Equine Rescue

Few Horse Evacuations Due to Severe Weather in Midwest

By Pat Ra  as published in TheHorse.com

“Unless your barn is built like Fort Knox and certified for a high-wind event, horses should be in their pastures,”

Tornado HorseThough horses some were removed from damaged pastures, few animals were driven from their homes when high winds and driving rains swept through the Midwest on Sunday.

Andrew Krein, meteorologist for the National Weather Service‘s Chicago office, said that on Nov. 17, high winds and tornado conditions swept through rural Illinois, leaving the towns of Washington and Godfrey in shambles. Similar storms struck Indiana and Missouri, Krein said.

Though the storms’ high winds forced some horses from their pastures, there have been no large scale horse evacuations due to the tornadoes, said Sheryl King, president of the Illinois Horseman’s Counsel.

“We have heard that some horses were moved by their owners from pastures with fences down due to the tornado, but we are still waiting for reports of wide-spread horse evacuations,” King said.

King said that the tornado-force winds spared the Gordyville USA horse show facility, located near Washington. The show ground can hold over 700 portable stalls, according to the facility’s website.

“If that barn had gone we would have no place to stage the horses (in the event of evacuations),” King said.

Instead, the facility is being used to stage volunteers that will help Washington and Godfrey residents deal with the devastation left in the tornado’s aftermath, King said.

Whenever a storm packing high winds is predicted, Rebecca Gimenez, PhD, primary instructor and president of the Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue, recommends owners not confine their horses to the barn in many cases.

“Unless your barn is built like Fort Knox and certified for a high-wind event, horses should be in their pastures,” she said. “Horses may get nasty injuries, but they won’t be crushed in the barn.”

Gimenez also reminds owners to clear their property, pastures, and paddocks of any items that could become projectiles when a storm strikes, including tree limbs that could blow down in storm force winds and other debris.

In the meantime, Krein said the Midwest storm threat is over, at least for now: “Everything is quiet now.”

10 replies »

  1. NW Indiana Had High Winds And Torrential Rain But Only A Couple Tornados Touched Down. Basically, the News Gave Continual Updates so People Can Prepare Themselves.


  2. Luckily all I had here was wind and rain. No fences down this time and just 2 trees down across my lane , which made for an interesting trek off the farm. Horses dry and happy to be in the barn!


  3. I updated on my Facebook yesterday. Lots od debris, destroyed buildings, almost all animals accounted for. We had tree limbs in our round pen and pasture but we use steel frame stalls so when the limbs,hit the frame they shattered. During the storm I yelled for the dog and he came in through the slanted winds racing like horse….hesJack Russel and Dalmation. I told the horses to stand under the steel wind blocks and they looked at me like i was crazy but didnt move, the branches fell with fury, I just kept saying stand still. When it was over no one was injured, but we had alot less trees….Senator Freirichs hometown was devastated, we within minutes had word Gordyville was ok and still standing. Some family farms with cattle and horses in Gifford were wiped put but so far the livestock appear to be ok. We are collecting horse and cattle data from all the close nit communities and hearing about their fears and relief at seeing their animals alive have been few. This time of year in Illinois most animals are outside or like us have small steel frame structures. Weve had horses through excessive winds and two tornados and thank God always made it. My Dad called to confirm he was doing fine.


  4. I posted a storm update on Facebook yesterday and sent prayers to the people picking up the pieces. We have not heard anything really bad about horses or livestock thus far and hope there is nothing bad to find. The storm damaged a lot of our area, Gifford is a stone’s throw away and nice community. Gordyville USA was the first thing deemed safe after the storm and we were relieved people have an option for themselves and their animals. The communities affected that lost their entire farms in Catlin, Hoopeston lost animal barns, and Westville and Danville have damaged or missing barns, Belgium has a lot of downed trees, we all had power outage. On a lighter note I purchased steel frame stalls 12 years ago and assembled them for safe shelter with 2″ Oak and sturdy frame roofs and we were delighted to see even heavy rain and horrific high winds they were still there with our horses inside. At first our Miniature didn’t want to go in, but I yelled through the rain and high winds out our back door, “Shorty go in, Shorty go inside” He looked at me terrified, I called our dog back to the porch, he’s our gonna save the horses pooch-half Dalmation and Half Jack Russel-he is terrified of storms but rounds up anyone including the barn cats to make sure everyone’s safe before he is. Then he shows his fear. But Shorty, he was so scared, but then training kicked in and he decided at the last moment to go into the shelter-then the large limb fell against the round pen bending the steel right where he had been standing moments before! When the storm was over my gelding with the Ulcers was whinnying to hear my voice, I said hello and he calmed right down, Shorty pranced out picking up a large piece of bark and showing it to me as if to confirm he understood why I was yelling at him. We had a lot of limbs, damage to round pen panel, all and all did ok ourselves. But when you can call your horse to a shelter out of an intense wind and rain and he understand you even though you are calling from another location you realize there is no way in the entire world we can EVER allow Slaughter. This morning the dog sniffed out our pet rabbits excited they were all safe and sound. I am hoping we continue to get positive information from others, our road has a lot of horses and they are all safe and sound.


  5. Ask the people of Moore, Oklahoma whether they would have wanted their horses out or in. In the case of that F-5, it probably meant fatalities either way. Speaking of Moore, isn’t the photo that accompanies this story from that event not the storms this week?


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