October 6, 2016. South of the border US President Obama declares a State of Emergency. Officials in Florida tell people in evacuation areas to “get out or prepare to die”.
My husband David and I spend the winters in South Florida where I train and compete with my horse Biasini and we have many friends there. What was going to happen to them and to their horses? Social media gave me some answers. That’s what Facebook is for right?
My Florida coach and trainer Luis Reteguiz Denizard had just moved into a new house. What was the first thing he did? He put up the metal hurricane shutters on all of the windows. In Wellington David Kohn was preparing to spend the night in the bathroom as it was the only room without windows. A good plan! Another friend, Angelyn Trimble, in Palm City, battened down the hatches on her small barn and spray painted her phone number onto the sides of her horses.
Horses are flight animals. They have survived many millennia by being aware of any dangers around them and their reaction to danger is to run. To flee from the danger. If a hurricane damaged the barn and they escape they would run for miles and miles in their panic. If they were later found the phone number would make it possible to call the owner and tell them the horse was alive and safe. The thought of having to do this with my horse Biasini while waiting for a hurricane is almost unimaginable.
For more information on what horse owners were doing there is a good blog post on NoelleFloydstyle.com http://noellefloydstyle.com/nine-things-wellington-horse-owners-are-doing-to-prepare-for-hurricane-matthew
Hurricane Matthew was coming and he was leaving a trail of death and destruction in his wake. Florida was right to prepare and to evacuate. Several barns in other states were offering stabling to those who chose to evacuate. Normally a veterinary certificate is necessary for a horse to cross any state border but I think this would have been waived in this emergency situation.
Matthew doesn’t care about a border. He has no need of a passport or a visa to enter the USA. Neither a wall nor a border can keep him out. As I went to bed I hoped that he might at least tire a bit or decide to stay out at sea.
I turned on the radio as soon as I woke up. Matthew had made landfall farther north than Wellington and Palm City. I looked at Facebook and friends were checking in “safe”. Horses also were also reported safe. I breathed a sigh of relief. It is not over yet. It is never over until it is well and truly over.
Hurricanes never respect a border.