WHERE IS YOUR HORSE SAFER: PASTURE OR BARN?
Serious storms are in the forecast for the afternoon, and you’ve checked the weather radar: That ominous patch of red is going to pass right over your farm. Is it better to leave your horses in the pasture or to bring them into the barn? There is no one “right” answer. The best course of action depends on several factors:
• Your horse’s temperament. A horse who is nervous during storms might relax in a stall with a buddy next door. Others may panic in the confines of a stall and would do better outside in a secure paddock well away from tall trees.
• The sturdiness of your barn. If you have a modern barn designed with features for lightning protection, your stalls are probably the safest place for your horses. The barn might not be the best bet, however, if it has no lightning protection or outdated equipment.
• Your land. If your property is on high ground and has the largest trees and/ or structures in the vicinity, the risk of strike is higher—your horses may be safer inside a well-grounded barn, especially if they tend to congregate under the tall trees during storms. Your horses will probably be just fine, however, if you can put them into a lower pasture, especially if they have a grove of smaller trees or a grounded shed for shelter.
First and foremost, however: Do not risk your own life. If the storm is already rumbling nearby, it is too late to move the horses from wherever they are. Your priority then is to get yourself and your family safely indoors.