Skip to Content

This horse was rescued after being trapped in a flooded paddock

Floods are one of the more common natural disasters faced by horse owners. Many properties are in floodplains but some owners have a false sense of security.

Floods can be slow or fast-rising. Slow-rising floods are typical as floodwaters move down a river or creek and can often be predicted to reach a certain height. Flash floods are usually the result of extremely heavy rain or melting snow and occur suddenly, like in our video. They can also result from dam or levee bank failure.

So forward planning will greatly reduce the amount of animal and human suffering in any emergency situation including floods. As a horse carer, when undertaking disaster planning for floods, you should make yourself familiar with the area in which your horses live. In particular, proximity to creeks, dams, waterways, drainage areas.

Councils have information on floodplains in your area. Proper land-use management and compliance with building regulations may reduce some of the costs due to losses from flooding. Also, the driveway to your property needs to be well constructed and maintained to protect you from being stranded during flooding, if you live in a risk area.

And also try to avoid building in a floodplain. Sheds and stables should be located in high lying areas sufficiently large to be used as a holding area for horses in the event of a flood. If you graze horses on floodplains, be prepared to move them to higher ground before low-lying evacuation routes become flooded.

Construct separate buildings for storage of farm chemicals such as herbicides, pesticides, and fuels so there is minimal chance of contaminating feed and water.

In broad, level flood plains where floodwaters are seldom deeper than one meter, you may need to establish areas of high ground on which horses can stay until floodwaters recede. And last but not least, regularly check the security of fencing and inspect buildings for sharp edges and soundness.