Saturday, April 16, 2011

Devastating Storms

The show ended up being rescheduled for Sunday because of the severe weather that moved through our area on Saturday. The tornado that devastated areas of my town missed my house by about 1/4 mile. Two dozen people in North Carolina lost their lives, and a reining barn about 20 minutes south of where I keep Lilly has lost 20 horses so far, and their gorgeous farm was leveled. Residents here suffered a lot of damage and it'll take a long time to rebuild. I feel very blessed to have made it through without any damage.

I was having an internal fight with myself as the storm quickly approached my area on Saturday. Because of the rain, Lilly was already in the barn but I had always heard horses are safer outside than in. After calling the BO, I decided to go ahead and leave her inside.

As it turns out, most of the horses killed at Misty Creek Ranch were outside at the time of the storm. From

Sally Vivrette, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, who attended to the horses at the scene, said several animals residing in the pasture sustained severe injuries including joint punctures, tendon lacerations, and tendon ruptures. Six of the pastured horses were euthanized at the scene due to the severity of their injuries. Others were transported to nearby veterinary hospitals where four more were later euthanized due to their injuries, Vivrette said. Other horses sustained eye injuries due to blowing sand and debris, she added.

"It looked as though they were picked up and thrown to the ground," Vivrette said.

Two inside horses were injured, and two other horses in a covered pen were crushed to death. Because of what happened to these horses in this tornado, a lot of horse people in the horse community here are reconsidering the safest place for their horses during a tornado. A dilapidated shelter would probably be less safe than a pasture, but I think a sturdy structure is probably the safest place for a horse.

I'm curious where you would want your horse during a tornado.

This is what their farm looks like now. If you would like to donate, you can do so here.


  1. What I was told, once upon a time, was that the safest place for a horse in a tornado was running free. The idea was that a horse's instincts would tell it to run away from the storm. Of course, that's safest in open rural areas where there aren't lots more fences, highways, residential areas and goodness knows what that could be equally lethal to a loose horse. That doesn't sound practical nowadays. On the plains where I grew up it's probably a whole lot better than being crushed to death or trapped in a corral and tossed about like those poor horses were.

    Heartbreaking loss for that horse family.

    I am very thankful that you and yours are safe.

  2. Very sad to hear - terrible losses - I can't imagine how hard that would be. So glad you and yours are OK.

  3. What a tragedy. Very glad to hear that you and Lilly are okay.

    The only experience I have with those kinds of storms are from when I lived in Wichita, KS and we put everything in the barn that we could. What didn't fit in the barn was pushed into a heavily treed creek bottom lot.

    In SD, most everything is left out, but it's a very rural area and flying debris not so much a problem. Lightening is a big killer though. We have been very fortunate not to lose any horses to it in the last 15-20 years, but lots of neighbors have. It's usually stallions.

  4. So tragic! I'm glad you're ok, but so sorry for those other owners.

    Storms like that are a damned if you do, damned if you don't thing. I am not on the "always inside" or "always outside" camp; I think it depends really heavily on the layout of the pasture and the quality of the barn.

  5. How terrible.
    We put the horses inside during storms because we get hail.

  6. How horrible. I couldn't imagine being the owner of the horses. So sad. I told my husband that I want to put a storm celler in my barn (that is yet to be built) and practice taking Slewy down there. A barn that I took lessons at when I was little was built with a main floor and then a "sub" floor for emergencies. It's hard to know what you'd do. So sad! I'm so glad you and Lilly are okay!!!

  7. Wow, how sad. That is just terrible. I couldn't even imagine going through that.
    I am so glad you and Lilly are okay!
    I have also always heard to turn horses loose. I don't know what I would do. Something to think about....

  8. I have been thinking about you and your girl the past couple of days after hearing about the tornadoes, and where they hit! So very glad to hear that both of you are okay.

    I heard more severe weather is gearing up and I pray that it doesn't swing NC's way again. I have no advice/experience/knowledge about horses and tornadoes, but I know you'll do the best for Lilly. Stay safe!

  9. That is so, so scary! I was just getting upset at the news this morning for covering the "royal wedding" instead of the tornadoes that have been tearing up the country for the last couple of days. So glad you and Lilly are safe.

  10. Thanks everyone! We feel very lucky and I'm so thankful that we made it through those storms without issue.

    I can definitely see how the area would made a difference... if the pasture is huge, the horses would be able to get out of the way of the storms, but the way we keep horses these days, and in this area, it's different. It's probably much safer to have the horses in the barn because of flying debris because the areas are so small.

    I was so concerned about the tornado that I didn't even think about lightning. Lilly and Baby were the only two horses inside the barn... all the other horses were outside.

    It's definitely something to think about, even if these types of storms aren't typical for your area. We haven't had storms like these in NC since the early 80's.

    I appreciate the well wishes! Hopefully we don't experience anything like this again.

    It's amazing how quickly the news moves on to more "important" things, isn't it?

  11. Oh my gosh how SAD. I'm so glad yall are safe! We had lots of tornadoes here too, but thankfully we live on a 'mountain' and they rarely climb it. Prayers are def going out for all those people!