Fireworks night is an exciting time of year. However, it can be a frightening night for livestock, especially if they are unprepared. With fireworks being let off earlier every year, horse owners can find fireworks night a stressful time of year. Even the calmest horses can be easily frightened by the loud explosions of fireworks but there are steps you can take to help prepare your horse for fireworks night to help minimise the impact of the noise.
In this article, I will advise you on the steps that can be taken to help your horse on fireworks night to help limit the impact of the unpleasantness your horse may experience during this season.
Why Prepare Your Horse for Firework Night?
Many people wonder what the point of preparing horses for fireworks night really is. So, let’s take a moment to consider this. Firstly, horses are extremely large animals and the sheer muscle that constitutes an adult horse can do a lot of damage when frightened or threatened. Horses, therefore, are quite like cats and dogs. Not only is their being startled undesirable and stressful, it can have serious (and even tragic) consequences on both the horse and the owner. During fireworks night, horses have been known to bolt over or through fences, run into roads and crush their owners in a maddened frenzy to escape. Suffice to say, fireworks can have dire effects on horses and serious consequences. So, let’s take a look at the methods you can use to keep your horse safe during this season.
Keep Your Horse Safely Inside
To protect your horse from fireworks, it is important to keep your horse inside when a firework display is scheduled. If horses remain outside, they tend to run wild, crashing through fences and injuring themselves as a result. By keeping your horse safely inside, it is easier to keep them safe and under control.
Horses like being kept in a space where they feel safe and the familiar environment of their stable will help them feel less inclined to panic. By closing the door to the stable during fireworks night, you can help limit the effects of the loud bangs. It is also helpful to keep a light on in the stables as it will help reduce the effects of those bright flashes.
Help Prepare Your Horse for the Fireworks
Preparation is key when getting ready for fireworks night. You might consider desensitising your horse to the sounds of fireworks beforehand. It is easy enough to find loops of firework sound effects on YouTube that you can play to your horse every night. Provided you start the process with the volume low and slowly work your way up, this preparation process can be hugely beneficial.
Provide a Distraction
Horses enjoy company. However, it may be that you are unable to stay with your horse during firework night. If this is the case, help your horse by providing a distraction. It is helpful to leave a radio playing quietly during the night to help keep your horse distracted from the noise of fireworks in the distance.
It is also effective to leave your horse with a hay net. Eating out of a hay net is a slow process for a horse and means he needs to spend most of the night eating. Often, a horse eating from a hay net will focus entirely on the project at hand, distracting himself from the fireworks going off around the barn.
Regularly Check on Your Horse
If you are available on firework night, it is important to regularly check on your horse and be as present as possible to help supervise him during the fireworks. Company is especially helpful for younger horses who may not have heard or experienced fireworks before. Regularly checking your horse during fireworks night ensures you can check your horses are not overly stressed. You can also check-in at the end of the fireworks to ensure they have made it through the night injury-free.
Consider Sedation from Your Veterinarian
If you have a horse who has repeatedly experienced fireworks night and finds it difficult to cope with, it may be that sedation is your only solution. Contact your veterinarian a few weeks before the event and ask them to prescribe a sedative for your horse to help reduce the chances of him becoming overly stressed during the evening. Sedation also helps reduce the likelihood of injury by keeping your horse relaxed during any firework displays.
Give Your Horse Plenty of Company
Horses are herd animals, they like company. For horses, the most reassuring thing is having stable mates within sight – if they are able to touch each other and comfort one another, this is extremely helpful. During times of high stress, horses find it a comfort to have others around them so that they do not feel as scared or alone. If you can, keep all your horses stabled together.
Preparation is the key to a successful fireworks night. By being proactive, you can help make fireworks night as stress-free for your horse as possible. Most people do not think about how much fireworks affect livestock and should, therefore, think carefully about how it will affect any local animals.
With fireworks night coming up, it is important you start preparing your horse now (if you haven’t already). I hope you have found this article informative and that it has given you some helpful suggestions for readying your horse for fireworks night. If you have any questions, Prime Stables are here to help, call our friendly team today!