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Tornado concerns?

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  • Tornado concerns?

    Apologize if this has been rehashed already. Have done a search, and can't locate any discussion.

    What precautions do you take when your horse is on 24/7 pasture with a run-in, and the forecast is severe storms w/ possibilities of tornadoes?

    Where my horse is boarded, he and his mini buddy are in a small pasture with a small run-in & turned into a larger pasture in the evening.

    The indoor here is a pole barn with high ceilings, and an open end. Former storage for hay hauling tractor-trailers. But quite nice, with a half dozen stalls at the end. Still the front end is wide open, previously done to accommodate the loaded trucks.

    Just wondering which I should worry about the most depending on what the BO decides to do with the horses. Leave turned out in the small pasture? Everyone stalled in the indoor? (Which sometimes makes them nervous in the first place - that "small herd" attitude.)

    I'll offer to give her a hand, since she's on her own during the week. But as usual, she's quite independent about her being able to handle it all, and does a beautiful job about most everything. But a couple of items don't always make common sense.

    And times like these, I hate my house. No basement - just a crawl space. It's been interesting in the past fitting into the under-the-stairs half bathroom with the cat and the Irish Wolfhound!
    But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson

  • #2
    We took a dead-on hit by a tornado (or probably tornadoes) April 2011 at 1 in the morning. Our 4 horses were out in a small pasture. There was a line of huge pine trees on the west fence. The (metal ) barn was close by, with one of my cars and bales of hay stored in it.
    NONE of the horses had A SCRATCH on them. Not one. All the pine trees were down or tilted. The barn was GONE. The hay was untouched. The car had one dent where an oak tree had landed on it. Fencing/round pen panels damaged and knocked down. Our TWH was in a daze for a few days but everyone else was calmly grazing when the sun came up the next morning.

    Next road over-the halter QH farm had at least 19 dead or so injured they had to be put down. We are talking horrific injuries here. I don't know what type of barn they had. Our vet said all of their horses were in the barn(s).

    I guess my theory, after having experienced all of this, is that the horses can at least move/escape/hide if they are not in a stall. The path of the tornado blew debris N of the horses from our barn and the property next door. There was siding, boards, metal roofing everywhere.

    Our neighbors on either side had little or no damage. At all. Our property 1 mile down the road was untouched. It was, and still is, truly unbelievable how those tornadoes travelled.

    Hope this info helps!

    Comment


    • #3
      Here in tornado alley, you leave everyone where they are and hope the storm doesn't destroy stuff and tornados go around you.

      If you have a good, solid barn, putting them in to protect from hail is a good idea, but you have to be there to get them in before it hits.

      The destruction tornados do is incredible.
      Being in a barn would hardly be any more hit and miss than outside.
      Nothing much is left in a direct hit.

      Comment


      • #4
        Trying to outsmart a tornado is a losing proposition. They do very bizarre things. Inside or outside? Depends. If you had acres of turnout, I'd say outside. Their instincts will lead them to the safest place. With small turnout and a very sturdy barn, I'd go inside to protect from debris. It's not usually the tornado itself that kills, it's the flying debris. Also, in small turnout, they're more likely to run through or jump the fence and end up loose on a highway somewhere.

        Tornadoes don't follow a predictable path, and they don't stay fully on the ground all the time. That's why you'll see them seem to cherry pick--hit one home, miss the next two, destroy the next.

        All you can do is all you can do. And if you take a direct hit from a large tornado, you really can't do a damn thing.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          This is helping. So far it's just "the conditions are right", and NYS is seldom hit with any, although they are there in the odd spot each year. We do get warnings a couple of times each summer. The local TV stations are saying they'll be broadcasting continuously this afternoon if they develop. Glad I still have an antenna on the roof if the power stays on (or the antenna!).

          His small pasture is taped in, with an enormous large field across the way, and this is an extremely quiet road. Hardest for me is he's about 15 miles away.

          Thanks for your first hand stories. Hope everyone is out of harm's way.
          But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson

          Comment


          • #6
            When the tornados came through my area in March- the large hail was my main worry as the odds of getting the hail were much greater than the odds of getting a direct hit. I put all my horses in.

            One thing I had never before considered was the debris falling from the sky when tornados are in the area. There wasn't a touchdown within 15 miles of my farm- but a lot of debris fell- the largest piece I found was a piece of roofing lumber- about 2" x 1" x 26" and it landed in the middle of my pasture right where I usually feed hay.

            I still don't think there is a correct answer, but my gut feeling is to protect them from the larger scale generalized dangers of the storm (lightning, hail, falling trees, falling debris) and not focus on the very rare direct hit scenario... which if it did happen- it's unlikely there would have been a perfect choice anyway unless you had a bank barn with steel I beams overhead that really is a horse storm shelter.

            ManyDogs- I'm so glad that your family and horses got through that OK! Wow!

            Comment


            • #7
              Also CVPeg, I think that in your part of the country, if you do have severe weather, the tornadoes are likely to be weaker ones--not saying an F4 or F5 couldn't happen, but not very likely. Those are the ones you see the really large scale damage from. Not saying that it couldn't happen, but the chances are much lower than in the midwest. I grew up and spent most of my adult life in Kansas and Oklahoma--the heart of tornado alley--where the storms would last for hours and build on each other, and in the spring they'll come day after day. And I am grateful to have never taken a direct hit from a big one. I think you'll be fine at your house too--you have a plan, you know where to go, and you're watching the weather. You've got this.

              If you have a chance, pick up a battery operated radio and fresh batteries in case you lose power.

              Comment


              • #8
                Peg- One other thing to consider- is safety and recovery if your horses were to get out of the pasture. I put iron-on high vis safety tape on my horse's halters (I don't know that it would do much but it made me feed better to do something) because I worry about the dark horses if they were on the road in rain in the dark... also identifying them with a phone # or address. And the last thing is if your horse has a halter on- it gives another person who might come across them- a better chance of catching them and keeping them safe until help can arrive. While "halters off for safety" is a good idea for most circumstances- I think severe storms call for halters on.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                  Here in tornado alley, you leave everyone where they are and hope the storm doesn't destroy stuff and tornados go around you.

                  If you have a good, solid barn, putting them in to protect from hail is a good idea, but you have to be there to get them in before it hits.

                  The destruction tornados do is incredible.
                  Being in a barn would hardly be any more hit and miss than outside.
                  Nothing much is left in a direct hit.
                  This. The most I do if a storm system with a history of tornadoes is headed our way is put leather halters on the horses for the day/night. Pick up known loose objects and then get myself in a safe spot so that I can deal with any problems the storm brings.

                  The bright spot about a tornado verses a hurricane (1989 Hurricane Hugo survivor here) is that if you take a direct hit from a routine tornado, not like the one that hit Joplin, MO, you can still get food, water, shelter within an easy drive. After Hugo we didn't have electricity for 3 weeks and the entire Charleston, SC area was in Third World conditions until the power was restored. That was a rough 3 weeks.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    We had a bad tornado hit here in Western Mass. last year. The devastation was really otherworldly. We are not used to this kind of weather here. And now they are predicting severe storms today with possible tornados. Again. My horse will be in his concrete barn by the time the storms are expected to hit, most of the horses where I board are stalled by 3 in the afternoon but some live outside. Not likely to get hit by trees because there really aren't any near the pastures.
                    What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      When the April tornado blew through central NC last spring, we opted to leave the horses out. The pastures are large-ish and the horses could move around if they wanted to. Luckily it passed around us and all we had to deal with was a few downed limbs.

                      I've also heard to put blankets on the horses if possible, to provide some protection from flying objects. However, the downside to that is a horse that is freaking out and running could break leg straps and get wrapped up in the blanket.

                      It would just be nice if we didn't have to deal with severe weather at all, though.
                      Alis volat propriis.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Plainandtall View Post
                        Peg- One other thing to consider- is safety and recovery if your horses were to get out of the pasture. I put iron-on high vis safety tape on my horse's halters (I don't know that it would do much but it made me feed better to do something) because I worry about the dark horses if they were on the road in rain in the dark... also identifying them with a phone # or address. And the last thing is if your horse has a halter on- it gives another person who might come across them- a better chance of catching them and keeping them safe until help can arrive. While "halters off for safety" is a good idea for most circumstances- I think severe storms call for halters on.
                        I'm against leaving halters on, but good idea in this case, also info for anyone finding the horse.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I keep them in. It's a solid barn, so unless it's a direct hit, they good. We have too much damage around here from strong winds and intense cloud to ground lightning. If my fence goes down, they're not too far from a main road.

                          We don't have a basement either. We have a closet on the stairs. It's crowed with three big dogs and a cocker and several humans.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I've been two bad storms.

                            In 2008, Hurricane Ike hit us - we had evacuated so from the damage it looks like the hurricane spawned tornadoes (we know it had, actually, from news reports) and one hit our house. We were out of our house for six months. We never found all the pieces of our barn.

                            If we had not evacuated, I would have had dead horses (or horses injured enough I had to euthanize them). I would have left them in, thinking that was safest. From what was left of the barn, we have a pretty good idea how it came down, and it would have crushed 1-2 of my horses.

                            In 2010, we had a tornado or microburst here. We were building a barn, but it wasn't done. That storm rolled a travel trailer end-over-end until it crashed into the house (leaving a hole in the wall!), it pushed two horses 30 feet until they were stopped by various debris, and it flung debris 1/2 mile away. My horses were all out since the barn wasn't done. I had fences down, but I had not a scratch on a horse.

                            Since then, I've decided that IF I have the option, they stay out. I have lost a horse to lightning as a teenager, and that always worries me. But having one crushed in a barn is a worse fear...

                            (If you DO have a bad storm, with or without tornadoes, I do recommend checking fences as soon as it is safe... we've had ours crushed by the tornado and destroyed by a flash flood, and both times my horses didn't get out because I was checking fences quickly).
                            Visit us at Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society - www.bluebonnetequine.org

                            Want to get involved in rescue or start your own? Check out How to Start a Horse Rescue - www.howtostartarescue.com

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              OK, well, couldn't get neon tape, but was able to get aluminum?(shiny) tape at the little hardware store in town, that is now around his halter in 2 spots, with my phone number. BO agrees they are best left out, agrees today to leave the halters on, and this is luckily a very rural spot without any traffic whatsoever on their road - just lots of wide open fields.

                              Have they invented microchips yet that can be picked up like a cell phone? Would love to have them for all my animals...

                              Very sunny and warm here, I guess the precursor to serious storm activity. At least they have determined the threat here now is only slight, but moderate in counties to our south. Hit the store already, I'm lucky enough that my house has great gravity fed springs. Tomorrow may be iffy, too. All kinds of reasons to not be riding regularly this summer!
                              But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by CVPeg View Post

                                Have they invented microchips yet that can be picked up like a cell phone? Would love to have them for all my animals...

                                Kind of!

                                Just saw this yesterday on the homepage of NBC: http://www.pettracker.com/

                                Thinking of enrolling my dogs. It's designed for their collars, but I'm sure we can rig it to a horse halter if need be.
                                Veni vidi vici. With a paint pony, nonetheless.

                                Comment

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