Inclement Weather During Shows - Tornadoes - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 05-20-2019, 07:58 PM Thread Starter
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Inclement Weather During Shows - Tornadoes

I posted a few weeks ago about a friend and I heading to Wilburton, Oklahoma the first week of June. It's a week long type show so we will have our horses in pens next to her living quarters trailer that we are staying in. A lot of people have been asking me about tornadoes and honestly. I never really thought about it until I started seeing maps on Facebook recently showing that tornadoes were touching down in areas of Oklahoma. Now I'm not one to live my life in fear but I'm a little nervous now haha.

Has anyone ever had an experience of a tornado touching down at a show or near the show grounds they were staying at? What did you do? Honestly, what can be done?

I have never been out in areas where tornadoes are prevalent, so I'm not well versed on the matter and I've never been to the ranch we're going to so I don't know the facilities. But what is there to do when you're camping with your horses if a tornado pops up?

Color me a little nervous now but I'm trying to live a little because I don't want to spend my life in my backyard forever haha So any help, advice, or personal stories would be appreciated!

~ Hope is never light years away ~
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post #2 of 6 Old 05-20-2019, 08:46 PM
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Generally in a barn/pens, the horses are left where they are at a show and people take shelter where they can--- most large show sites have a showers/bathroom area made of cement/cinderblock so those tend to be the 'safe' areas. Other options are under grandstands if they are cement and not the metal bleachers. If no basement or reinforced concrete room/building, an interior room on the lowest level without windows is where you need to go. Grab something to cover your head if you can.

The 'old belief' used to be to turn horses loose if a tornado was imminent, but now with more fences, traffic, etc. it's safer for horses and people to leave them where they are and hope for the best. A secure pen/stall is about the best you can do for them, especially when traveling. Horses left to their own devices in large pastures will often move away, but not always. Unless you have access to pastures measured by the square mile, they're probably better off in a barn with sturdy stall walls in case the roof collapses. Put a waterproof tag with your name and cell phone number on a leather halter or braided into the mane with a bright ribbon so it can be seen, and leave the horses either in a stall or in their pens. Flying debris is the greatest risk, so a fly mask if you have it might save them some irritation from flying dirt and sand. But honestly, in a direct hit with a strong tornado, it won't make much difference if they're in pens or stalls or standing outside. Lightning, hail, and flash flooding are also a risk, as tornadic storms tend to go hand in hand with lightning and torrential rain and large hail. A horse left with no shelter with large hail will have his life endangered. I know people who have lost horses to lightning and hail. 90 mph wind and softball size hail will kill nearly anyone or anything hit in the head with it. Protect yourself and stay indoors. Your horses will turn tail to the wind and tuck their heads down and that's really all they can do, but many do fine. If you must tie your horses, try to do so in a such a way they can turn the way they want-- a highline, etc. If you have to tie to a trailer, you'll need to decide if you want them with their heads next to it with the trailer blocking the wind, or you want them butt to the wind with no shelter from the trailer. If the trailer flips, they won't be ok and that's a risk you take. Some people load their horses in a trailer during a storm-- a big, heavy steel trailer is probably a safer bet for this than a fiberglass or aluminum. I've seen hailstones go right through the roof of both.

Some things to remember:
- Tornado Watch means conditions are favorable for tornadoes to appear. Keep an eye on things and be aware.
- Tornado Warning means a tornado has been radar-indicated or spotted on the ground and is headed your way. Take shelter immediately. Not in 20 minutes, NOW. The warning system has really improved and most will give you adequate time to get to shelter, but don't dilly dally. A warning doesn't mean you'll be hit as tornadoes can skip and hop, stay up in the sky, or bypass you by 100 yards or 10 miles.
- TorCon - this is a newer thing, but the number, from 1-10, is the percentage that a tornado will be on the ground within 50 miles of you. So, for instance, parts of Texas and Oklahoma have a Torcon 9 today. This means that in those areas, there's a 90% chance a tornado will be spotted within 50 miles of those living in that area. If it's a 3, that's a 30% chance, and so on.

Beware that for those who live in areas where tornadoes are not rare, it's somewhat of a spectator sport. People stand out on porches or drive out to watch them. Some families set up lawn chairs and snacks on the deck and watch the sky. Just because people are out and about doesn't mean it's safe to do so. Keep your identification and important documents on you or in easy reach in case of a warning, and be prepared. If you have time, put items that can blow around away (trailer awning, lawn chairs, card table, etc.). A trailer or mobile home is the WORST place you can be. You're better off in nearly any building, even without a basement, or even in a ditch than in a trailer if you have a tornado. Pack a small first aid kit in your items, just in case.

A large showsite with a week-long show or heavily-used campsite likely has a plan in case of tornado or severe weather. If storms are forecasted for the area, ask the office what to do and where to go in the event of severe weather. Find out what county the campground/showsite is at, and plug that into your phone so you will get weather alerts. Know what you plan to do just in case, but likely the worst that will happen is a thunderstorm and some wind/small hail and you'll be just fine. Enjoy the show, and try not to worry too much; it won't change anything.

Last edited by SilverMaple; 05-20-2019 at 09:06 PM.
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post #3 of 6 Old 05-21-2019, 12:02 AM
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The horses are safest out on pasture, if you have that available. People need to take shelter in a CBS block building.

Please be careful. A friend went to pick up a wheelbarrow at home depot. On the way home, she drove into a severe storm and had to stop because it was raining too hard to see the road. The wind picked up the back of her truck and flipped the wheelbarrow in the air. She said it was terrifying. My guess is she nearly drove into a tornado. When the storm cleared up, it had knocked a tree down across all 3 lanes of the highway.

A barn is the worst place to shelter in during severe weather unless it is CBS brick.
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post #4 of 6 Old 05-22-2019, 05:08 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you guys for your responses. I am not sure if there is a barn at this facility beings as there are no stalls available, it's either tie outs or pens. We're making a pen out of step ins, electric tape, and a solar charger.

I am so excited to go and explore a new area of the country where I have never been but I am nervous about the weather. Oklahoma seems to be getting slammed at the moment and I hope it doesn't get slammed while we're there. At least we are taking two very calm level headed horses.

Any long distance travelling tips? And any tips in case it becomes like a tornado in a trailer park?

~ Hope is never light years away ~
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post #5 of 6 Old 05-30-2019, 04:20 PM
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@Phantomcolt18 I am in OK. Luckily the weatherman have been saying that beginning next week our tornado risk dies down and the storms we will have will be thunderstorms (not to say there won't be hail) but fingers crossed not favorable conditions for tornadoes. May is typically our month for the most tornadoes. Prevention wise, I would recommend braiding ID tags in your horses' manes with contact information just to be safe. Enjoy the show!
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post #6 of 6 Old 05-30-2019, 05:21 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaddleUp158 View Post
@Phantomcolt18 I am in OK. Luckily the weatherman have been saying that beginning next week our tornado risk dies down and the storms we will have will be thunderstorms (not to say there won't be hail) but fingers crossed not favorable conditions for tornadoes. May is typically our month for the most tornadoes. Prevention wise, I would recommend braiding ID tags in your horses' manes with contact information just to be safe. Enjoy the show!

Thank you! We're excited! Neither of us have ever been out your way before so it's a whole new experience!
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~ Hope is never light years away ~
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