It is advisable to let your horse out to pasture. This enables them to seek refuge or flee the tornado. Wear a fly mask on your horse to protect him from flying debris. Spray paint a friend's or family member's phone number that is not in the region on the side of your horse. This can help find him if he gets lost.
If you cannot go outside, then keep inside away from windows. If possible, stay under a sturdy roof with nothing flammable nearby. If you must be outside, try to find an interior room with no windows or doors that could lead to the outdoors. Horses are very sensitive to danger and will likely panic if they cannot escape through normal means. Keep them calm by only going inside where it is safe to wait out the storm.
Horses develop instincts based on past experience. If they have been used to living in a certain environment, then they will have some idea how to deal with threats such as tornadoes. Based on this knowledge, they may choose what actions to take in order to survive. For example, if there is nowhere for them to run, they might stand tall and block any opening leading out to the elements. This would serve as protection for themselves and their owner by preventing bits and saddle bags from being blown off.
The main threat to horses during storms is usually high winds. They can also be injured by falling trees, flooded roads, and lightning.
Most horses will do well if left outside during storms and inclement weather provided they have access to a shelter. A three-sided shelter in a pasture is excellent, with the open side facing the opposite direction of the wind! Not all horses will use their shelters to hang out in, but the choice must be available. If your horse does not use his shelter, consider putting up some sort of cover.
If it is safe to do so, lead your horse into his shelter. If the storm is severe, you may have to help him into it. Some horses may need assistance getting their heads through the door or opening, so be ready to give them a boost if needed. Horses can be stubborn about these things, so don't be afraid to use force if necessary.
Once inside the shelter, make sure his head is exposed to the air flow from outside. This will help keep him cool and also prevent him from being tempted to eat or drink anything inappropriate for his age and stage of training/education. Horses are very sensitive to changes in temperature, so make sure he has a place to hide if it starts to get too hot or cold inside the shelter.
Horses enjoy being outdoors even in bad weather. So as long as there is no danger involved (i.e. other horses, cars, etc) going outside is fine. But be careful not to expose yourself or your horse to unnecessary risks.
Many horse owners keep their horses stopped during storms, but allowing them to run free in pastures may keep them safer. "It's a good idea to keep barnyards and pastures clean of debris before storms," he explains. "This will make it easier to manage traffic patterns if needed."
If you do need to stop a horse from rushing out into the road, use a rope or tie-down strap to pull him back behind your property line or under a shed. Don't use a fence as this could be considered dangerous training for your horse.
Horses can become frightened by thunder and lightening, so if you take the time to stop them from running outside during a storm they should be safe from harm.
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