Severe Weather Safety for Horses at Three Chimneys Farm

Reported by: Ellen Bryan
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Updated: 6/14/2013 1:09 am

When severe storms hit Kentucky, it impacts one of the Commonwealth’s biggest industries – horses.

Stallion Manager Sandy Hatfield at Three Chimneys Farm in Woodford County said if there’s a 50 percent chance of thunderstorms in the area, they will keep the horses inside.

Hatfield said this is for several reasons like lightning and falling tree limbs and debris. Plus, insurance companies want to know that the horses are protected.

“I really watch the weather very closely especially this time of year when I know that the storms can roll up at any time,” Hatfield said.

Big Brown, winner of the 2008 Kentucky Derby and 2008 Preakness Stakes, lives at Three Chimneys Farm. He is the first stallion taken in during severe weather according to Hatfield.

Hatfield said another reason to bring the horses inside is because they can get scared in storms.

“They’re not wild horses,” Hatfield said. “They're not used to taking care of themselves and being prey animals, what they do when something scares them is they run.”

She said she worries the horses will run through fences or to a high point because they want to see if the thunder is the roar of someone chasing them.

“But they feel comfortable and safe in their stalls,” she said.

All of their barns have lightning rods on the top to help prevent barn fires.

“We're doing the very best we can for them,” Hatfield said.

If a storm starts before the horses are brought in, Hatfield said they will leave the horses outside because it’s not worth it to risk a person’s life for the horses.

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