One of America’s most widely celebrated holidays is almost here and along with it comes the fireworks!
While they are a time-honoured and cherished way of celebrating the 4th of July,
the bright lights and deafening noises can be pure misery for your equine friend.
By using the following tips along with some careful planning, however, horse carers and horse owners can keep
the horses in their charge safe and calm.
Try to stick to their normal routine as closely as possible. This means leaving them in their normal environment along with their normal companions. Your horse will do best when in a familiar setting.
Make sure their surroundings are safe. Check stalls thoroughly for any loose boards, sharp or protruding objects. If possible close off outside windows in your barn. In the pasture make sure there are no
barriers (including close fences). If your horse bolts they need plenty of space to slow down before running into any barriers. If your pasture is small consider moving them a couple of days ahead of time to
a larger pasture or barn if necessary.
Try to apply some desensitizing techniques. If your horse will be stalled start playing music softly gradually increasing the volume over a two-week period to help mask the outside noise. Also, start
leaving your barn lights on at night so the flashing from the fireworks is less noticeable. If your horse has never been exposed to fireworks before then consider purchasing some. Starting as far away
as possible set one off only moving closer when your horse remains totally calm. If you have some help present your horse with a favorite treat right when the firework explodes.
Plan to have someone keep a close watch on your horse during the time of the firework display to ensure a quick response time should something go wrong. The person should be experienced with
horses and should remain calm and positive. Be sure to explain all instructions and provide phone numbers in case of an emergency.
Never leave your horse tied. Even the calmest horse will panic if they feel trapped during a scary situation.
As a last resort for an especially nervous horse, consult your veterinarian about the use of a sedative.
By doing some planning and a few preparations you can make sure this holiday is less stressful for you and your horse.
Article by Guest Writer Christy R Taylor
Christy lives in Arkansas and has a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science with an Equine Science minor. She has owned horses and worked in the horse industry most of her adult life and loves training horses,
some of which have gone on to win barrels and poles at the Arkansas State Horse Show. Christy says she can’t imagine a life without horses.
She also writes a blog for an Instagram account, @eqstyletheory