The South Australian horse owning community has rallied together to relocate a conservative estimate of two thousand horses over the past three days out of the fire danger areas of Adelaide Hills and the South East. This unprecedented grass-roots response has used social media as the primary tool to coordinate owners, volunteers, vehicles, horse floats and places for keeping horses in safety. Public parks and sporting fields, showgrounds, racecourses, veterinary clinics and many private residents are providing emergency evacuation accommodation for horses, which are spread across a wide geographic area.
“The fires are still not controlled and many landholders do not know how horses left behind have fared” said Julie Fiedler, Executive Officer for Horse SA. “We need to reach out again in the days to come to help people who may be facing many months of nursing fire affected horses or perhaps even to deal with a loss.”
The hardest days are yet to be faced by many horse property managers who have lost valuable fencing, infrastructure and grazing. Horse SA has prepared these few tips for what will be for many, of a year or more of recovery.
1. Remove horses from burnt ground, which can be hot for several days, provide ample clean water and shelter
2. Check all horses once or more daily, as fire-affected animals may take several days to show signs of smoke inhalation, burns, hoof damage or other health issues. Do not hesitate to call your veterinary clinic for advice.
3. Where possible, organise temporary agistment for horses out of the fire-ground area for one to six months, or until fencing and grazing can be restored.
People who would like to help further may consider a donation of cash to a recognised organisation, such as South Australian Veterinary Emergency Management or the RSPCA, so that purchases can be made of the exact items or services that are required to assist. The Horse SA website and Facebook pages provide links to social media sites assisting horse owners.
Horse SA has, as a key goal, to make sure horses are a valued part of our Australian culture, community and business life. The organisation works at all levels of government, business and non-profit organisations through to grass roots horse owners to achieve that goal.