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Horses Hunker Down in Summer Storm

Published: 8/5/2012
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By Maddy Butcher Gray

We'd like to think we build things like barns and run-in sheds so when the weather gets bad, our dear horses will use them to stay warm and dry.
This time, anyway, the horses turned up their noses at shelter.

Rain came to Iowa in full force, with a few inches dropped in an hour and with 40-mile per hour winds. There they were, grouped together away from the barn.
I shot this video from the shed where they could not only stay dry but have hay, too.
It appears that Comet is forcibly apart from the other horses, but she doesn't like to be crowded and simply chose to be on the other side of the paddock fencing.
The horses could be wherever they wanted. The young paint horse, Jodi, seemed unfamiliar with storm protocol. Click here to check out the girls during Hurricane Irene.

I found their actions pretty interesting:
  • hind ends to the wind (when it shifted 90 degrees, they adjusted accordingly.
  • ears pinned.
  • all four feet planted and ready to adjust and move
  • tightly grouped
  • stock still

Summer Storm from Maddy Butcher Gray on Vimeo.

After the storm cleared, some were shivering. Perhaps from the chill (it had dipped to 75 degrees!) or from adrenalin. Either way, they moved out and about, high-stepping and reconsidering the temporarily drenched field. [Photo below]

View Reader Comments:

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8/5/2012 Missy
Abby would stand out in weather like this, and worse. Not The Budster, lol! We had a similar storm the night before last. Fast and furious!
8/5/2012 Leisha MacDougall
Yes, our grandparents used to say, "fools don't even know enough to come in out of the rain." that happens here all the time. It's like the barn is a bad thing!
8/6/2012 Mary
My theory: The horses are on alert and ready to kick in their flight response. They do not want to be anywhere where they might be restricted or restrained from fleeing. That's why they choose open ground over barn, stables, stalls, etc.
10/26/2012 Jenny
Look at how synchronized they are! Three horses have their legs perfectly aligned with one another. Cool.

"An owner of a Tennessee Walking Horse once said that his horse reminded him of a lightning rod, for, as he rode, all the sorrows of his heart flowed down through the splendid muscles of his horse and were grounded in the earth." - Marguerite Henry