Your horse’s barn should have a wall or fence high enough to ensure that floods or other ‘unwanteds’ remain out. However, sometimes the flood water is too much or too strong to remain outside. Just like you would clean up your home to take it back to normalcy, your equine family also needs to get back to a comfortable and safe place to call home after flooding. So, how do you do this? Let’s take a journey to learn all about this below:
1) First ensure total safety
Before you can start assessing the damage caused by the floods and deciding what to start with, it’s very important that you turn off all the electrical circuits and breaker boxes associated with your horse farm. Also make sure that all propane tanks and gas lines are off. Then wear protective clothing (including gloves, shoes and eye gear) and confirm that your tetanus booster is up-to- date because the flood water could have been contaminated by septic systems or passed through leach fields upstream.
2) Gather all debris in one place
Floods can deposit a lot of extra material and/or erode the topsoil from your horse farm. Remove any scattered equine manure, sand, mud, gravel, etc. and re-level the barns and paddocks. Ensure the ground remains exposed enough to allow aeration and faster drying, and cross-check the entire barn and pastures for pieces of glass, wires, nails, etc. to avoid injuries to your horses.
3) Clean, disinfect & confirm structural integrity
After clearing all debris from your barn, clean all the structures in it using a detergent solution in a pressure-washer so as to disinfect and destroy any infectious contaminants that may have been brought by the floodwater. You can use either a commercial disinfectant or a 1:10 solution of chlorine water. Be sure to leave the bleach in contact with the surfaces being disinfected for a minimum of 15 minutes. Once everywhere is clean, then have a professional structural engineer confirm the structural soundness of all the structures in your barn including roofs, walls and fences, gates, stores, run-ins and indoor arenas.
4) Water testing & feed disposal
Finally, make sure that the sources of drinking water for your horses are clean and uncontaminated. Have a professional health officer or certified equine lab test the water for quality and safety. Confirm that there are no leaks or breaks in the piping system to prevent any further problems. If there is any horse feed contaminated by the floodwater, discard all of it to avoid the risk of molding or infections to your horses.
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