Most animals find fireworks to be extremely stressful and horses are no exception to this. On the cusp of the New Year it’s safe to say there will be plenty of fireworks going off, so we look at a few things you can do to reduce stress and help your horse cope during the celebrations.
Do not ride during nights you know fireworks will be going off.
Find out if there are any displays in your area. You can contact the event organisers and ask if they can make sure to aim the fireworks in the opposite direction. If your horse is grazing, it would be prudent to move your horse for the evening to lessen their stress. If your horse is left out in the field they may panic, causing them to run into fences or wiring and hurt themselves in the process. However, it is best to keep your horse in it’s routine as much as possible. If your horse would usually be in the field, then it’s your choice if you opt to keep them there, if it’s not too close to any local displays.
As with our winter entertainment for horses blog, a radio is a good idea to use as a distraction for them during the night, this can help mask the sounds of the fireworks. Some owners will keep the barn fan on as well, as white noise has been proven to help reduce sound disturbance. If you are going to do either of these it’s always a good idea to introduce this before the night so your horse doesn’t become worried and made nervous by these new sounds and noises. Leaving the stable lights on can also help as the lights flashing from the fireworks won’t be so obvious.
Check on them. If you’re able to, make sure you check on them during the night. It may also be an idea, if you’re able, to take a packed lunch and flask with you, you could spend some time doing the things you’d been putting on – give your tack a good clean. This can help as it means you’re able to keep an eye on your horse and can also cross off quite a lot of your to-do list in the process. If you can’t be there yourself but know someone experienced who can then this is also a good option.
After the display or night make sure to check the field before you let your horse into it. If there is any debris, move it but make sure you have thick gloves on just in case they are still hot or have any sharp points on them. Also, make sure to check your horse. Even if you’ve stayed with them all night, they could have a cut or injury from overreaching or running into something. Remember, it’s important to continue with your usual routine, this is the best thing you can do for your horse so it doesn’t become stressed after the event as well.