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Equestrian Advice & Guides Beginners Advice
New years eve is just around the corner and for a lot of our four-legged friends, this can be quite a traumatic time. Whilst we enjoy the pretty patterns that burst into the sky, we must remember that fireworks can be terrifying for our horses.
Many horses are spooked by the loud noises or flashing lights that fireworks produce. This time of year can be a busy period for equine vets, where they treat horses that have injured themselves or have had colic as a result of the trauma. We are here with some tips on how to keep your horse calm throughout the firework displays.
Planning ahead on new years eve is essential. Start by finding out where the firework displays in your area will take place and let the organisers and neighbours know that there are horses nearby so that they can ensure fireworks are directed in the opposite direction.
You should decide whether to stable your horse or not. It’s usually best for your horse to be left in a familiar environment, and in its regular routine.
If you usually leave your horse in the field then it’s probably best to do the same, as long as it is safe and secure and away from any firework displays.
If you usually stable your horse then keep it stable but make sure there isn't anything that your horse could potentially injure itself on. The same goes if your horse is staying in the field, make sure there are no foreign objects lying around and double check that the field is secure and no fences are broken.
If you know exactly when there’s going to be a firework display nearby it might be a sensible idea to stay with your horse or arrange for someone experienced to stay with them whilst the fireworks are being set off. Remember to give your contact details and veterinary details to whoever may look after your horse, just in case any problems occur.
It might also help to put your horse in the company of another horse which they already know.
Try putting the radio on outside the stable, this can sometimes be soothing for your horse and distract them from the loud and sudden noises.
Remaining calm yourself will also have an impact on your horse. If you are feeling stressed and uneasy, your horse will be able to sense this, so try and remain calm.
Be aware of your own safety, a spooked horse can be dangerous, be sure to avoid riding when you think fireworks might be set off.
If your horse is extremely nervous about the loud noises and bright lights, there are various methods you can try. There are CDs that allow you to introduce the sound of fireworks in a gradual and controlled manner, however, this will take time so would need to be introduced weeks before new years eve.
If you are still worried about your horse being spooked on the night you may want to speak to your vet about the options of calming products or sedation for the night.