Horse Trailer Safety Checklist

Horse Trailer Essential Checklist

Don’t forget, not only your horse needs preparation for the competition season! Check out our towing vehicle and horse trailer safety checklist – Equimat North America wishes all  your equine adventures will all be happy ones!    Remember Equimat Ultimat Supersoft are the only therapeutic horse trailer mats in North America – easy to install, clean, disinfect and so much better for your horses!

Horse Trailer Mats

1. Inspection of Towing vehicle, Trailer and all Tires. Know your tires! Have a specialist tire shop look all tires and spares over for wearing and cracking.  Balance is as important in your trailer as your vehicles.  Make sure you have two spare trailer tires that are /in good condition and real replacements, not temporary short haul spares. Tires tend to be bought at the same time so often have issues from age or wear at the same time – we know from experience! Inspect beyond your tires for deterioration. After a thorough wash inside and out with the appropriate cleaner, go through the trailer and ensure there are no broken parts or areas of corrosion. Aluminum wears quickly be if not kept clean. It is inexpensive to sort wear when it starts but a major cost if you need to repair major corrosion.

2. Insurance and road assist.  If you are showing outside your province, state or country make sure your emergency plan is for RV or Trailer assistance and valid in areas you are travelling.  Check your insurance through membership in equine societies like Equine Canada or USEF is valid for your entire travel route.  Many plans like AAA or CAA require special policy extensions to apply to trailers (even RV cover may exclude horse trailers).  Ensure you have cover for horse emergency care.  Many policies do not cover costs for moving horses from site of trailer break down or emergency stabling!  Imagine breaking down on a major highway and discovering no one will help you if you are faced with a breakdown that disables further travel and you have horses on board.

3. Grease moving parts. All trailers have several grease knobs on various moving parts. It’s a good idea to grease your trailer according to the manufacturer’s specifications. For example, it’s recommended to  grease the doors, windows, etc. once a month. Since the trailer has aluminum, I have good-quality grease that is approved for use on that surface.

4. Only use Equimat Trailer mats.  If you have the outdated conveyor belt or recycled tire black mats our strong advice is replace them with Equimat Ultimats.  The other mats have zero therapeutic support, are abrasive, heavy and a nightmare to lift for inspecting your trailer floor bed. Mats should be lifted at least once a month as accumulated urine and manure damage the flooring, regardless of whether your trailer floor is wood, aluminum, or steel.  Wash your trailer thoroughly and let air dry completely after each journey.  Once out, let the floor dry completely and sprinkle lime or baking to neutralize the ammonia and bacteria build up.

Equimat Ultimats have an underside tredplate that allows air to circulate and are lightweight. Ultimat Standard weighs just 16 lbs. and Ultimat  Supersoft (recommended) just 22 lb. so easy to lift and place back down plus reduce overall trailer weight which is a major hauling concern.  Our interlocking mats have locks all round so stay in place and will not shift or roll up as old style matting dangerously tends to do. See https://equimats.com/products/horse-trailer-mats/

4. Lug nuts.  Check your trailer manual as it should specify how often you need to check the tightness on your wheel lug nuts and exactly how much torque they should be tightened to.

5. Brakes and Bearings   A professional job and done as frequently as recommended by your manufacturer.  Minimum is at the beginning of each season and after long journeys.

6. Lights. Make sure all lights are working properly and no bulbs are burned out.  This includes internal trailer lights  Carry extra replacement bulbs and parts.  Make sure to have at least one LED solar charge, portable light for use in emergencies or just great convenience for night checks at horse shows or those early morning braiding and grooming sessions.  A small light that you can attach with a strap around your head is also useful when you need to use both hands and holding a flashlight would be cumbersome.

7.   Roadside emergency kit.  In addition to spare tires and parts for towing vehicle and trailer, carry two large fluorescent triangles, flares, 2 solar powered/rechargeable LED lights for lighting up to change tires, membership card and numbers for roadside assist.  You may not be in mobile phone reception so have a CB or radio communication device to get help.

8.  Map and contacts your journey and list trailer and truck emergency garages along your route.  Ensure both your trailer and vehicle manuals, proof of insurance and full horse emergency information is in a laminated and organized binder with current information (vets along routes, horse “hotel” contact info, passports for humans and animals if crossing borders, horseshow contact information as may be nearby competitors who can assist if you are stranded.

9. Carry both human and horse first aid kits in the trailer.  Inspect at start of season you have a fully stocked kit and all contents are within expiry time make sure they are all back and restocked including any first aid items.

10. Towing Vehicle Maintenance and Fuel Levels.    Like the trailer, review all safety and maintenance information for your vehicle.  Of critical importance is ensuring all fluid levels are filled to the top with correct (oil, window cleaning, etc.).  As my father used to say “Keep the top half of the fuel tank full; you may encounter unexpected delays causing you to run out of gas or diesel or experience some other breakdown (eg. Idling for hours in an unexpected traffic jam).

For extra insurance, make sure you have a full emergency gas or diesel can with the correct fuel for the vehicle you are driving.  Many new diesel engine vehicles require DEF or diesel engine fluid as a  special fuel additive so check you are full.  Check you have sufficient DEF for length of journey (see your vehicle manual) and carry as from experience have found it is not available at all service stations.  This is critical as on many new truck when the DEF is below required levels, the vehicle computerized system interfere with operation of vehicle (may stop or slow) until the required DEF levels are reset.

Route Planning

Avoid the stress of being unsure of the next exit by searching for the best route for your journey in advance.  Make sure it is and having a printed copy With even the best planning before you start your trip, the next service station on your route may not be open or perhaps inaccessible for your rig. 

11. Travel with an alternate driver. In a perfect world try have a horse savvy travel companion that can share the driving and provide assistance in an emergency. 

12.  Carry extra food and water for both people and animals.  Have non-electric requiring entertainment to keep bored children amused during a breakdown.

13.  Take regular breaks.  Horses need to rest at regular intervals as do drivers.  Never drive to the point of being tired and immediately stop at first safe pull over location if you sense you are losing focus.  Ideally, plan your journey to include regular stops at trailer friendly locations you have identified BEFORE you leave. Take  a power nap; do not rely on stimulants such as caffeine.  Many truck stops have rooms for resting and showers to refresh the driver.  Offer horses water at stops and refill hay nets. Best trailers have drop down window grates for easily providing water.

14.  Hydration For summer shows or seasonal winter tours in hot locations, make sure both human and horse electrolytes are in stock.  Real electrolytes from a vet and from a pharmacy are preferred to sugar drinks that give temporary energy bursts that are followed by a drop in your blood sugar that may cause fatigue and dangerous loss of concentration. Make sure you carry water from home in containers and a bowl that will fit through the trailer window to offer what at rest or stopovers, See next blog for special advice on hydration.


Party on with Ultimat therapeutic flooring

Party on with Ultimat therapeutic flooring


Now you can dance, exercise or perform any of your special moves without joint stress by using Ultimat interlocking flooring tiles.  Made of a combination of virgin rubber and EVA (foam), these floor mats are light weight yet incredibly durable, meaning installation and re-use is a breeze. The mixture is individually extruded into a mold and sealed so the end product can be easily cleaned or disinfected.  The surface integral tredplate provides secure traction yet is nonabrasive; no concerns about “carpet burn” or sores from kneeling or exercising.  Customers happily report  they have experienced the benefits of this unique, attractive flooring for many years in a variety of uses.  Joint stress is a thing of the past when you use this remarkable, portable flooring system, guaranteeing 24/7 comfort and therapeutic support.

To learn more or get a quote for your particular flooring needs, just contact Equimat North America. Email: equimat@telus.net or call us anytime at 604) 894-6819.



Scotty Firefighter


OUTLINE FOR FRIDAY MARCH 9 2018 LECTURE AT WESTERN STATES HORSE EXPO POMONA Are you prepared for a barn emergency? It starts here…

Physical Equipment & Barn Information

  • Information
  • Current Facility Map with Location of horses
  • Barn Contact List :    All horse owners or caregivers of horse , emergency numbers, evacuation hot line, evacuation site Put specific role title next to person (see below(
  • Horse list with any important messages such as nervous loader
  • Map with locations of emergency equipment
  • Evacuation map with best route and alternate route clearly indicated. Circulate
  • Insurance – many commercial policies provide Force Majeure cover but few home policies; government disaster aid information – applications, time limits etc
  • Horse Loading Training incl foals
  • Sufficient Physical Equipment: recommend Scotty Firefighter Alpha Backpack located at \ each aisle, tack room – essential near hay.  Fluorescent signs indicating gear location
  • Battery powered or wind up radio; solar powered LED lights best; generator;
  • landscape pond with water pump and generator
  • Barn and entire facility “fireproofed”: building tips, materials, layout in sections, fireproof roof; sprinkler system; hydrants every building;
  • Smoke Alarms; Carbon Monoxide detector;
  • Hay storage separate (at least 50’) from horses
  • Paths and Roads clear for emergency responders to access facility
  • Evacuation Site Identified and Prepared – a topic of its own
  • Personal Emergency Kit –
  • Contact List of family, doctors, etc.
  • Bag packed always ready with medications, critical records, prominent contact info for medical or professional contact; insurance policy & contacts

Making your plan

  • (Need two plans – staying or leaving )
  • Meet to plan with all interested parties, discuss and write out in easy to read point form.  Circulate
  • Assign roles to specific people and name alternates. Role appropriate to person’s skill set e.g. horses handled only be experienced handlers with calm nature.
  • Communication general manager (gets current status of emergency, liases with authorities, between other role players; contacts evacuation site owner
  • Communications assistants(as many people  as necessary for size of operation to ensure rapid notice of evacuation plan execution conveyed to all owners, drivers notified,  etc.   Regular updates.
  • Evacuation  manager (not same person as communications)
  • trailer prep – with  essentials: emergency kit, extra halters and leads, first-aid supplies, and flashlights gassed up; generator, feed
  • trailer drivers,
  • Horse handlers & loader,
  • Firefighters – Everyone at facility should know how to operated the  basic Scotty’s equipment, like backpack fire extinguisher and where located, One person designated to ensure maintained and map current
  • Evacuation Site Manager : adequate fresh water, hay, feed etc.  Fireproof.  Emergency kit.  Fencing and gates secure.  Divide into as many pens as possible Determine and stock location for person caring for evacuees to eat and sleep.
  • Share the plan: role players, all associated with barn, neighbours Making your plan

Lecture outline found at www.equimats.com/blog

  • FRIDAY LECTURE https://equimats.com/horse-evacuation-emergency-planning-firefighting-products-lectures/
  • https://equimats.com/product-category/scotty-firefighter/





Scotty Firefighter

Horse Evacuation, Emergency Planning, Firefighting Products lectures

Equimat North America is honored to be invited to the Western States Horse Expo Pomona to present a three-part lecture series on barn and horse emergency planning. Real life evacuees and renowned champion horse breeding farm Dreamcatcher Meadows share their own personal experience of moving dozens of horses and foals to safety when wildfire threatened their home and barns – the full story can be read in Warmbloods Today and follow-up cover article lessons learned. One of the most important lessons was finding easy to use firefighting equipment. Equimat North America, the Dreamcatcher Meadows-owned company exclusively distributing Europe’s therapeutic horse stall mats,  launches at this Pomona CA show firefighting gear for home and barn use, made by the same manufacturers of professional fire extinguishers and fire retardants, Scotty Firefighter.  This Canadian owned and operated family business has supplied professional and volunteer firefighting first responders for decades, equipping first responders to tackle everything from city blazes to wildfire infernos. Responding to market need, emphatically demonstrated with the 2017 California wildfires, Scotty Firefighter has created lightweight, easy to use, premium versions of the professional’s gear for use by the general public.  Equipment such as the Bravo Alpha Backpack are designed for use by all horse owners and guardians that want to stay prepared for barn fires and homes emergencies. Learn how this equipment ensures you can be prepared at the lectures in the University Horse Expo, with additional emergency preparation and evacuation advice during the lectures detailed below.   Lloyd Rees will join Dreamcatcher Meadows to demonstrate and explain about the equipment first-hand at booths #9133, 9135, 9137, and 9139.

Equimat North America will also showcase their complete range of horse stall mats and anti-fatigue mats for home and commercial use such as the Horse Stall Mat Ultimat UV RESISTANT. The complete range of animal and human anti-fatique flooring products from Equimats  and firefighting equipment for home, barn through to commercial use by Scotty Firefighting, are for sale to the public for the first time at our booth !

 Lecture details for the three part “Are You Prepared?”are found at the links below:

Equimat Horse Stall Mats (Part 1/3) . Friday March 9, 12:45  Horse Expo University

Barn Emergencies: You Can be Prepared!

U.S. Launch of Scotty’s Firefighting Farm Products


Equimat Horse Stall Mats (Part 2/3):  Saturday March 10, 9:45  Horse Expo University

Are You Prepared? Lessons Learned from Wildfire

Evacuation & the Answer: Scotty Firefighting Products


Equimat Horse Stall Mats (Part 3/3) .  Sunday March 11, 4:00 Horse Expo University

 When the Unthinkable Happened – Diary of

Wildfire Evacuation & Scotty Firefighting Products

Wildfire evacuation
Scotty Firefighter

Wildfire evacuation Part Two

Wildfire Evacuation! Part Two. Lessons learned.

Owners of Dreamcatcher Meadows, a Hanoverian horse breeding and training center in the mountain valley of Pemberton, British Columbia share their wildfire evacuation experience. Read about moving their entire operation, including rescued animals, broodmares, newborn foals, and champion competition horses in the middle of the night due to forest wildfires. The wildfire was threatening home, the lives of their animals and to end their dream. The owners of Dreamcatcher Meadows felt it was important to document the experience to share lessons learned regarding emergency preparation and evacuation planning. That way others who may one day experience a similar situation can prepare themselves.

Haven’t read Part One? CLICK HERE 

Read the full article Wildfire evacuation Part Two Below:


Originally published in Warmbloods Today July/August 2010 edition

Wildfire evacuation. Barn fire prevention
Scotty Firefighter

Wildfire Evacuation of a large horse farm. Part One.

Wildfire evacuation! Part One

The owners of a champion horse breeding farm share the heart-wrenching account of the wildfire evacuation of Dreamcatcher Meadows. In 2009 a natural inferno raged through the British Columbia Coastal Mountains forests, threatening all residents of the mountain valley of Pemberton Meadows. Dozens of horses and other animals including rescues, broodmares, newborn foals, and their famous Hanoverian competition mares were forced to evacuate. This is part one of the two part diary of the evacuation experience. The owners of Dreamcatcher Meadows felt it was important to document the experience to share lessons learned regarding emergency preparation and evacuation planning. That way others who may one day experience a similar situation can prepare themselves.

Read more about the wildfire evacuation below:


Originally published in Warmbloods Today May/June 2010 edition.

Horse Stall mats save horse

Horse stall mats save horse with laminitis

This true account published in Warmbloods Today tells of how Equimat horse stall mats were a key factor in the laminitis treatment that ultimately saved this horse’s life. In 2011 Grand Prix champion Dreamcatcher Elite was diagnosed with a laminitic lameness so severe that insurance authorized euthanasia. Known to her caregivers as “Aria”, those who loved her didn’t give up on her, although the odds were against her recovery. Owners of Dreamcatcher Meadows Breeding and Training Centre state that Equimat’s special formulated horse stall mats were critical to her return to good health, with their farm’s namesake ultimately returning to competition at the sport’s highest level. “An Aria of Hope” is the heartwarming account of how Equimats played a key role in ensuring the 15 year love affair of this amazing mare and the many who loved her continued on against all odds.

Aria not only lived, but thrived –  her dressage showing success continued on. Her success contributed to this mountain valley farm winning the coveted annual title “Adequan USDF Sporthorse Breeder of the Year” three years in a row!!!!  She produced six foals by the farm’s residential embryo transfer program, which then developed into a legacy of over thirty horse owners enjoying her progeny – all of which carry her international superstar genetics.

Read the Full Story below:

***Aria of Hope 2012 Warmbloods Today****

Clay putting mats down

Superb Stall Mats

Superb Stall Mats

by Jenn Webster, Originally published by Western Horse Review

 Horse stall mats equimats

One of my newest, favorite pieces of equipment for traveling to shows with are EquiMat Stable Matting. And even if our trailer is packed to the max, EquiMats are my Never-Leave-Home-Without-Them item of the year.

In any given year, our horses may spend as many as 10 weeks on the road for various reining and cow horse events throughout Canada and the US. Therefore, maintaining their health and soundness during travel, has become priority #1 for Clay and I. Since we are subject to different types of stabling in each place we go, EquiMats allow us keep a standard comfort level for our show mounts – especially when we are stabled on cement.

Each mat is lightweight, making it easier than you think to cart them around for show travel. They offer protection from concrete by supporting horses with cushioned comfort and thermal insulation, plus they reduce the occurrence of capped hocks and other injuries. Equimat’s interlocking non-porous rubber sections are also equipped with a textured surface, to provide a non-slip area for your horse to rest. And if the horse so chooses, this can translate into more time for the animal to lie down which means more vital deep sleep periods.

Portable horse show mats

An entire show stall with mats pieced together.

These characteristically green mats are additionally non-toxic, non-absorbent and not affected by urine or concentrated disinfectants. At the end of a show, sometimes pulling the interlocking edges apart and giving each mat a rinse can be a bit of chore. However, the difference these mats have made to increase the soundness of our horses from the start to finish of a particular event has been incredible. They virtually eliminate body soreness and leg pain caused by extensive standing on cement. And to me, that’s worth any amount of elbow grease!

To see the original review please visit WESTERN HORSE REVIEW


Are there any therapeutic stall mats for barn flooring?

Therapeutic stall matsQ: Are there any therapeutic stall mats for barn flooring?

A: YES! Customer & vet declare 100% recovery for chronic lame horse after just two months with Equimats- therapeutic stall mats!

Thanks Kirsten and Kennedy for sharing  your heart-warming Equimat experience.  Can’t begin to say how delighted we are to read this customer’s Facebook review testimonial that Equimat therapeutic stall mats were pivotal in her beloved chronically lame 17 year old horse making a complete recovery! We experienced the same miraculous benefits using this kind of horse stall mats while living in England for a decade – (see “An Aria of Hope” in Warmbloods Today). Returning to Pemberton B.C. to build our new home and farm, Dreamcatcher Meadows Sporthorses (http://www.dreamcatchermeadows.com), we were devastated to learn there were no  therapeutic, anti-fatigue horse mats available in in Canada or the U.S. Today Equimats are still the only horse stall mats that deliver all essential features. We could not imagine compromising the care of our horses. More than a decade and half million Equimats sold later, customers, and their horses continue to enjoy our customized design.  Let Kirsten tell you how Equimat’s 24/7 non-invasive cushioned support has given her beloved mare a new lease on life…

Kirsten Poppe Brolin reviewed Equimat Stall Mats – North America — 5/5 stars

January 27 at 7:04pm

“Our 17 year old KWPN mare was on and off lame. After bringing in the vet, the mare was diagnosed via ultrasound with an oblique sesamoidean ligament strain. Treatment was months off work and then a “see what we’ve got” approach month after month. I decided that it was time to try the Equimats to see if these would help her. After 1 month of rest, the ultrasound showed a 50% reduction in the strain. After 2 months, the mare was 100% sound and ultrasound showed no signs of strain. She is on a slow path in rehab but I’m convinced the Equimats helped immensely with her recovery. The vet also agreed and was surprised at how quickly she recovered from her injury. The mats are so easy to install and also to move. Can’t wait to put them in the show stalls! Would 100% recommend this product to anyone who wants to give their horse the best.”

Get your own Equimats Today! Click HERE to view products.

Scotty Firefighter

Equimat North America Presents: Are You Prepared – Equine Fire Safety

Are You Prepared?

To inaugurate Equimat North America’s exclusive retail launch of Scotty Firefighting products, Equimat co-owner Jill Giese will be giving a presentation this weekend at the Mane Event in Chilliwack with Scotty Firefighting president Lloyd Rees on emergency preparedness on the farm. With the rampant wildfires still burning across the Canadian and American West Coast, there is no better time to invest in learning valuable lessons to know what to do when a fire threatens. In 2009, the evacuation of Jill and partner John’s Pemberton home and farm Dreamcatcher Meadows due to wildfire threat led them to discover Scotty Firefighting products. With Camel Back Mountain totally ablaze and a valley filled with smoke, Jill and John were forced to evacuate Dreamcatcher Meadows Breeding and Training Centre – their own and boarders’ horses, rescues and many other residents from parrots to cats to miniature donkeys. Thankfully, a emergency evacuation plan was in place and staff, friends, clients and the horse community were able to execute that plan – ensuring that everyone (from fur to feather) was able to evacuate to safety.

Every horse lover – barn owner, boarder, or even guest visiting their favourite, needs to know what to do when fire threatens. We believe that being prepared is key. Having lived the nightmare, Jill and John at Equimat North America introduce a line of professional firefighting products that they know work and will help you avoid a potential disaster. In advance of Jill’s lecture at the Mane Event, we have collated some barn safety tips for fire-preparedness from friends, top industry publications and our own experience (!) on how to best manage your farm and horses in case of emergency. Keep your eyes on this space for further information about Scotty’s Products, and to learn how to create an evacuation plan for your facility –

Stay informed and keep safe !



Barn Safety Tips in the Case of Fire


✓ Prominently post the fire department phone number at each telephone

✓ Post clear, concise directions to your property at each telephone. This will allow you to provide clear instructions to responding emergency services.

✓ Make sure your neighbours know the address of your farm, and any important info about your farm and the buildings on your property. It is often your neighbour who will notice the smoke or flames coming from an adjacent property. By ensuring your neighbour knows your address, you can save valuable time for responders (especially in rural areas).

✓ Have a list of veterinarians and make sure that the one you call will be able to reach your animals for treatment during an emergency.


✓ Designate in advance who is in charge in the event of an emergency

✓ Identify exits and possible evacuation routes from all areas of barns and farm buildings. Ensure everyone is familiar with these routes.

✓ Maintain an identification list of all animals on your farm. Make necessary arrangements to house livestock in the event that they need to be evacuated from the barn in a fire (i.e. where are they going?)

✓ Consider the purchase of a layman’s book on veterinary care. Become familiar with the portions in the book dealing with emergency treatment ahead of time.

✓ Review the plan with all facility members / employees and update your plan regularly to accommodate changes to the buildings, livestock or staff.


✓ Keeping a clean, clear space around buildings and in general yard areas can help reduce fire spreading from one building to another.

✓ Strictly enforce a ‘NO SMOKING’ policy in and around all farm buildings. Post ‘NON SMOKING’ signs. Ensure they are observed.  

✓ Practice good groundskeeping. Remove brush, weeds and tall grass from around buildings. Proper trimming and pruning of your trees, and clearing underneath will make a difference in a fire. Using fire retardant plans in landscaping with greatly minimize the air-borne cinders.

✓ Large clearings are generally safe for your house, as well as your horse, during a fire. Note that the Fire Department judgement is 200 feet of clearance to bare earth around your property.

✓ Provide clear access to water supplies that might be required for fire fighting (i.e. wells, cisterns, ponds, streams, etc.)

✓ Maintain wells and pumps used for water supply

✓ Maintain a perimeter fence to prevent horses from leaving the property

✓ Ensure that there is vehicle access to the barn, and at least 25 feet or 8 meters always available for a firetruck.



✓ Keep aisle ways clear of clutter

✓ Ensure that each horse has a place for halter / lead rope in front of their stall.

✓ Ensure stalls and restraining equipment on property have quick release mechanisms.

✓ Grain handling and feed preparation activities generate dust which presents an explosion / fire-hazard. Vent these areas and provide a fresh air supply. Properly protect electrical fixtures and use totally enclosed, fan-cooled motors.

✓ Keep hay stored on wood palettes to allow air to circulate around the hay. Hay catches fire easily, so keep it away from flammable items and in a place where the air can ventilate. Be aware, wet hay can cause fires.

✓ Sweep cob webs from rafters, walls and fixtures often. Cob webs are surprisingly flammable and explosive (!), and will nurture a fire! 

✓ Nylon halters and ropes can melt into your horse’s flesh. Same goes for nylon blankets / fly sheets. Use a leather halter and cotton lead rope.


✓ Farm electrical must be maintained and in good working order. Electrical installations and repairs must be done by qualified persons in accordance with applicable codes.

✓ Know where the main electrical service panels are located, and know how to shut them off.

✓ Stall fans, space heaters, radios, lights are to be used only when someone is in the barn.

✓ Disconnect or unplug electrical equipment and appliances when not in use.

✓ Enclose exposed wiring in barns to protect against weather, animals, mechanical damage.


✓ Install fire extinguishers in your barn, tool shed and other farm buildings. Make sure fire extinguishers are well-labeled.

✓ Make sure family members and employees know where the extinguishers are located and know how to use them. 

✓ Maintain your extinguishers by inspecting them regularly and recharge when necessary.


✓ Refuel equipment outdoors. Keep engines, motors and machinery well maintained to prevent malfunction and overheating.

✓ Ensure all liquid fuel and propane storage areas are located according to applicable codes


✓ Have transportation: If you don’t have a truck and trailer, get one or arrange in advance for someone to ship your horses in an emergency.

✓ Keep your truck gassed up, facing the exit and do a weekly safety check on your rig. Know it will be ready to go. Practice hooking up the trailer to tow vehicle in the dark.

✓ Stock your rig with a disaster kit. Extra halters and leads, first aid supplies and flashlights important.

✓ Train to load: It is important that horses know how to lead and load. A panic situation is not the time to teach your horse to load.

✓ If your horses is a handful, talk to your vet about tranquilizing him in an emergency. Have a tranquilizer on hand. Know how to administer it.

✓ Keep in mind: Sedating your horse in an emergency is not always a good idea. Your horse may lose its natural instinct for self preservation. It also may lose balance and stability. You are only allowed to administer medication to your own animals. Do not offer to administer medications to anyone else’s horse.

✓ If all horses can’t go in one load, decide ahead of time which ones will go first. It makes sense to take the easy loaders first.

✓ Plan alternate routes: Regional disaster planning and emergency services can help you figure out the best travel routes to your safe spots. Ensure you plan several routes, in case certain roads are blocked.



✓ Establish with your horse that you (the human) are the herd leader. When a horse feels threatened, its natural response is to take flight, fight or freeze. Regardless of your handling abilities, your horse can hurt you, a by-stander, damage property or even injure himself (self-destruct). It is important to train your horse to behave well before an emergency situation arises. Work with your horse, and keep his or her training consistent to handle new environments and situations.

✓ Be an aware owner. Keep your horses immunized on a regular basis!

✓ Make sure your horse has some sort of permanent identification, such as a freeze brand, microchip implant, tattoo, etc. and keep photographs (winter and summer coats can be different) and copy of all your horse’s identifiable features in a safe place.

✓ Learn various knots so you can safely tie a group of horses together, perhaps on a picket line.

✓ Take your horse out at night. Not all emergencies occur in the daytime. Familiarize your horse with flashlights.

✓ If you need to remove a horse from a burning building or corral, you need to blindfold the animal – know how to do so safely. Tuck a dry cloth into their halter. Practice is key. 

✓ Dry bandanas or other cotton fabric make a good temporary smoke mask to place over a horse’s nostrils. 

✓ Accustom your horse to drinking from different or strange water buckets. Try using a collapsible bucket, too. Boxed apple juice on hand can be added to encourage a horse to drink. 


✓ Flashlight and batteries

✓ Battery-operated radio

✓ First-aid supplies for both horses and humans

✓ Emergency tools – chain saw, hammer and nails, wire cutters, pry bars, duct tape (!)

✓ List of emergency contacts, including your veterinarian

✓ Clean towels


✓ Most barns will only accept safe horses and those who can present a coggins/health certificate. Try to keep these items up to date at all times. 

✓ Keep vaccinations and coggins up to date. Keep coggins handy.



Horses are survivors. They are strong and will follow their instincts. They often survive on their own. The moment may come when your life is in peril – If necessary, be prepared to let go of the horse to save your own life. Trust that he will find his way.