Fireworks can be very unsettling for horses, but these tips can help your horse to better cope with these noisy occasions.
Fireworks and horses don't naturally go well together. Horses are flight animals, and their reaction to a sudden, loud noise is to startle and run. Add in the fact that fireworks are shot off at night when there doesn't tend to be anyone in the barn to observe the horses, and you can have a potentially dangerous situation.
Keep Your Horse Inside
Many horse owners opt to keep their horses in their stalls on nights when a firework display is scheduled. If horses are outside, they can run in a panic and may run into or through fencing, injuring themselves and getting loose.
By keeping your horses in stalls you can help to control them a bit better, though the decision is ultimately up to you and depends on your horses and the layout of your property.
It's a good idea to leave a radio playing quietly during the night to help distract your horses from the noises in the distance. Some horse owners leave barn fans on, too - just make sure that you use fans which are manufactured for use in the barn, since household fans can create serious fire hazards.
If you don't do so already, then consider providing your horses with hay in hay nets. Eating out of a hay net slows a horse's intake, meaning that he'll have hay to eat for most of the night. Rather than focusing on the noise, your horse may decide to focus on eating instead.
It's best if you have someone present in the barn to supervise the horses during a firework display, especially if you have young horses who have not heard fireworks before.
If you can't be present in the barn the whole time, then at least try to check in after the firework display. This will give you a chance to make sure that your horses are not overly stressed and that they have made it through the event injury-free.
Do you have a horse in your barn who doesn't cope with fireworks well? Contact your vet a few weeks before the summer. Your vet may prescribe a sedative to help keep your horse calm during any firework displays, reducing the chance of him getting hurt or stressing out too much.
Fireworks are a standard part of summertime holiday celebrations, and with some precautions, you can help to keep your horses safe and somewhat relaxed during the displays.
How do you prepare your horse for fireworks? Tell us in the comments below.
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