US horse world prepares for Hurricane Matthew

  • Horse owners in the path of Hurricane Matthew have been urged to put their hurricane emergency plans into action as a state of emergency has been declared in parts of the United States.

    Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti yesterday (Tuesday), resulting in fatalities, a reported shortage of fresh water, overcrowding of hospitals and 10,000 people in shelters.

    Forecasts show the category four storm, with winds between 131-155mph, is expected to reach Florida sometime after 2pm on Thursday.

    It is then predicted to move up the east coast through Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina over Friday and Saturday.

    Around one million people are expected to be told to leave their homes in South Carolina, and North Carolina has published a checklist for horse owners together with a list of equine evacuation centres.

    Among its recommendations is that each horse should have at least two forms of identification on him, for example an ID tag plaited into his mane or tail, writing a phone number on him with a waterproof livestock marker and also ensuring he is microchipped.
    The America Association of Equine Practitioners also has advice on its website on what to do and what decisions owners need to make when preparing for a hurricane.

    These include: deciding whether to evacuate or if not, identifying the best place at your property for your animals in the case of a disaster; preparing an emergency kit and enough hay and water for at least 72 hours; have a “buddy system” to help each other out and agree to check on each other.

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    Palm Beach International Equestrian Centre has cancelled its Equestrian Sport Productions (ESP) October show (7-9 October).

    “Due to insurance regulations at ESP, all facilities will go into mandatory lockdown mode if storm watches or warnings are posted in the region, resulting in the early cancellation of the competition,” said a statement from the equestrian centre.

    Florida Horse Park has also cancelled its events this weekend and is offering emergency stabling.

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