Written by: Katherine Gregory, CEO | Edited by: Megan Goheen
Fires are becoming more prevalent in Colorado and nationwide. HorseAlert was founded by CHR after experiencing first-hand the devastating impact of natural disasters on our equine community. In 2020, CHR was forced to evacuate our 60+ horse herd when fires threatened the rescue. The CHR team has assisted with horse evacuations in multiple subsequent fires.
It is common for horse owners and caretakers not to have trailers. Additionally, many equine businesses (boarding facilities, rescues, therapeutic riding centers, etc.) have significantly more horses than trailering capacity. Therefore, in an evacuation, these people need help trailering their horses to a safe location.
Currently, the only solution is broadly posting urgent evacuation requests across social media channels. Given the good-heartedness of the equine community, many volunteer drivers spring into action. These disorganized, unmoderated posts quickly lead to panic, roads unnecessarily crowded with large trucks and trailers, and drivers often being turned away upon arrival as horses were safely evacuated. This excess traffic and confusion costs valuable time and further endangers the lives of first responders, other evacuees, and the drivers who show up to help.
This critical process needed improvement, and CHR could help. Our team collaborated with local emergency response agencies (Office of Disaster Management, Animal Control, Mounted Search and Rescue) to develop a safer, more efficient approach, resulting in the creation of HorseAlert.
HorseAlert is a free emergency response tool for use by the Colorado equine community during natural disasters. Like popular rideshare applications, HorseAlert matches people who need to evacuate horses with those with the necessary skills and equipment to help. This dynamic system enables real-time demand management, ensuring the right number of drivers are deployed. Our Boulder-based development partner has deep expertise in emergency systems (Amber Alert and reverse 911). They too are passionate about the good this mobile application will do for both horses and the greater community in Colorado and beyond.
Colorado Horse Rescue has lived through evacuations – both with our herd and helping others. Through collaboration with key stakeholders, we have a deep understanding of the issues facing horse owners and emergency responders. We are excited to deliver this innovative solution and help save the lives of equines, their human caretakers, and other evacuees during natural disasters.
For more information, to pre-register your horses, and to sign up as a volunteer driver, visit HorseAlert.org.