I’m not sure really how to write this, to be perfectly honest. It is not easy.
Today when Daisy and I went over to the Minion field to trim some hooves, we discovered that the ponies had burned hooves.
We started by catching Fivla, who was first on our list of feet-to-do, and when Daisy lifted her front hoof and picked it out to trim, she found the sole was black and charred. She showed me and we sniffed. There was a terrible smell of burnt hoof. The frog was burned right back too. We picked up each hoof to find they were all in the same state.
Horrified, we wondered if someone had walked Fivla over hot coals, ie some had been dumped in the field but as we looked at all the hooves, it became very evident that they were all burned to some degree. Fivla and Tiddles were the worst. Their soles were totally burnt and looked very bad, but there were no open wounds or blood.
It was then we remembered there had been a thunder and lightning storm on Friday morning in the area. We searched the field for evidence of a direct strike but could find nothing. The odd thing was that all the ponies were behaving totally normally. No one was agitated or worried – I can tell if a stranger has been in their field based on their behaviour afterwards. Everyone was the same as they ever were. Nothing was different, apart from the state of their feet.
Daisy and I finished up (Fivla, Vitamin and Storm were trimmed) and went home to do some investigation and I made a phone call to our on-duty vet.
The vet recommended we give Fivla and Tiddles regular pain relief (daily Danilon) and we agreed that I should spray the soles of their feet with a tetracycline spray too. We have to monitor the situation carefully. Any hint of infection and I would let the vet know. We also decided the best place for the ponies to be was in their field with each other. The grass will cushion their soles and being with their friends will keep them active which will in turn promote blood circulation for frog regrowth and health.
So, Floss and I returned to the field, duly dished out the analgesia and sprayed the antibiotic spray. Floss agreed that she could see no behavioural difference in any of the ponies either. So that is good – as far as we can see, they have not suffered and no one is in actual pain. Fivla was trotting when I was leading her to the food!
I have just ordered a high quality food supplement that will promote frog growth and health (Farriers Formula) and will give it to all of them daily until their hooves are back to normal.
We are all very shocked (perhaps that’s the wrong word in hindsight).
I have done a little internet research on this topic – we can’t be the only folk to have this happen. I think the ponies had a “step lightning” event and have been very lucky. The terrain may have helped the ponies as they were standing on wet soil.
From: – https://www.dw.com/en/lightning-risk-much-higher-for-animals/a-19511426 – where hundreds of reindeer were killed in one lightning storm in Norway……
“If you have soil where plants are growing, and that has had some rain, for example, then the soil’s very humid and the electrical conductivity is very high. On the other hand, the worst case is rocky ground. In [Norway’s Hardangervidda plateau], which is filled with rocks and hills, then I assume there’s really rocky ground with very, very low conductivity. So that explains why step voltage is very high.”