Four prize-winning show ponies have been killed in 2 separate lightning strikes.
Coloured ponies Tidkin Spirit In The Sky and Tidkin Fairytale were found dead in a field near Redcar, Yorkshire, on Friday, 1 August.
In Shropshire Kati Choynowski’s Pebbly Pepperpot and Karen Gillott’s Penucha Lochlan died at Julie Templeton’s showing yard on Monday, 28 July.
The latter 2 horses were grazing in adjacent fields when lightning struck.
Eleven-year-old coloured first ridden Pebbly Pepperpot’s recent successes include a win at the Royal as well as qualifying for the Horse of the Year Show.
Ms Templeton said: “There was a huge thunderstorm around 9.30pm and although a third pony was absolutely fine, we found these two dead. The vet said they were killed instantly.
“Obviously, we are all devastated, but also extremely touched by the many messages we have received from people in the showing world.”
Gerald and Stephanie Towers, who have been breeding coloured ponies for nearly 20 years, awoke to thunder and lightning at 4am on Friday.
Two hours later, the couple were alerted to the deaths of 2 fillies by a neighbour, who was checking on her mare and foal.
Four-year-old Tidkin Spirit in the Sky was the 2004 CHAPS foal futurity champion and placed second in the coloured in-hand native/traditional class at the 2007 Great Yorkshire Show, while 2-year-old Tidkin Fairytale was beginning to win at local shows.
Mr Towers told H&H: “We are devastated. ‘Sky’ was showing tremendous promise, both in the showring and in other disciplines. They both had such potential and we were hoping to breed from them. They were fabulous ponies.”
None of the other 10 horses in the three hectares of grassland was harmed.
Mr Towers added: “One of them was on the other side of the fence, so she must have been thrown clean in the air. We think that they were either struck directly or that the wet ground carried the current into their legs.”