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Trails 06-08-2010 10:24 AM

Dealing with thunderstorms
I've been caught in a couple of nasty thunderstorms while in the highcountry, (my horse most definitely did object to the noise http://forums.seattletimes.nwsource....s/icon_eek.gif) and, while it's not fun, thunderstorms generally pass by quickly and add spice to camp fire stories!

That being said what are your experiences and how do you deal with the situation?

My rules of thumb for such events are:
1 - Get off the beast (it's time for a break anyway, right?)
2 - Get away from high ground and wide open places - You don't want to be the tallest nearby feature (or near it)
3 - Various guides (And so do I here) tell you to get at least 15 feet from other people and livestock. To prevent a nearby lightning strike from hitting more than one person. I have issues with the logistics of this;
A - No way that I'm going to let go control of my horse. How many horses will stand ground tied in the midst of thunder, lightning, pelting rain, etc. ?
B - I don't want to try to hold the horse in case it should freak. I could get hurt and that is not in the game plan.
So I generally tie my horse to a tree and recognize that it's not the safest for the horse (The tree is tall (and therefore a more prominent feature and the horses' shoes are steel and theoretically a better conductor) but is the better bet for me.

4 - I then hang out and worry about myself and the horse till the storm passes.

Of course I do try to mitigate the chances of all the problems of the above by keeping an eye on the weather forecast and knowing how to read natural weather indicators.

There you have my two cents! Hope this helps, looking forward to hearing other thoughts and opinions.

Vidaloco 06-08-2010 11:56 AM

Living in tornado alley, I've made it a habit to check the weather before heading out for any long distance travel. I can see if you are in the mountains or forest, its sometimes difficult to see a storm coming in the distance and make haste for safety. Here we can see them from 50-60 miles away :lol:
Good article on safety in lightening. The "get small" advice is really good. I know its tough but in a life and death situation you have to think of yourself first above your horse.

MissasEquineDesign 06-09-2010 12:39 PM

Good advice! I've only ever been caught in a couple thunderstorms, and for one we happened to be pretty high up and in the woods, with nowhere else to go. The only thing that really happened was a branch fell and almost hit one of the riders in the head, knocking the saddle bags off his horse. It was windy, so a bit worrisome since we were in the woods. Everyone got off and tied up the horses, and the storm passed very quickly. Definitely a memorable event to talk about around the fire that night!

Trails 06-09-2010 10:53 PM

Off topic but what the heck.

Roseville, up near Zanesville right? Used to live drive north from Athens to Zanesville a bit, and seem to remember a tiny berg with that name.

MissasEquineDesign 06-09-2010 11:23 PM


Originally Posted by Trails (Post 656274)
Off topic but what the heck.

Roseville, up near Zanesville right? Used to live drive north from Athens to Zanesville a bit, and seem to remember a tiny berg with that name.

Yep, that's the one! Not very big, you blink and you pass it :)

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