should be, mentioned Husted. “These tragedies are some of the most preventable things that could ever be done.”


Take-Home Message

Taking precautions can result in fewer preventable accidents and extra environment friendly administration—which drastically will increase horses’ possibilities of survival—when inevitable mishaps do happen.

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