As a horse welfare and advocacy group, Horse SA recognised a need to create safer equine bushfire refuge options. Pre-planning for horse evacuations and emergency evacuation situations were occurring ad hoc and placing both humans and horses at greater risk than necessary.
An opportunity to encourage early bushfire evacuation plans for horse owners, and to offer a safer refuge for horses in an emergency, became a vision for Horse SA.
In 2021 Horse SA submitted a grant bid to the Australian Government to create a safer bushfire equine refuge. This grant was successful in 2022 and has become a priority for Horse SA to deliver.
The Murray Bridge Racing Club (MBRC) offered their site for the equine refuge to be built and hence have become key delivery partners, along with the District Council of Murray Bridge.
It is expected that the safer equine refuge site will be built and open in late 2023.
The equine refuge site, housed at the Murray Bridge Racing Club will have 100 horse yards. Horse Owners will be able to pre-book a horse yard before or during a bushfire evacuation. A mobile app will manage the booking process, ensuring securing a horse yard will happen in real time.
The accompanying mobile app will encourage horse owners to:
Pre-plan an evacuation strategy.
Log owner contact details.
Enter important details about the horse.
Upload a bushfire plan.
Agree to the terms of yard use.
It is hoped that this process will ensure greater safety for horses in these stressful evacuation times, and will also contribute to sustainable use of the yards.
This is the first of its kind nationally and SA is leading the way!
A call for volunteers to assist running the refuge site on declared days is now open for registration. Horse SA is looking for people across a range of skill sets as well as people who are local to the site.
Want to register your interest to be an equine refuge volunteer?
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Become a Horse SA MEMBER. DONATE or SPONSOR to support this initiative by going to our become a member page.