Fallbrook Rider's Field is also an Emergency Evacuation Center
FRF has hosted horses and other animals during emergency evacuations such as fire and flood. “We have become a destination during natural disasters in the area.
As fires and natural disasters are unpredictable, having a prior plan in place and identifying proper housing for your horses well before you will need it is key to everyone staying safe and cared for. Remember: when a disaster hits it’s not likely you’ll be sitting around waiting for it. You’ll be living your life and suddenly you have to evacuate. A horse has very special needs and proper handling at all times. Many have special dietary needs, medical needs or behavior characteristics that an unfamiliar handler will need to know.
Here are some things to know in advance so you may have your necessities ready in times of emergency evacuation:
Contacting Fallbrook Riders Field when an emergency in the area begins -
The best contact is our FB page Fallbrook Riders and there will be posts as to what is available and what to bring with your horse.
“ I received so many calls during the Lilac Fires and was in Valley Center when it started so had to arrange for horses to be picked up and brought to the field while on the road trying to get back into town. It was crazy...note to self: never be without a phone charger! Because I can only take one call at a time the FB page will get the word out quickly but of course, if you have my number do call but remember I might not be able to pick up immediately”, States Marilee
Click Here for Emergency Contacts
What is FRF emergency procedures and what to expect upon arrival. What evacuees need to do when arriving, and while staying at the field.
FRF has always worked it out because, as you know, our volunteers are scattered when an event starts. Marilee is usually the first one to the field because of her proximity as an adjacent neighbor. We have a tight crew of volunteers who rally to check horses in, tag them, take their photo including the trailer they arrived in and name of the driver and handlers. This information goes into a ziplock and horse assigned a stall with coordinating numbers. The photo of the horse and trailer including their assigned number will be kept in the bag. The person bringing the horse(s) in is also catalogued and contact information included.
- All horses need to have their halters on with their name and owner contact info attached. Also, any special feed/water buckets sent along with your horse.
- FRF does not medicate. If there is an emergency a veterinarian will be called. If there are none available emergency measures will be taken. FRF assumes no responsibility for any injury or death while on FRF property.
Who is responsible for the animals housed at the field during an emergency situation - as in, Food and water for animals.
We always prefer the horse owners to stay with their animals, feed, water and clean. When that isn't possible, then arrangements have to be made with the volunteer coordinator on site upon check in. We then contact a local feed store and ask for donations of Bermuda, Alfalfa and Orchard/Teff depending on what is available and how many horses we expect. We have 35 stalls and had up to 60 horses at one time in the 2017 fire. NOTE: Owners need to be prepared with their own meds and supplies when possible. We do have emergency supplies but can only attend if given explicit permission to do so. We do not give horse shots.
When existing pens are filled, do you allow animals to be tied to trailers overnight or throughout the duration of the evacuation?
We have 2 arenas and a round pen plus misc equipment to add a number of stalls along the inside of the arena. It's amazing how good the horses are. Generally family herds stay together in a large area when possible. We prefer all animals to be contained and not tied unless it's unavoidable.
What can the field host in an emergency evacuation situation- such as; types of animals, rv/camping during an evacuation situation?
We prefer not to house more than 40 horses. Household pets are accepted under the supervision of their
owners at all times. This includes picking up after them. Crates are strongly advised and preferred. No lose animals are allowed at FRF at any time.
Other important information to aid in a smooth emergency situation.
Most of us tend to get a bit slack if we've never evacuated or it has been a while. It's always fresh in my mind because I've hosted and evacuated horses that were brought to Fallbrook Riders Field 4 times over the years. The last time was the flood just in February 2019.
The most important thing to remember is BE PREPARED!
If you own horses or livestock, especially if you're in a remote area with limited escape routes, buy a trailer big enough to get your animals loaded. There are multiple volunteers but many are not allowed in ‘hot’ areas. It may be too late to get your horses out if you wait. Only approved volunteers have access and they are not always available soon enough.
Don't wait! More than once the result has been disastrous when people wait too long.
Fallbrook Riders Field is always working on preparation of an emergency.
Below is a list of items that will assist in future emergency preparedness.
Here is a list of our most immediate needs:
- Water buckets-not too big, maybe 3 gallon (30)
- Hay bags - the horses tend to pace a lot so the feed gets scattered, pooped on or eaten by a neighbor. Many of our stalls are attached so lots of opportunity to dine with your neighbor. (30)
- 20 Preifert or Powder River panels. There are 6 that belong to a member and available but we need our own. They're easy to put up, not too heavy and don't require any hardware.
- Feed of course. We now have a large container so can store for long periods of time without losing to weather. We do not have any horses boarded at FRF so no feed onsite. We’re at the mercy of neighbors and response from our local feed stores to get us feed in a hurry.
- Volunteers - every day, twice a day, we clean stalls, wash and change water buckets and feed.
- Donations - Our utility bills for hosting so many animals and humans can be quite high. Our dumpster alone had to be filled and dumped 5 times and loaded by hand each time. Our arena lights were on all night long and of course the water we used exceeded our normal use. We only received a few donations but those folks were generous and we were very grateful.
- For more information on donations and supporting FRF, please visit our Donations & Support FRF page
See you at the Field!