Helping Your Horse Stay Safe & Sane During Fireworks
A little planning and support could go a long way
Somehow fireworks went from being one day a year Independence Day celebration to being a 4-5 day explosion fest. I hate to be a wet blanket but all that racket might be stressing out your horses!
Most of us aren’t going to relocate our horses to some desolate area to avoid the booms so might as well help them through it with good stress prevention.
Here are some tips to help your horse stay safe and sane during fireworks (storms or other things that go boom):
• Do extra riding or groundwork with your horse before the festivities start. Exercise can help him eliminate excess energy so he is not as reactive later.
• Keep your horses in the area that they feel most secure.
Be sure they are with their horse friends so the quieter horses can help keep the herd calm.
• Turn on a fan or radio to help drown out the sudden noises.
• Supplements can also help keep them from getting too worked up. I’ve found Rescue Remedy to be a good one to add to their water several hours before the festivities start. For any horse that lives alone, it can also be helpful to use a pheromone product like Confidence Eq to simulate the feeling of safety that comes from being with a herd.
• Make sure your horse has access to forage. When they get stressed out digestive issues can become a big problem. Having hay in their belly will help keep stomach acid at bay and keep things moving through their tract smoothly.
• If your horse is extremely sound sensitive you could try using ear plugs for them or consider consulting your veterinarian for an anti-anxiety medication to help keep them calm.
• Make sure your horse has the freedom to move around. Tying them up might seem like a good way to keep them safe but it will actually make them feel trapped which makes everything that much scarier.
• Another handy practice is to pair the loud noises with positive things. For example, every time there is a boom your horse gets a slice of apple or piece of carrot pretty soon they will start to realize noises mean good things are coming not scary things.
One thing that most owners get wrong is not starting with stress prevention and support soon enough. Don’t wait till your horse is a sweaty nervous wreck to try to calm them down. Planning ahead with a good tiring workout, forage, friends, supportive care will go along way in keeping your horse from being triggered by fireworks and help them settle down much faster if they do become scared.