Our lack of snow has really worried me. As much as I prefer not having the frozen white stuff, it is necessary to keep our state from catching fire. The high country has had more than their share of white stuff, but down low, we're hurting for moisture and have already had several brush fires. One is burning thousands of acres just west of the town I live in.
Because of all of the fires (and April just started!), I decided it's time to revisit our evacuation plan for the horses. They're up in Allenspark, where the fire danger is currently very low, but that can change quickly. There are only two ways out of Allenspark, down Highway 7 to Lyons or up Highway 7 to Estes Park.
Should evacuation be necessary, Mom and Bill have to get their guests out of the lodge and to safety before they can even think of getting themselves out. We've decided that in the event of an emergency that requires evacuation, namely fire, we're just going to turn the horses out on the mountain to fend for themselves instead of trying to trailer them out. That's been our standing plan from the beginning.
The problem is, how do we put identification on them? We've heard/read all sorts of ideas. Ranger has a BLM brand, so they could eventually track down Bill. Estes has Ida's brand, so they can eventually track me down. But Jesse and Washoe don't have any brands. We've discussed freeze branding, tattooing and microchipping. Some of the ideas that we've received are to put them in a halter with an ID tag on it, but the only way we'd turn them loose with a halter on is if it was a break-away one and they might be found without the halter.
I also read about braiding a luggage ID tag into their mane or tail, but that takes too much time in an evacuation scenario. Or clippering a phone number onto their side, but we don't have clippers and if we did, there wouldn't be any time to clipper four horses before turning them out.
My favorite idea is to use DayGlo Orange spray paint to spray paint our phone numbers on their sides. Still takes a little bit of time, but seems the quickest. If we made a template for the phone number that we just held over their side and spray painted, that would even be faster.
What kind of ideas do you all have? We're open to suggestions, but they have to be fast and easy - something that could be done quickly with potentially worked up horses.
What plans have you made for evacuations?