With organised firework displays cancelled due to social restrictions in the UK, there may be more individual home fireworks than usual. Be prepared – this might mean you will see fireworks near where your horses are kept, so what can you do to help keep your horse calm and safe if they become upset by fireworks?
To avoid injury you could:
- Bring your horse into a stable (if possible) well ahead of any anticipated fireworks, ie before dark.
- Remove any possible hazards from the stable or field if unable to bring in.
- Playing loud music e.g. leaving a radio on loud volume as background noise can reduce awareness of fireworks, something relaxing – classical seems to be enjoyed!
- If your horse is extremely anxious or has injured itself in previous years, it is advisable to speak to your vet to obtain an oral sedative if you know when fireworks will occur nearby. Prescribing laws state that your horse must be registered with a vet and have been seen within the last 6 months for your vet to be able to prescribe a sedative.
- Make any neighbouring properties aware that your horse is anxious about fireworks.
- If you know that fireworks are to be set off close to your horse’s location, stay with your horse throughout the fireworks and remain calm and reassuring but without reinforcing anxious behaviour. Remember horses are very good at sensing, and reacting to, human emotions.
- If you are unable to stay with your horse during fireworks, make sure you leave clear contact details for you and your vet.
- If your horse panics, remember your own safety comes first, do not put yourself in harm.
- Ideally ensure your horse can see other horses, they usually prefer to have company.
- Check your field after any local fireworks for fragments of fireworks that may present a danger to your horse and don’t forget to look for Sky Lanterns too.
Above all stay safe.