Rain sheet - photo by Carrie

What to do?

“Uggggh – the ponies”

That is what my facebook status read at 11:00 p.m. on Wednesday night as I was lying in my bed listening to the loudest – scariest – thunder I have heard in years and watching my bedroom go from pitch black to completely lit up as though a strobe light as strong as a spotlight was being pointed into the window.

It was so bad, that my fiancé, who is in Alberta for work, could hear the thunder from the other end of the phone and went ‘Whoa, that sounds crazy!!’

The thunder and lightning was continuous – and I am not exaggerating – for a solid 2 hours. And, don’t get me started about the rain. Most of Ontario was under a severe thunderstorm warning and a tornado watch. Pretty freaky considering an F3 touched down a couple hours North of where we are on Tuesday and completely leveled a town of 8,000 in Cottage Country. Did I mention we are in Ontario and we are NOT supposed to have tornadoes??!!

Before leaving the barn around 8:45 p.m., I knew we were under those warnings, although it hadn’t started to rain or thunder yet. But, something was definitely in the air as I was turning Colby back out. At one point, I stopped and debated keeping her – as well as Chester – in for the night based on the weather warnings we were getting. For whatever reason, I figured it wouldn’t be as bad as they said it was going to be – because really when IS the Weatherman actually right?!? – and decided to leave them out.

Then the lightning started. And got worse. And more frequent. And more violent. Then the thunder started and followed the same pattern as the lightning. And all I could think about was OMG, Colby, Chester and the other 35 horses, are all standing outside, the majority of them with metal shoes on their feet, in a middle of a field with the worst storm I have seen in years going on around them.

The completely irrational side of me was saying ‘get your ass out of bed, go out to the barn to get them inside’. And then of course the completely rational side of me was saying ‘that is the stupidest thing you could ever try to do. You’re going to go out in the middle of the field and try to drag the horses in during the freak storm that is going on outside? Fat chance moron.’

I continued to sit there and stare out my window. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE thunder and lightning storms, but this one gave me goosebumps. I couldn’t sleep because I was worried about all the horses and took to wandering around my house until almost 12:30 when it seemed to be dying down. And then I debated driving over to the barn to make sure we still had everyone. Another genius idea on my part considering it was still pouring rain, super windy and was darker than pitch black out.

When I woke up, there was a bit of a discussion going on about my status. The pros and cons of leaving horses out in severe weather vs. keeping them in.

You keep the horses out and they have the chance to run from anything they seem to consider a threat and the barn won’t collapse on them – if heaven forbid – something like that should ever happen.

However, you run the risk of them being hit by lightning, being hit by branches, etc. flying around…and who knows whatever else could happen outside, in the middle of the night during a bad storm. My barn owner thinks they have a better chance outside than inside.

You keep the horses in the barn and well, they are literally trapped there. Should the barn get hit by lightning and catch fire (again, heaven please please forbid), or have it collapse or or or….the horses’ chances for survival are minimized as they literally have nowhere to go.

BUT, being inside, they are protected from the forces of nature going on around them outside. So, no chance of them getting hit by lightning, or smacked by something flying aimlessly through the air or over the ground.

The resident coach at my barn says “I think that horses don’t get freaked out about storms the way people and dogs do. I have never seen a horse get upset about that sort of thing.” To be perfectly honest, there is something I find incredibly comforting knowing my horses are tucked safely inside during a wicked storm because they would be protected from the elements…