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 Visser photo)

Chilliwack teenager’s horse killed by lightning in weekend thunderstorm

Two horses died in covered pen in Rosedale, 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 he 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.

 

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

The Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalk strolls into Chilliwack next month

Photographers meet up to spend a few hours socializing, capturing images, and sharing with like-minded people

Libraries call on reading buddies, dads to take part in literacy programs in Chilliwack

The annual Reading Buddies program and the brand-new Man in the Moon story time start this month

Westbound crash on Highway 1 in Langley causing extreme traffic delays

Collision occured just after Glover Road, cars backed up all the way to 264th Street

Chilliwack Chiefs blow out Prince George Spruce Kings in home opener

Ethan Bowen scored three goals as the Chiefs dumped their Mainland division rivals 6-2.

Missing Chilliwack 17-year-old last seen on August 20

RCMP asking public for help to find Lorenz Pentz

VIDEO: A moment to remember during the World Lacrosse Men’s Indoor Championship in B.C.

Diego Hernandez Valenzuela’s team lost, but he felt like a winner Saturday

Hiker rescued after spending night on Crown Mountain

North Shore Rescue spotted the woman by helicopter over Hanes Valley

PHOTOS: Steller sea lion with plastic around neck rescued on Vancouver Island

Rescue staff determined the plastic band cut the protected animal’s neck approximately two inches

B.C. VIEWS: School officials join fact-free ‘climate strike’

Students, public get distorted picture of greenhouse gases

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Iconic 90s TV show ‘Friends’ celebrates 25th anniversary

The iconic, decade-long television show aired its first episode 25 years ago today

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Most Read