John B (17 Feb 2011)
"RE: Fay---Horse Deaths--Probable Cause"

Having worked with electricity for 40 years and investigating many shock complaints I'll try to explain what may have happened to the horses.
If there was underground wiring in or near that arena and the "hot" wire of the buried conductors was damaged and its insulation (covering) was lost then leakage to ground of electricity may be felt in the proximity of the damaged conductor. At a certain spot the effects of the shock will be the greatest and as you distance yourself from this spot the effects dissipate due to the resistance of the earth. It only takes milliamps of current to kill a horse or a human. The extreme disadvantage of the horse is that not only is it barefooted but has steel shoes which are conductors of electricity. When the horse got to that certain spot in the arena the leakage current from the buried conductor would enter his body through his front legs traveled through his body ,through his heart and exited through his back legs. This would cause the horse's heart to go into fibrillation resulting in death. There may have been just one area where the horses walked over that had the "step potential" to kill and that is why only two horses died and not all. I suspect they did not all walk over the "hot spot".
As for the men who were leading the horses, they had enough insulation in their shoes and were not spanning enough ground --step potential-- to get the shock. The reins of the horses are made from a material that is not a conductor so no path of current could be established there. If the men attending the horses directly touched the animals when they lay on the ground then a current path from the horse to and through the men could be established especially if the men were kneeling. They would then have felt a tingling or shock themselves.
In my working career I witnessed (after the fact) the deaths of many electrocuted cows due to bad wiring and damaged electric circuits. It takes only milliamps to kill them and they don't stand a chance because normally the ground is moist, they are barefooted (no insulation)  and they span a large "step potential" distance between their front and rear legs.
Hope this clears up some of the muddy water for you.
John B
Fay (16 Feb 2011)
"Spoely - Horse Deaths"

Hi John and Doves,
Spoely - thanks for that weird story. Your post:
I have been trying to get more information regarding the Newbury horses but there's just silence, so far. I'm sure this is because they simply can't figure out what the heck happened. The experts, on the day, were explaining away the fact that no humans, also in the ring and close to the affected horses, were affected. A few theories are that the horses had steel plates (shoes) and were, therefore, more susceptible. Correct me if I'm wrong here, but isn't it a fact that, if you are touching someone or something, whilst they are being electrocuted, it affects you the same way? You will also suffer the same electricity. The stable lads were actually holding the reins of these horses when they went down. They reported feeling electric shocks coming off the horses, when they were down, but had not felt the shocks when they were holding the reins and the horses started kicking out. The so-called electric shocks were enough to kill these horses but not the other horses who had been spooked. I find the whole thing very bizarre and would love to hear from an expert on electricity and how this might be explained.
Hope you find out the names of those horses, Spoely.