Every well-run business has contingency and business continuity plans for the rare times when business as usual is anything but—and The Ford Plantation is no exception. On those rare occasions when Mother Nature flexes her muscle even a little bit, Equestrian Director Kate Jones and her team are several steps ahead.
“Anytime the temperature changes about 20-30 degrees either way, we change the horses’ feeding and medication program,” explains Kate. The Equestrian Center recently installed a fully-automated outdoor watering system that adjusts to swings in temperature. The automatic system provides an uninterrupted source of fresh water to insulated containers that keep water cold in the summer and prevent freezing in the winter. The new insulated containers never need to be filled or monitored so the horses always have ready access to cool, refreshing water.
“Big swings of barometric pressure can send the horses into a colic state, so watching the weather is really important,” Kate added. For example, a prolonged extreme low-pressure weather system in the Atlantic, like Hurricane Irma in 2017, can pose a challenge for horse health. Well in advance of the storm, Kate and her team executed their plan to relocate the horses to a secure private training facility in Macon, Georgia. Everything each horse requires (the tack, hay, feed, medications, and other necessary equipment) was positioned in Macon before the horses arrived. “The horses received the same level of care off-site as they would have had they never left Ford,” says Kate.