A horse has died and another has been seriously injured after being struck by lightning in the early hours of this morning (Friday 17 July).
The 15.2hh bay gelding, named George, was found dead in his field in Stanhoe, Norfolk, by his owners at 7.30am.
His fieldmate Maxine, a 16.2hh dark bay mare owned by the same family, was seriously injured and unable to move.
It is thought the horses were struck by lightning at around 3am during the heavy storm.
“It’s just so devastating and could happen to anybody,” said Stacey Myles, who owns both horses with her 17-year-old daughter, Cariad.
“We went to the yard this morning and he was dead in the field. We could see one horse stood by the fence and she couldn’t move.
“There wasn’t a mark on George. We thought they might have been fighting and couldn’t understand it.
“The horse that was still alive had a massive nosebleed and couldn’t walk.”
Stacey’s vet confirmed the horses had been struck by lightning.
The family had owned George (Little Bud II) for three years and Cariad had successfully evented the 11-year-old, qualifying for the BE100 regional finals for the grassroots championships.
“They have done so well together,” said Mrs Myles. “He was her top horse.
“He was boss of all the horses and always wanted to be the first to go out and play.”
Five-year-old ex-racehorse Maxine was preparing to make her eventing debut with Cariad.
She has been put on box rest with an injured shoulder and has been given painkillers and anti-inflammatories.
The British Horse Society (BHS) offered advice for horse owners concerned about the risk of lightning.
“Nature cannot be predicted but the more likely area for a lightning strike is higher ground and/or a single tree rather than a group of trees,” a spokesman for BHS told H&H.
“It would be wise to for horse-owners who have access to well-grounded stabling to keep an eye on the weather forecast and stable their horses when there is a threat of a lightning storm.”