Fireworks and Horses
The Fourth of July holiday brings concern to horse owners around the country. Not on is it a great time to get together with family and friends but it is also a time for fireworks. This is celebrated by all and feared by many horse owners.
Horse can definitely be scared by the flashing lights and big booms. There are some things that you can do to help your horse. Make sure you do not leave your horse alone when you are implementing your desensitizing methods.
Devise Your Plan
- Find out where and when fireworks will be displayed in your area.
- Develop you emergency plan of action.
- Is fireworks lawful in your area? You can report unlawful fireworks but you may or may not get response from law enforcement on such a busy night.
- Don’t be surprised if individuals shoot their own fireworks in your neighborhood. Find out when and where they plan on celebrating with their display. If you can, move your horses to another area or desensitize them before the big event.
- Do you need liability insurance in case your scared horse escapes and causes damage or an accident? Plan ahead, especially if you have a horse that you know is prone to escaping his pasture.
Exposing your horses to loud noises before the firework fun begins may help them get used to the loud noises.
- Play recordings of things that go boom like fireworks, thunderstorms, gunshots, loud music etc. for your horse. Start with the sound low and increase it gradually as your horse adjust to the sounds.
- Couple the sound with something that your horse enjoys, such as a treat, while he is listing to the sound.
- You can purchase recordings of these sounds online.
- If you horse is in the stall, play loud music to help drown out the booms.
- Provide lots of food to keep your horse interested in something they like and hopefully they will ignore the fireworks.
Lights in the Sky
- Find a way to mimic flashing lights for short periods of time. This may take some thinking on your part but maybe a strobe light or disco ball are good choices.
- Make sure your horse is participating in an activity he enjoys when your start your light show. Start slow and increase the flashes.
- If our horse is in the barn, keep the lights on to minimize the flashes of light.
- To keep you from being injured in case your horse panics, stay out of the stall when you are working with your horse.
- Determine where your horse will feel safest—stall or pasture.
- Check for anything that can potentially harm your horse in his stall if you plan on keeping him inside during the fireworks.
- Check fencing to make sure that it is in good repair if you plan on keeping your horse in the pasture. Hopefully your horse will remember where the fence is and will not crash through it.
- Have your veterinarian or an emergency vet hospital on hand in case something goes wrong.
- Have law enforcement and animal control numbers available.
- Pair your horse with a seasoned horse who has already been exposed to fireworks and pays them little to no attention.
- Contact your vet and have a plan of action for the horses that you know cannot handle bright flashing lights or loud noises. Your vet may recommend a supplement to calm your horse.