If a tornado actually comes at you, there's not much you can do besides
get off and get low. Get in a ditch, behind a (large) fallen log, in a
culvert, whatever will provide some protection. If you're in an open
area and can see it coming a long way off, maybe you can try to run
perpendicular to its path ... but in the SE you rarely have that
opportunity and even in open counry that's a risky gamble.
Hail may panic the horse ... get off *before* he spooks!
In the case of lightning, avoid exposing yourself in open areas. The
safest place to be is on a thick woods trail, as long as you're not on
top of a ridgeline. The worst place is on a hilltop in an open meadow!
Of course, don't take shelter under a *lone* tree -- that's just asking
the lightning to come and get you.
If you're caught in the open by a rapidly approaching lightning storm,
get off, tie the horse if you can, but get away from the horse. You can
get low, the horse won't, and if you're holding the reins you can just
conduct the strike right to your heart.
I don't want to scare anybody, I've never heard of an endurance rider or
horse killed by lightning during a ride. But, more people are killed by
lightning every year than by tornadoes, so it's probably going to happen
someday. Use some caution and it won't be you.
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