Letters from LSMSA: Procedures to Ensure Horse Safety During Hurricanes

By Reagan Brown (’21)
(Industry, TX)

I sat down with Janie Welborn and she gave me the insight on protecting animals too big to be put in a car during floods.

Hurricanes impact not just human lives, but animal lives as well. For most, packing up indoor animals into a car and going to safety is common practice, but what about animals too big to take with you? Janie Welborn, an Associate of Veterinary Science and certified in equine anesthesia, is the owner of Welborn Farms, where she boards 26 horses and is responsible for their safety.

When flooding occurs, it’s vital that the right procedures are followed to ensure the well-being of these horses. The first step is to take all horse related equipment and secure it tightly in the tack room to clear the aisle ways of the barn. Next she completely turns off the water to avoid pipes bursting, which could cause more flooding, along with opening all barn doors and windows. The change in barometric pressure due to tornadoes can cause a vacuum, blowing the barn roof off.

Her barns are also equipped with hurricane straps to secure the buildings during wind storms. If flooding becomes too much of a threat, the horses are pleased from their stalls. They can survive in about 6ft of water, and their natural instinct makes them look for higher elevations. The most important step, however, is that each horse wears a halter with a name and phone number to ensure that if they’re found, the person who finds them can call and return them back to their owners.