ANR-228NP (APSC-150NP)

Authors as Published

Watson Lawrence, Senior Extension Agent, Chesapeake


Disaster preparedness is important for all animals, but it is particularly important for horse owners because of the animal’s size and the requirements needed to shelter and transport them. The most important step in protection of your valued animals is to have a plan in place.


Be sure you have a negative Coggins test, as well as a health certificate for interstate travel. An “Equine Interstate Event Permit (EIEP)”, which became available for the first time in 2013, allows interstate travel of horses with many cooperating states in the southeast U.S. Horse owners may elect to obtain the six-month passport in lieu of a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection that is only good for 30 days. Contact your local veterinarian to obtain.


A plan needs to be in place for either of the following decisions:

Evacuation: Most mistakes made with evacuations are waiting too late to take action. Horse trailers are not very stable in high winds and waiting too late to evacuate can force you to be caught in traffic. Make sure horse trailers are ready for road travel.

Destination Site: Having a destination site available is also something that needs to be planned in advance. Networking with other horse owners further inland can offer points of destination away from the storm. Listed below are places that have given tentative approval for accepting horses for short-term boarding with impending hurricanes off the coast.

Important: Please call ahead to check the status of available stalls.

Governor James B. Hunt Horse Complex

1025 Blue Ridge Road
Raleigh, N. C. 27607
Contact: (919) 839-4701


  1. Governor James B. Hunt, Jr. Horse Complex has 484 permanent stalls on site.
  2. Temporary boarding of horses fleeing an impending hurricane as long as space is available. There are horse shows there almost every weekend so the availability may be limited.

  3. Reduced rates of $10/stall/day during evacuation event. Full camper/RV hook-ups available. Call ahead for fee.

  4. Negative Coggins test and all horses to be in good health.

  5. Owner responsible for primary care (feed, hay, water, cleaning of stalls twice a day).

  6. Evacuees must bring their own bedding. None available on grounds unless a show is on grounds.

  7. Removal of sheltered horses once the emergency event has subsided.

Senator Bob Martin Eastern Agricultural Center

2900 NC Highway 125 South
Williamston, N. C. 27892
(252) 792-5802 during regular business hours (8:00 AM – 5:00 PM)
Please contact: Main Office 252-792-5802     Mon-Fri 8AM to 5PM


  1. Senator Bob Martin (EAC) has 456 permanent stall capacity.

  2. Reduced rates of $10/stall/day during evacuation event.

  3. Must provide proof of a current negative Coggins test.

  4. Primary care required by owner for animals sheltered at the facility (feed, hay, watering of animals and cleaning of stalls).

  5. The center requires a minimum of 2 bags of shavings per stall. (Shavings must be purchased on-site. Please do not bring shavings or bedding from an outside source.)

  6. Removal of sheltered animals once the event has subsided.

Virginia Equine Evacuation Sites 

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) has compiled this link of potential equine evacuation sites for emergencies.

North Carolina Equine Directory

This on-line directory will have listings for Emergency Equine Evacuation Sites in North Carolina by county. Use above web address or google “North Carolina Equine Directory”.

East Coast Evacuation List

To be added or removed from this interactive directory, contact Eliza LaLuna at:  or (910) 330-0327

Sheltering in place: If evacuation is not possible, a decision must be made whether to confine horses to a shelter or leave them out in pastures. Shelters should be sturdy buildings located on high ground. The following are the most common causes of injury or death as a result of hurricanes:

  1. Collapsed barns – owners miscalculated the severity of wind.

  2. Electrocution – power lines are often down and are a deadly hazard.

  3. Fencing failure – wandering horses may be hit or killed on roadways.

  4. Debris - the most likely cause of injury is from flying debris.

Whether to shelter or pasture your horses is dependent on your circumstances. Often, animals released to open, safe pastures, away from overhead power lines and potential debris are able to fend for themselves much better than being in an unsafe shelter. Pastures should be not less than one acre in size. Make sure all animals have some form of identification. If your pastures or shelter do not meet these criteria, you should strongly consider evacuation as your best option.

For more information, visit the Virginia State Animal Response Team (SART) web site at: and select the Resources link.

Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.

Virginia Cooperative Extension is a partnership of Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments. Its programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, military status, or any other basis protected by law.

Publication Date

October 25, 2018