Horses are flight animals and anything unexpected can startle them. Each horse will vary on how they respond to fireworks (just like us humans), but reactions can be pretty severe and potentially dangerous for both you and your horse.
Equetech have come up with some tips to help you and your horse survive the firework season over the next couple of weeks, as we know fireworks night might officially only be one day, but fireworks are likely to be going on for a few weeks, here's our guide to a stress free firework season.
1. What events are going on nearby where you keep your horse? Check out local newspapers, shop notice boards or a local radio station to find out where the displays will be in your area.
2. Where possible, tell neighbours and local firework display organisers that there are horses nearby, this way they can make sure fireworks are set off in the opposite direction and well away from the horses.
3. Routine is key. It is sensible to keep your horse in it's familiar environment, in it's normal routine, with companions to make them feel secure. If they are usually stabled, keep them stabled. If they are normally out in the field, keep them there (as long as it is safe, secure and not close to the firework display area).
4. If stabled, check for anything that could cause potential injury if the horse was to panic.
5. If your horse is staying in the field, again check for potential hazards, check that fencing is not broken and that there are no foreign objects lying around.
6. Ensure that you, or someone experienced, stays with your horse if you know that fireworks are being set off very near by.
7. Make sure you have contact details handy for your vet should any problems arise.
8. If you know from previous experience that your horse is likely to be very distressed, talk to your vet about sedation or perhaps consider moving your horse for the night further away from any potential fireworks displays.
9. Playing music on a radio just outside the stable can often help mask noise, it can also distract attention and be soothing.
10. Leave stable or barn lights on may help lessen the effect of the bright lights and flashes in the night sky.
11. If your horse is kept in a barn or enclosed stable area it might be possible to limit the effect of fireworks by keeping barn doors closed.
12. If your horse is stabled consider using a treat ball, these can be a great distraction for horses and give them something else to think about.
13. Try to remain calm yourself, as horses will sense unease in a person and this may make things worse if the horse is startled.
14. It may seem common sense but be aware of your own safety; a startled horse can be dangerous.
15. Whatever you do, don't risk riding when you think fireworks might be set off.
16. Check if there will be a bonfire near your yard. If there is, make sure you have an plan in case of a fire emergency.
17. Make sure that you have adequate third party liability insurance. If your horse is frightened and escapes, causing an accident, then you could be held liable for compensation.
We hope you find this tips helpful, for us it's all about about being prepared and having a plan so you can your horse can make it through the firework season with ease.
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