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Horse, Rider, & Handler Safety Tip: Always check your towing vehicle and trailer before loading your horse. You wouldn't get on an airplane without knowing it had been thoroughly checked and was safe to fly, why would you load your horse and drive down the road without knowing everything was in working order?

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Barn Safety

If you have your horses at home you have to consider several factors, such as an emergency plan, fencing, stall safety, run in sheds, water, lights, hay, turnout, and much more. Itís hard to think of everything thatís why we are here. We have had horses at home for over 9 years. 

Emergency Plan: 

Have instructions to your location posted by the phone. Itís a good idea to have a phone in your barn. If you canít get a phone in your barn make sure every time you go outside to check on your horses or feed them have your cell phone. This way in case of any emergency you donít have to run back in the house and get the phone. And you know when youíre in a state of panic things go wrong, such as youíll not be able to find the phone or remember the number. Itís a good idea to have the veterinarian number set on speed dial. In the barn or near the phone have all emergency numbers and clear directions to your location and be as specific as possible about the emergency.   

  • Have an emergency kit available. Put all items in a plastic bin and clearly mark it as emergency. Youíll need to have bute, have paste on hand so you can push it. If available have some banamine, with directions for both bute and banamine from your vet on use. Standing wraps and vet wrap. A kotex is great for any bleeding wound. Dermolone is like Neosporin only for horses. Have blunt end scissors, so when youíre stressed you donít cut yourself or the horse. Have a cheap stethoscope so you can listen to stomach sounds to see if your horse is colicing.

  • If you have to evacuate your horses do you have a plan where to take them? Have halters with their name and your phone number. If you canít get a horse in the trailer and you have to go you might have to turn the horse loose or you might have to take your horses to a facility where no one knows your horse so if you have a halter that has their name and your number they can reach you. Remember the Hayman Fires? Horses were evacuated to Douglas County fairgrounds and because some people didnít have identification with the horse the ownerís couldnít be reached. On the halter itís good to say the color of the horse, so if someone else evacuates your horse they know what halter goes to what horse, such as:

  • Bay Arabian-Wildfire-719-555-5555

Itís always a good idea to do a dry run of your emergency evacuation plan. Practice removing horses in the dark in case your electricity is out. You want to simulate a real emergency. 


Always check your stalls to make sure that nothing is protruding. If you have mats check to make sure they are not curling. If the floor is dirt, is it level? You can make a drain in the stall by having a slight slope toward a hole filled with rocks. You dig a 3 foot deep x 12Ē in diameter hole and fill with rocks. It will absorb the urine. You can get cheap shavings by going to a lumber mill and get the shavings and get the shavings delivered in bulk. You might have to sift the shavings. Make sure your horse canít open the stall. They have a lot of time to work things out, they can get creative. Can your horses reach over the side and get to each other? If so, put up bars in between so they canít bite each other. I like bars better than a solid wall; horses are very social creatures and like to see their neighbors. 


Itís good to have lights that you can turn on over the stall, but make sure the switch is out of reach from your horse. If it is not out of reach then make sure you cover it. You can get those plastic outlet covers you use for babies. Horses are like babies you have to child proof everything. Leave no stone unturned.  


Have your grain in a bucket with a cover. Itís better to have grain in metal garbage can. Mice can still chew through plastic. Itís not always practical, but it is better to have our hay outside the barn in another structure. If a fire breaks out and the hay is isolated you have a better chance of the barn not burning up so fast.  

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Last modified: 03/04/08