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Horses and Bushfires - Be prepared, stay safe!

CFA Bushfire and Horses

Horses and bushfires - Be prepared, stay safe!

Saddleworld thanks the CFA (Country Fire Authority) for their helpful hints for keeping us and our horses safe and thanks all of the wonderful volunteers for their tireless efforts when bushfires occur.

Whether your horses are located at home or on an agistment property you must plan and prepare for their safety.

Horse ID

It is a good idea to use a waterproof marker or nail polish to note your mobile number on the horse’s front hooves on days of extreme weather conditions and danger, that way you will be reunited with your horse if evacuation is necessary in your absence

Hooves Marked

• Horses need a large open space to avoid bushfires
• Move your horses to a safer location before fire threatens your property
• Remove all gear, including rugs
• Seek treatment for burns quickly

Safe places for your horses
Horses are quite good at avoiding bushfire if:
• They have enough room to move freely in a large open space
• There is minimal vegetation in the large open space

Horses grazing CFA

On Severe, Extreme or Code Red fire danger days, move your horses to a designated safer paddock or area. This may be:
• A large well-grazed paddock
• A series of smaller paddocks with the internal gates left open
• A large sand ménage, provided there are no buildings or vegetation close-by that could catch fire.

Ideally the paddock should have a dam in it where the horse can seek relief from the heat.

Do not lock your horses in a stable, holding yard or similar environment. The horse may panic and hurt themselves if confined.

Do not let your horses out on the roads as they will be in more danger from traffic and fire.

A horse’s natural instinct is to run from danger including bushfire and they will quickly move to burnt ground to survive.

Ensure your property has a Property Identification Code (PIC) registered with the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) that indicates horses are there.

If your property isn’t safe
Move your horses to a safer location before fire threatens your property. Once a fire has started, it is unlikely you will be able to safely move your horses to another location. Bushfires can travel quickly and roads will be dangerous, or possibly closed.

Agist your horses out of the area during summer (Fire Danger Period)

Develop your plan to temporarily move your horses on Severe, Extreme or Code Red days to:
• A neighbour or friend’s property
• Local showgrounds
• Saleyards
• Racetracks
• Pony club grounds

Arrange a group strategy with friends, other agistees or club members
. If you agist your horses, find out what the bushfire plan is for the property.

Prepare your horses
On Severe, Extreme or Code Red fire danger days remove all gear, including rugs, from your horses. Some gear may melt or become very hot and cause serious burns, or get caught on fences.

Permanently identify your horses by microchipping or branding them. If your horse is difficult to catch, consider leaving a leather halter on with identification tags.

After the fire

Horses tend to recover well after a fire. They may suffer facial burns and swollen eyelids. Seek appropriate treatment to restore them to full health quickly.

A horse suffering from burns requires prompt veterinary attention. Until the vet arrives, you can:
• Sponge affected areas with cold water
• If legs are affected, try standing your horse in a bucket of water
• Any first-aid administered should be anti-inflammatory.

Horses and Bushfires - Dept of Environment and Primary

Pets and bushfires
Horses and Bushfires (PDF 1248k)
Australian Horse Industry Council

Ask yourself
Am I at risk?

Where do I get local area - info & advice

Other on-line resources ... Before and during a fire
Maintain your property
Clearing trees and vegetation
Home improvements
Burning off

The love of lifestyle and horses provides great incentive to live in Australia's beautiful country areas - however the hot dry conditions pose a constant risk of fires, and loss of animals and property.

You can significantly reduce the exposure to risk by being aware of the dangers and understanding that when it is a total fire ban day - you will not have time to do all that is required to stay safe.

Be sure to live each day with your fire plan strategy in place and work with neighbours, family and friends to ensure that you are looking out for each other.

Protect life, property and enivronment.