Safest place for horses in a thunder storm?
I moved my two horses to my place almost a month ago. My vet was in to vaccinate the new horse, and since he lives just up the road, I asked him what his routine was in regards to putting his horse out and bringing it in the barn. We've had some hot weather lately and the flies can get really bad during the day. He told me he puts his horse out at night and brings him in for the afternoon. Our neighbors, who have three horses, leave them out 24/7. So I decided to start letting my two horses out in the pasture at night and bringing them in the smaller paddock during the day.
This has been working fine, and they really like being out when it's not so hot and the flies are gone, but last night, we had a heavy downpour and some thunder and lightning. It was pretty far away (I slept with my bedroom window open so I would hear it if it got really close) so I left them outside. The gate to the paddock which leads to their open stalls stays open so they can come in for shelter. But it occurred to me that if we had thunder and lightning right on top of us, it wouldn't be the safest time for me to go out and get them either.
So what would you do and why? Let me describe the pasture a bit - it's oddly shaped because it goes around a few natural obstacles, is situated directly behind our house, downhill, and there are 50 ft+ mature trees behind, and along the two sides of the pasture (with a couple of much smaller trees in the pasture for cover and shade). The brand new barn is also slightly uphill from the pasture and has a full metal roof. I asked the electrician about lightning protection and he says we don't need it because the lightning would spread out on the roof and ground itself.
If lightning was going to hit our property, it stands to reason that it would hit the tallest object, which would be a tree, the house or barn right? I realize it's not impossible that it will hit a horse, but is it safer to bring them into a big metal barn?
Here's a picture of our pasture taken from behind our house.