Lightning Strike Kills Three Horses, Spares Two, in Pennsylvania Pasture

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Earlier this summer, I posted about the random and tragic effects of lightning strikes. Each year, we hear tragic stories about horses being struck by lightning while out in pastures. Often there is no way to prevent the strikes, since the storms come up suddenly or because horses can't be caught and brought inside in time.

And, of course, there are some barn fires each summer that are caused by lightning strikes. I have personal experience in that phenomenon.

Yesterday, three horses died when they were struck by lightning in a field near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is always a tragedy when this happens; this strike seems more poignant in that the horses were 4H mounts.

An account in the local newspaper tells of another effect of the strike. A mare and foal in the same field were not killed with the others. A veterinarian attending to them said that the mare would abort, and noted that her foal had burned hooves, indicating that it was effected by the lightning strike, but for some reason, was not killed with the others.

My ears went up with that news. I wondered if the other horses were all shod with steel shoes, which would serve as conductors for the electricity. A foal would no doubt be barefoot; perhaps the mare was as well. They may have experienced the electricity in the earth beneath them, but the electricity didn't get a little surge from the shoes.

Mother Nature went for the easiest targets. I hope the mare and foal will be ok.