Fifteen-year-old Layla Thomson and her horse Conrad who was struck and killed by lightning in the thunderstorms in Chilliwack overnight Sept. 7/8. (Katrina Jetshe Visser photo)

B.C. teen’s horse killed by lightning in weekend thunderstorm

Two horses died in covered pen in Chilliwack, discovered in the early hours Sept. 8

It was still dark Sunday morning when Layla Thomson arrived on her father’s Rosedale dairy farm looking forward to seeing her best friend, her horse Conrad, and a day of barrel racing.

Conrad and Layla were headed to the Glow Slot Race at Heritage Park, an event they took first place in the 4D category in 2018, winning $7,812.

But there would be no barrel racing this weekend.

Layla went over to her “Connie-boy” as she saw him laying down in his covered pen.

“We were excited and then when we came out I checked on him,” she said Monday. “I normally go and check on him first thing and I found him. It was dark out. Connie sometimes stretches out on his bed. I touched his nose and I knew. It was cold. He wasn’t moving.”

Both Conrad and her father Shane’s horse Shade were dead on the ground, killed in lightning strikes in the dramatic overnight thunderstorm Saturday.

• RELATED: VIDEO: Summer lightning storm lights up Chilliwack sky

They couldn’t find Shade at first, but she was not too far away from Conrad.

“When Connie went, he didn’t even move,” Layla said. “He was laying right where he was standing. There were no other hoof prints, he just fell right where he was eating his hay.”

Both animals had unusual, almost lightning-shaped, marks on their bodies.

Fifteen-year-old Layla Thomson of Chilliwack lost her horse Conrad to a lightning strike on the weekend.

Layla’s dad Shane Thomson got Conrad for her as a rescue four or five years ago. He was skin and bones, but Layla took great care of him, slowly building up his weight and strength. Early on she could only ride him without a saddle.

But day after day she spent time with her friend, eventually able to race him with a saddle. She started with gymkhana events building up to barrel racing.

“Their love for each other was so obvious to anyone who saw them together!” said a friend in a GoFundMe page set up for Layla. “A girls first love taken from her in a such a tragic way.”

What exactly happened is hard for the family to understand, given that the horses were not particularly near any trees and were in covered pens. But they had recently had new shoes put on, and lightning can behave in mysterious ways.

According to the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, proper grounding of barns, tall trees and metal fencing is needed.

“Even when precautions are taken, lightning strikes can still affect cattle, horses, and other livestock,” according to a post on the CVMA website. “Trees within 10 feet of a barn which are taller than the barn should be grounded to prevent flashover, a situation where the bolt leaps from tree to building.”

“It’s really, really sad,” Layla said, sitting at her Greendale kitchen table looking at photos of her and Conrad.

While she’s grieving today, Layla said she will look to getting a new horse down the road if they can find one with the right personality.

“I’ve always been around horses. My grandma had them and then I did riding lessons. I’ve just always been around animals.”

Her mother Heidi is just glad no one was around when the lightning struck at or near where the horses were.

“We were very fortunate that her and her dad were not out there tending to those animals,” she said. “They very well could have been with those horses.”

In the end, Layla just really wanted to thank all friends and family for all the support and love after the loss of the horses.

• RELATED: Mountain goat named Gustav killed by lightning in Kamloops


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Fifteen-year-old Layla Thomson and her horse Conrad (right) and her father Shane and his horse Shade. Both horses were killed in Chilliwack by lightning in the thunderstorms in the Fraser Valley overnight Sept. 7/8. (Submitted)

Just Posted

Province looking at steps to dissolve Jumbo resort municipality

Disincorporating municipality will likely require a legislative change, according to the province

Changes to Kootenay Lake terminals underway

Progress is reported on new vessel, dredging, and terminal changes

Almost 20,000 parking tickets issued by Interior Health at hospitals in 2019

In 2018, pay parking in Interior Health hospitals totalled $5.3 million of their $2.2-billion budget

Over 7,600 birds in Creston Valley’s 2019 Christmas Bird Count

Over 60 volunteers participated by counting Creston Valley birds on Dec. 27

Four things ‘not’ to do if you run into Prince Harry and Meghan in B.C.

Here is a list of some things you definitely should NOT do, according to the BBC

B.C. RCMP spent roughly $750K on massive manhunt for Port Alberni men

Manitoba RCMP helped with 17-day search through the province’s northern terrain

Future space homes could be made of mushrooms

NASA explores use of fungi to build structures in space

Man killed by police in Lytton called 911, asking to be shot: RCMP

Howard Schantz, also known as Barry Schantz was killed following a standoff at his Lytton home

Canadian public health agencies ramping up preparations in response to new virus

Health officials have said there are no confirmed cases of the emerging coronavirus in Canada

‘Naughty boy’: Monty Python star Terry Jones dies at 77

The comedian has been suffering from a rare form of dementia

Theo the 800-pound pig trimmed down and still looking for love on Vancouver Island

“He’s doing really well, lost quite a few pounds and can run now.”

Horgan unveils B.C. cabinet shuffle changes

Premier John Horgan has made three major changes to his cabinet

Most Read