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Be Fire Ready this Summer – Horses, Bushfires & Property Management

Horse Bushfires

Following on from an important and informative meeting held in Lancefield in the Macedon Ranges on managing horses during Summer, it is definitely the time to make sure all Victorian horse properties, broodmare farms and racing operations are fire ready this summer.

Organised by Louise Scott, who is a Community Based Bushfire Management Project Officer with the Country Fire Authority, she can combine her personal knowledge of horses and agriculture and her experience with fires to help all landowners be prepared this season.

“I have been involved with horses all my life, through breeding and riding, and I grew up in Toolern Vale in a CFA firefighting family. I have been a CFA volunteer since I was 16 and went to Dookie and studied Agriculture before a role as an Animal Health officer in my early days,” Scott said.

“My passion for helping people and in particular horse communities, before, during and after fires was heightened after working closely with the landholders, including horse properties as part of the Black Saturday recovery. Communities are so powerful when they work together and we want them to be safe, educated and informed to make planned decisions.”

“Not only were many lives lost by people trying to save their horses, they also lost their businesses, livelihoods and beloved family members. It was just devastating,” Scott said.

“The specific area’s that I am currently focussed on supporting are the Hesket/Kerrie, Benloch and Fryersown communities.”

There are some large enterprises in these areas, including Sun Stud, Sunhill Bloodstock and Spendthrift Australia. Louise is happy to help with advice and contacts for the North East regions and other areas of the state and place people in contact with their local CFA brigades and branches.

“The horse communities are very close-knit and it’s so important that everyone is aware of each other’s position if a fire comes. We all need to know what we can all do to prepare, help and reduce the impact – on lives, property and livestock.”

“One thing about the thoroughbred industry, if they are affected, they are hit hard, not only in livestock numbers and infrastructure but financially. Large studs can look at holding a “Fire management plan” meeting, or you can combine a group of smaller broodmare farms together and talk about land management to reduce fuel load.” Scott said.

“The CFA have recognised that horse owners are one of the most high-risk groups during a bushfire as they will try to stay and protect their horses, so a good fire management plan is vital for all breeders.”

For more information on how to manage your horse property during summer please contact Louise Scott on: 0400 854 939 or email louise.scott@cfa.vic.gov.au

Resources

Below are some valuable links for horse breeders and owners all over Victoria to help you be prepared and informed this coming fire season.

Community Based Bushfire Management

 www.safertogether.vic.gov.au

CFA

Prepare your farm for fires > Horses & Bushfires

Have a fire plan for your animals this summer video:

DEPI Victoria

Bushfire Preparedness for Small Landholders video (an old one but a good one!):

Agriculture Victoria (or alternatively DEDJTR)

Drought Feeding and Management For Horses by David Nash

Here are a few more links provided by Agriculture Victoria (and remember every property with livestock/horses legally needs a PIC or Property Identification code):

Agrifutures Australia

Many horses related books, publications and reports you can download for free at www.agrifutures.com.au

Farm Biosecurity

Farm Biosecurity > Livestock > Horses

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