LIghtning. It is the season.


Wednesday, December 16th, 2015 | Filed under Handy Tips




Just two nights ago, I was awakened by lightning at around 2am.  It was incredibly bright and very scary.

I wondered how my horses were feeling about the lightning.

I wondered if it would strike and start a grass fire.

I wondered if I’d ever get back to sleep that night (I did, eventually…).

Soooooo… when the Backcountry Lightning Manual showed up in my mailbox, I decided that maybe it was timely and that maybe some of you would like the information.  Maybe you’ve been laying awake, concerned, during a lightning storm…

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Without further ado, here is the brochure originally created by:

John Gookin, Curriculum & Research Manager, The National Outdoor Leadership School

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5 comments have been posted...

  1. Miss Jan

    OFF TOPIC BUT MAY BE URGENT. Please see this Oregon (Willamette Valley) news report: http://kmtr.com/news/local/loan-default-puts-horse-rescue-in-jeopardy. This was originally reported by Portland, Oregon tv station KATU.

    Are these horses truly in danger or is this another one of those faux rescue “give us money or they go to the kill buyers the truck is on the way” deals like we have seen before? Unfortunately the kill buyers in these parts are ALL too eager to grab horses for transport to Mexico.

    I spent the afternoon researching. This does not appear to be an actual rescue (as in, legit). They say in the news coverage that they are a private rescue and that “if the horses are not gone by the 20th they could be sent to slaughter.” HOWEVER – there is NO CONTACT INFORMATION ANYWHERE except a plea for donating 400K cash on a go-fund-me page. Contact is listed via facebook but a post on the go-fund-me page by a facebook user states that there has been no successful contact. In short: There appear to be people who want to help – but with no apparent contact information for the property owner, the “barn manager” or the “Whole Heart Horse Rescue” it makes the whole thing look sketchy.

    I wanted to contact these folks and tell them I could foster a couple of mini donkeys (they appear to have minis among the group) as I have a spare barn set up for minis (my own 2 minis live in my big barn now). However – there is no “Whole Heart” rescue listing, or actual Facebook account that is public (I am not on FB and have no intention of being so) and googling the names doesn’t seem to do any good either. I actually live in the next town but have never heard of this “rescue and rehab” that is demanding $400,000 before this coming Sunday!

    Anyone know anything about this situation? Is this worthy of a Horse and Man post? I dunno. What do you think? Faux rescue or horses (and donkeys) truly in danger?

  2. Deborah

    Wanted to share this with you…

    Even if your horses are IN the barn- they can still be injured by lightning!!

    Jeanne at Our Mims Retirement Haven outside Paris, Ky recalls the incident just this past July 9th:
    http://forums.delphiforums.com/alexbrown/messages?msg=17855.6194

    “Guys, this was scary! Those of you who have visited will be able to visualize the barn. Hana’s stall is on the end, left hand side of the bigger barn.

    This is the first day of my “vacation” from my paid job. I have two lovely 12 year old girls from Long Island spending a week with the ladies. Its another chance to alert the next generation to our cause. We were saddling horses to go on a trail ride when the the skies darkened.

    Naturally, I did not want to scare them when the storm hit. But told them, “Go into the tack room and stay there.” They did so immediately.

    I had just given Hana (for her sinus infection) two antibiotic shots and was walking away when two very close lightning strikes shook the barn.

    I felt them run under my feet sending shock up my spine.

    EVERY horse in the barn was going nuts! As soon as the worst of the lightning subsided we released the riding horses tied in the barn aisle, then started opening stall doors. We hadn’t heard any tornado sirens but I knew, if I left the ladies in their stalls any longer, they would hurt themselves in their fright.

    Hana’s was the last door I opened as she is the slowest to leave the barn. She staggered out of the barn, stood in the rain with drool pouring out of her mouth.

    I went out and brought her back in, calling the vet as we walked.

    I was sure she would die. But we gave her the best medicine available…expensive at $100 for two shots, but it is something that will really help. Hana’s muscles and whole body will be VERY stiff…these meds should help ease her discomfort.

    Doc says if she doesn’t fall and break something between now and the time she regains her balance (could be weeks) she ought to be ok.

    Hana will be hand walked while her stall is cleaned, and sponge bathed in linaments until she feels better.”

    Jeanne is seriously considering rubber mats for the stalls.

    Deborah

  3. peg

    Several years ago a young boy was killed by lightning.. The nearest cloud was over 25 miles away.. They said the lightning came from the top of the thunderhead and traveled all that distance to strike the little piece of metal that is a hoe.

  4. Patricia

    Thank you so much! I will be sharing this – in 2006 both myself and my huge Walking horse were struck while in the barn. We both survived – we were a little weird for a few days. This however explains what happened so well – I wish I had this years brochure years ago!

  5. Arliss

    Absolutely fascinating, as well as scary. This information is really well presented. I’m going to forward this on to family in Florida, where I’m from — and which is #1 in the country for lightning-related fatalities and injuries.

    I found this list of the 10 states with most lightning-related deaths and injuries: 1. Florida (, 2. MIchigan, 3, Pennsylvania, 4. North Carolina, 5. New York, 6. Ohio, 7. Texas, 8. Tennessee, 9. Georgia, 10. Colorado. I’m guessing that the figures reflect not simply that those places are “more dangerous” in terms of lightning (although Florida, with its many thunderstorms, probably is), but also the kinds of activities that people do in those places (such as fishing and golfing in FL), as well as population density.

    One of the things I found really interesting is the information about “side flash” — the reason why one shouldn’t be next to a tall tree or vertical object when there is a risk of lightning. I sort of knew about this but had never understood why so clearly until reading this. Very interesting about the “leaders” and so forth.

    I have one question, and maybe I’ll have to research it further: My family and I vacation on a lake every summer and spend a lot of time in the water, and I always wonder what the danger is of being in the water it the lake itself is struck by lightning, or maybe even if lightning strikes a tall tree on the shore. (And do fish ever get killed or injured by lightning?)

    The photos of livestock and wildlife killed by lightning are very sad. I know of several horses killed this way, I guess it’s one of the risks to pastured horses. From reading this info, I’m guessing that it’s very important that run-ins are grounded?

    Sorry for going on so long, I just found this fascinating. Thanks for sharing this info.

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