Safest place for horses in a thunder storm? - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 43 Old 06-30-2016, 10:35 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Yogiwick View Post

If the barn is safe then the barn is safe, right? I'm a little confused on that.
The point of the article posted above is that no place is totally safe. And while the barn is grounded in the same way a house is grounded, I personally know of houses with lightning protection being blown to pieces.

I like letting the horses out at night because it's cool and there are no flies. But I understand where you're coming from. All my neighbors let their horses out at night, including my vet who lives about 4 doors up from me, so I figure if it's safe for them, it's safe for me. Our pasture is only about 1.75 acres and is in an L shape on the side and directly behind my house. We have a dusk to dawn light on our power pole 50 ft up in the air so I see pretty much the whole pasture all night long. I can usually spot Harley's ghostly shape in there. On stormy nights, however, it will be another story. I suppose I will have to take each one as it comes. Luckily, they don't come often around here.
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post #22 of 43 Old 07-01-2016, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Yogiwick View Post

If the barn is safe then the barn is safe, right? I'm a little confused on that.

Regarding putting them into a trailer. I get the concept (same as a car) but what I don't understand is trailers are often metal, the same metal, on the inside so if the horse is (as they often are) touching that then?
It depends on the barn. Is the barn metal, is it grounded, does it have concrete floors with wire mesh reinforcing it. Barns can be one big lightening rod. If your barn has plumbing, electric service and or lightening rods attached then you would consider it safe as your house though that does not mean it is safe just much safer than some alternate location. As for trailers if you are touching the frame then no it is not safe. In your car same goes. If you are touching the frame, wheel or radio (any part that conducts electricity) then you could be in trouble. Oh and windows have to be rolled completely up. Horses are well grounded shod or not.
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post #23 of 43 Old 07-01-2016, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Yogiwick View Post
That is simply why I don't turn out at night. I want to know they are safe and where they are supposed to be. Too much can happen and the owner be unaware. Plus you sleep better lol!
How is night turn out any different that during the day while you're at work? Surely we can't expect a horse to be stalled any time we are away from home or sleeping.

I am not in control of my horse being in/out on a daily basis (he's boarded), but I think keeping him in more than necessary would be more risky as far as health/behavior than the risk of lightning.
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post #24 of 43 Old 07-01-2016, 12:35 PM
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We get a lot of strong storms in our area, complete with hail, 60 mph winds, lightning, and the occasional low grade tornado. This happens frequently on hot summer afternoons and overnight.

If my horses had free access to shelter, I'd leave them out and not worry about it. It's one of those things where freak accidents happen. If you spend your life worrying about what could happen, you'll never get any sleep. And if a horse has access to shelter, they are generally smart enough to know when they should use it.

I have, however, always had my horses either at a boarding stable, or on my grandparent's farm where there was a stable but no run-in shelters. Summer turnout would just depend on the weather. A normal day would have the horses turned out in the wee hours of morning (before dawn) and then brought in once it got really hot and buggy and a threat of storms rolled in. If the weather was more mild or there wasn't any chance for storms, they'd stay out longer, but that's the general routine.

I am well aware that lightning can strike a barn, and that no one is 100% safe no matter where they are in a lightning storm, but I'd much rather have my horse in a grounded stable, with walls, to shelter them from hail and flying debris, than being the tallest object standing out in an open field, and being pelted with hail and spooked by flying debris.

I spent 5 years working in a veterinary laboratory and we received several horses that died from lighting strike. All of them had been outside when struck. I've never known a horse to be struck while stabled, and I've never heard of any local barn being destroyed by lightning. When I was younger, there was a boarding stable that left a bunch of horses outside in a storm. Six horses were struck and killed with one lightning strike because they were all standing close together in an open field.

It's also not unusual to find some loose horses or cattle wandering around my area after a particularly severe storm, because animals can be spooked by the wind and whatever is being carried on it. Horses and cattle alike have been known to run through or jump over fences to get away from what's spooking them or to find shelter. Granted, pastures with low or weak fences are more likely to let animals loose, but I find my horses are much calmer if they are inside, sheltered from the wind, than standing out in it.

So based of off my own observations and personal experiences I will bring my horse into a stall, if they have one, and if I know there might be storms rolling in.
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post #25 of 43 Old 07-01-2016, 10:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acadianartist View Post
The point of the article posted above is that no place is totally safe. And while the barn is grounded in the same way a house is grounded, I personally know of houses with lightning protection being blown to pieces.

I like letting the horses out at night because it's cool and there are no flies. But I understand where you're coming from. All my neighbors let their horses out at night, including my vet who lives about 4 doors up from me, so I figure if it's safe for them, it's safe for me. Our pasture is only about 1.75 acres and is in an L shape on the side and directly behind my house. We have a dusk to dawn light on our power pole 50 ft up in the air so I see pretty much the whole pasture all night long. I can usually spot Harley's ghostly shape in there. On stormy nights, however, it will be another story. I suppose I will have to take each one as it comes. Luckily, they don't come often around here.
We have a lot of predators too. My mother wants them out at night and as I don't live there anymore it's her choice, but they are always in the paddock near the barn.

Jan I agree. My horses at home are out 24/7 pretty much exclusively (run outs open to paddock 24/7 which is opened to pasture). They are only in for storms/severe weather and things like the vet aside from the twice daily hour or so to eat. Those few times they get shut in won't hurt them!! Definitely don't agree with the "oh there's a 10% chance of a shower, I'd better keep them in all day!" mindset. I'm huge on turnout.

My situation allows me/someone else to be around or stop by to shut the horses in. Always has and always will as I think back up is important. Most are at my parents and they are always home and the mare I board the owner has the same mindset (though a little more paranoid then I'd like) so they will at least be close to the barn if not in (her location is pretty safe). It's a good point that others may not be in the same situation (one tends to forget ) but I make a point of keeping it that way. When I lived at my parents I worked part time and was usually home so was in and out whenever, they are both retired, to me it's just part of having animals.
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post #26 of 43 Old 07-02-2016, 09:59 AM
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Lightening is a crap shoot, don't over think it.

My horses have always come in at night, out during the day.

If the weather folks tell me there is large hail attached to a day time storm, I will bring the horses in to save them from getting pummeled. They can get in the barn if they want, but they like standing outside in all that wind, lightening and hail:(

My barn is grounded, --- everybody's barn should be grounded PERIOD. It's not 100% safety feature but it sure helps.

In the barn - out of the barn - one or the other could be safer in THIS storm, yet be collateral damage in THAT storm. One never knows, so keep the routine normal -- it's a weather crap shoot ----
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post #27 of 43 Old 07-02-2016, 11:35 AM
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At the first sign of a storm, mine all line up at the gate and start tapping their toes to be let in. The other day, it had been clear as glass all day long and as it got to the hot part of the day the thunderstorms started popping as they often do here in OK. I've known many people who have lost horses and cattle to lightning strikes, so mine come in to the barn. Anyway, my first warning that a storm was approaching was that my fireplace damper started squeaking. I looked out the window and said, "YIKES" and went out to get everyone in. I got them all inside and covered before it hit, but it was close. I got stuck in the barn until it passed.

REMEMBER THAT IF YOU CAN HEAR IT (THUNDER) YOU ARE CLOSE ENOUGH TO GET HIT BY IT (LIGHTNING).
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post #28 of 43 Old 07-02-2016, 11:44 AM
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Yeah my mom went to bring the horses up from the pasture due to storms just yesterday and they were VERY impatient which is unusual (you usually have to chase them up this time of year lol). She opened the gate and they went galloping away and all of a sudden the skys let loose. She said she was soaked to the skin by the time she got back to the barn (short walk). They clearly knew something she didn't, and these horses will stand outside in just about anything!

I will say it may depend on location a lot. We are very wooded except the pastures which are of course cleared (no shelter just the trees around the perimeter). So a horse would be very open out in the field. The barn has a lot of trees around, so is much safer. When I mentioned the sheep before their small enclosure is tucked between another barn and some trees and is pretty safe too. It's really the pastures, so of course we won't leave them out. Much safer than the alternative. Yes they might come in if it's bad but they also might not, and as I've said in other threads they really don't have the self preservation skills people give them credit for (ok SOME do, but many don't at least not to that extent!). They also get some very severe t-storms there.
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post #29 of 43 Old 07-02-2016, 12:14 PM
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LOL! Mine are just convinced they are made of sugar and will melt, especially Cloney. I have had him loose in the barnyard when I left and when I've been pulling back in, it's JUST starting to rain and HE is in the barn aisle, and will stick his nose out every now and then. If a rain drop hits it, he's back inside. Because....well, you know...SWEET melts when it's wet. He leads everyone up to the gate and gets very impatient with me if I'm not getting them in fast enough.
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post #30 of 43 Old 07-02-2016, 12:32 PM
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As to the safety of a barn, if lightning strikes the barn or shorts out the electricity, setting it on fire, the horses are not safe there either. As some have pointed out dealing with lightning is a c*rap shoot. However, in 45+ years of owning horse in tornado alley where dramatic house shaking T-storms are normal, I 've only lost one horse to lightning and it was a freak bolt that struck out of no where----there weren't any T-storms in the state that night.


I've always left it up to our alpha horse to decide where the herd will be safest. They have free access to both their stalls and pasture 24/7 along with lots of shelter belts, most have been ranch horses who've lived outside most of the lives and know how to stay relatively safe, and there are no guarantees when dealing with storms.
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