Friday, February 9, 2007

If Disaster Happens , What About Your Horses?

As a breeder of Arabian horses what concerns me most is life’s unpredictability. The best laid plans of mice and men can be blown all the way to kingdom come with one nod from fate or Mother Nature. What happens to my horses in a disaster? What happens to my horses if something happens to me? These and at least a dozen other questions plague me on occasion.
What got me thinking along these lines today? Well, this morning as I was doing my usual search of horse blogs I can across this post. One Spark Away from Tragedy and that got me thinking about a fire at a big Arabian horse training facility several years back. An Arabian stallion, The Chief Justice, that I greatly admired lost his life in that fire. According to this information from the Western Horseman website Arabian Legends, another great Bask son, Wisdom, was lost in the fire as well. That fire altered Arabian horse history according to this quote from the article.

”Sadly, two stallions near the top of the list, Wisdom and The Chief Justice, died in a tragic fire on January 31, 1996, while still active breeding stallions. Had they had full careers, they might have become *Bask's best-siring sons, based on their early records.”

I found the above picture and more pictures of this particular barn fire being fought West BarnstableBarn Fire. Note these pictures are from a third fire in Massachusetts in 2002.

Barn fires are not the only danger to horse owners and their herds. Mother Nature can conjure up all forms of problems for horses and their owners ranging from earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornados, wild fires and volcanoes erupting. Some of these may come with a small amount of warning time, some not. In the event of a warning, Mother Nature’s forces has been known to not go by the rules, change paths and end up other places striking unprotected areas.

So if the unthinkable happens to you, will you be prepared? If you think you are, will Mother Nature deliver her blow in compliance with your planning? One grateful woman in last week’s tornado found herself in this predicament. Thankfully, she had a great friend and a supportive community as written about on
Sierra Lynch’s Horse IQ The Problem Solver in her post In a Disaster This Is the Kind of Friend You Want for Yourself and Your Horses.

Like Sierra, I’m not going to address different disaster plans because frankly, the possibilities for Mother Nature’s wrath are so varied it would be impossible to do them all justice. But I am going to suggest that it’s important to the safety of your herd to consider the possibilities. We may not all be as fortunate as the people listed here. It’s entirely possible that we could end up left to our own devices to deal with a disaster and our horses’ lives will be dependant on us. How will your herd fare?


  1. Hi MiKael

    This is sure food for thought, something that is always in tha back of my mind too.

    I would hate to lose my horses this way. How tragic.


  2. This is good food for thought as the temperature remains in the single digits and low teens for days on end here on the east coast. The threat of fire among so many other disasters needs to be filtering through the minds of all stable owners and managers.

  3. Mikael,

    You described it very well when you called disasters like the fire as "the unthinkable." Because that's exactly what they are.

    I think because of that, most horse owners don't think about it. That's too bad. As horrible as it is to consider, I agree with you: you really have to.

    While you can never be sure of the details of every possible disaster that might happen, it's good to have a general plan.

    Oh, and my name is Sierra Lynch, not Sarah. That's okay - a lot of people make the same mistake. :)

    Sierra Lynch
    Horse IQ

  4. This is also a fear for people who don't own barns but board their horses at other's barns. You have to trust the welfare of your beloved animals to someone else, and it's difficult to give up that kind of control. You hope that the barn owner is just as concerned for your horse's safety as you are. And you pray that nothing tragic will happen.

  5. i do try my best to be proactive, but it's true you can never be too prepared for every imaginable contingency - and even for the ones you can't imagine. thanks for the reminder. i'll be doing some homework!

  6. Wow... Many (many) years ago my aunt worked for Bru Bet Arabians in Scranton Iowa. I was pretty little, and even though my aunt & uncle were very successful in the show ring themselves ( my uncle was the youngest rider to win a national title before they started youth nationals- my aunt being a year older and in the next age bracket lol) the whole operation had me in awe! I'll never forget the three brilliant stallions they stood... GG Jabask, KJ Quick Silver , and The Chief Justice...

  7. I most certainly cannot believe I forgot one of them!!! I am so ashamed!! So sorry High Hopes!! I know you may never read this considering how old the posts are here, but I had to rectify :0) these boys, were my first glimpse of greatness, and the family treated me like a grand daughter! Thus my aunt like a daughter...