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.

 

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

PHOTOS: Chilliwack Terry Fox Run in the rain

Wet weather didn’t dampen spirits or enthusiasm for the annual cancer fundraiser

Chilliwack’s Belle Voci brings three-day a cappella festival to Fraser Valley

Singers will learn from two of Lower Mainland’s best music leaders at Belle Voci A Cappella Festival

Man charged with stealing Chief Dan George sculpture from Abbotsford school

Piece turned up in Mission pawn shop after Chilliwack artist noticed it missing this summer

New real-time location technology coming soon to Fraser Valley buses

Waiting riders will be able to see location of their bus using their phones

Seven Days in Chilliwack

A list of community events happening in Chilliwack from Sept. 16 to 22

VIDEO: Liberals make child care pledge, Greens unveil platform on Day 6 of campaign

Green party leader Elizabeth May unveils her party’s platform in Toronto

Canucks sign Brock Boeser to three-year, US$17.6-million deal

Young sniper will be in Vancouver Tuesday

B.C. forest industry looks to a high-technology future

Restructuring similar to Europe 15 years ago, executive says

RCMP conclude investigation into 2017 Elephant Hill wildfire

Files have been turned over to BC Prosecution Service

B.C. wants to be part of global resolution in opioid company bankruptcy claim

Government says settlement must include Canadian claims for devastation created by overdose crisis

Guilty plea in Lower Mainland break-and-enter spree

Gordon Vincent Gladstone, 42, was charged with 12 counts relating to a dozen incidents in late 2018

Vancouver police officer hit with bear spray mid-arrest

Officer had been trying to arrest a woman wanted province-wide

B.C. ends ‘birth alerts’ in child welfare cases

‘Social service workers will no longer share information about expectant parents without consent’

U.S. student, killed in Bamfield bus crash, remembered as ‘kind, intelligent, talented’

John Geerdes, 18, was one of two UVic students killed in the crash on Friday night

Most Read