November the 5th is just around the corner and many of us have already started to hear the whizz, pop, bang of fireworks through the evening. This time of year brings dread to so many horse owners, and it’s important we take the offensive and protect our horses as best we can to ensure they stay calm and safe at this time of year.
Guide – Protect your horse from 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 popular!
- 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.
Fireworks & Horses – A Survey of Owners – Dec 2020
Between the 26th of October and 1st November 2020, Dr David Marlin ran an online survey.
The survey consisted of three closed questions and was anonymous. The second question also had an option for free-form comments. It was shared on the Facebook Group and on other equestrian-themed UK pages and groups.
A total of 2837 responses were received at the time this data was collated.