By Cara Klothe
Back in October, our insurance agent, Bob Bishop, scheduled a fire drill for our local fire company.
As a horse owner, I found the evening informative and very eye opening. We all hear tragic stories about fires destroying barns, and we share the goose bumps from hearing about the poor horses that are caught inside. But after the goose bumps are over, I know I personally get wrapped up in competing and training and the day-to-day stresses that go along with owning horses. I forget how lucky I am to have my horse alive and healthy. I digress; this is getting a bit morbid!
Back to the drill --
Close to 20 fire fighters arrived (fire truck and all) at the barn. This was a hands-on experience for the fire fighters. It included the usual pointing out exits, fire extinguishers, power sources, hay storage areas and the other typical things a fire drill goes over, and much more.
Bob Bishop gave a very good presentation on barn fires, highlighting the typical dangers and complication unique to barn fires. The presentation included a map of the farm that clearly showed the safest area to put the horses in the case of a fire.
But getting horses to the safe area is a major problem. The horses don’t want to leave their home with a stranger in a big yellow suit. Understandable, somehow I see Ockie, and many others having a problem with that. Bob’s suggested remedy was to use a towel over the horses head as a blind fold.
Most of the guys (and girl) had no experience with horses, so they practiced putting a halter on, placing the towel over the horses head and leading. We thought we would be nice and let them practice on Saint Clyde. Clyde was an angel as usual, he stood perfectly still while firefighter after firefighter took their turn haltering and leading him.
To get everyone really involved Bob proposed a competition (what do guys like more?). We took Clyde and Toby to the indoor and divided into 2 relay teams. The firefighters had to put their jacket and helmet on, then put the halter on the horse, cover the horse’s head with a towel, and lead the horse to the other end. At the other end, they would switch gear and the next person would have to halter and lead the horse. The first team to get though everyone correctly won. The team with Clyde won mainly because Toby (aka Houdini) kept throwing off the towel no matter how they tried to secure it.
All in all it was a good night and very informative. We can all rest easy(er) knowing if, heaven forbid, there is an emergency our horses are in good hands!