Tuesday, September 27, 2022

‘Boom, They Were Gone:’ Alberta Trainers Mourn the Loss of Two Horses by Lightning

Beautiful, Alta.—A large dirt mound at the top of a green pasture in central Alberta is a reminder that tragedy can strike like lightning.

Two high-priced horses being trained by Ian Tipton and his partner, Lisa Blanchard, died on July 2 after a severe storm struck west of Sundar. Strong winds and 100 mm of rain fell in an hour, while several electric shocks hit the house and the surrounding pasture.

When it was over, several horses charged up and down the pasture. Two out of 14 were gone.

“We have buried them where they were dropped,” Tipton said in an interview with the Canadian Press.

“These two were very special and now they have a resting place to watch everything.”

There are many hoof marks in the dirt on the grave.

Many of the horses in the herd have made this area their new resting place. The Tsar, an old, gray Andalusian, said Tipton, stood for 24 hours after his two fallen comrades—Cipato and Jacinto—were dead, and never turned away.

This is something Tipton, who has been working with horses for the past 50 years, has never seen before.

“Those horses never left him, not even for a minute. The little black man was trying to wake them up and this brown horse stood over them and would not leave them until they were in the field,” he said.

“Whenever I look here, it never changes… from morning till night. They’re back.”

Blanchard said that dying horses are like family.

“We were completely devastated, just sick of the sense of loss personally – and professionally,” she said.

Tipton Horsemanship is an education center for classical equestrian. The staff trains the horses, some of them Grand Prix quality, and they have customers from all over the world who want to ride them.

An eight-year-old Friesian quarter-horse cross, the Cipato, said Tipton, was likely to cost up to US$70,000, while a pure Portuguese Lusitano Jacinto cost around US$30,000. Both had insurance.

“It certainly doesn’t replace the value they have for us as family members,” Tipton said.

David Phillips, a senior climatologist at Environment and Climate Change Canada, said July is the deadliest month for lightning strikes.

Canada conducts more than two million attacks a year, or about one every three seconds. Most Hits Ontario, followed by Alberta and Saskatchewan.

“The average temperature of a lightning flash is about 30,000 degrees Celsius and the voltage is typically about 150 times more powerful than that of an electric chair,” Phillips said.

The most prevalent times for a hurricane to hit are 1 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Very few electric shocks are a direct hit. Phillips said that mostly this happens when lightning goes down an object and then jumps, or when a current hits the ground that travels along the ground “and knocks you down.”

Tipton said he was comforted to learn that two of his horses were likely to die early.

“There was no pain,” said Tipton. “Both of those souls were completely happy and then went on boom.”

by Bill Graveland


This News Originally From – The Epoch Times

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