WHERE IS YOUR HORSE SAFER: PAS­TURE OR BARN?

EQUUS - - Eq Tack& Gear -

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.

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