Owner’s devastation as two ponies killed by bolt of lightning

The devastated owner of two ponies thought to have been killed by a single bolt of lightning wants others to be aware such freak accidents are possible.

Zoe Thorold found her Welsh ponies Dawn and Violet dead during a thunderstorm last Tuesday night (27 August).

She told H&H the hardy mares preferred living out, especially 31-year-old Violet who previously, when Zoe had brought her in during storms or fireworks, had jumped through the stable window.

“There was a bit of thunder but the weather forecast said the storm would miss us,” Zoe said.

“Then it hit; there was a humongous bang and a flash. I told my husband I was going to check the ponies, and I found them. I rang my husband in hysterics to say they were dead.”

Violet and 29-year-old Dawn, a former top in-hand showing pony, were lying within five feet of each other.

“They were side by side, eyes open and grass in their mouths,” Zoe said. “They were inseparable in death as they had been in life.

“I still can’t believe it; devastated doesn’t come close to how I feel.”

Zoe said there was a burn mark on Violet, so the man who came to collect the ponies thought she had been hit, then the electricity jumped to Dawn as she was so close.

She added that the incident came two months after she lost her sister Leesa to cancer, and that her family is devastated, especially her two young children.

Continues below…



“It’s such a hard thing to explain,” she said. “I think they’d accept it if the ponies had been poorly but with a freak of nature like that, it’s harder.”

Zoe wants other owners to be aware such things can happen, although in her case there was nothing she could have done to save her mares.

“I hope no one else has to go through this,” she said.

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.