Shelter from the Storm

Maddy tries to sun near her friend Rudy (horse), but he attempts to bite her instead! ... Just another day at the office!

by Sandi Martinez

Lightning won’t strike in the same place twice: True or False? 

False!  Meteorologists have proven that lightning does strike twice.  Lightning will strike at higher elevations.  For this reason, it is important to take as many preventative measures for your horse(s), in keeping them at the safest distance from the potential of getting struck by lightning. 

Equine behaviorists have observed that horses are not afraid of lighting or thunder; it is the wind and rain that makes them run for cover next to trees and sheds.  Sheds should typically be situated around lower elevations in pastures.  Though it is not guaranteed that they will be convinced to go there during a storm, a few things can be done to encourage them.

  • Keep metal water tanks at lower elevations; metal is a major conductor of electricity
  • Securing loose materials and equipment like tools, buckets, etc can prevent serious injury if they become airborne in an intense storm
  • Repair loose roofing, siding, and fence posts.  These can become dangerous flying-objects that will not only harm animals, but humans as well.
  • Singles trees should be fenced off; they are an ideal target for lightning.  A grove of trees successfully shelters animals and are less likely to get struck this way.

If you’re a horse owner, following weather reports, and keeping on top of the maintenance and general upkeep of your stable, is the most important thing you’ll do; enjoying, interacting, and nurturing your relationship with your horses is equally the most important thing you always do – keep them safe!