As horse and pet owners, the 5th of November is a date that we approach with trepidation. Fireworks and animals can be a difficult combination to manage however, as bonfire night approaches you can take steps to minimise the impact they have on your horse or pony.
Do your prep
Check out the dates, times and locations of local fireworks events
Remember that people use fireworks to mark other occasions such as New Year or a wedding, so watch out for public notices of other events. Most neighbours will be kind enough to alert you to displays if you explain early that they can spook horses. Consider stabling your horse if displays are local, however, if your horse is used to living out then he may be best kept in his normal field.
Keep to your routine
Sudden changes to routine can be stressful for a horse, so don’t unexpectedly bring him in if he usually lives out, start bringing him in a week or so ahead of the display to get him used to it. Bringing him in for a few hours covering either side of when the firework displays will be on is often enough. Keeping lights and the radio on along with a Horslyx to distract him can help, but make sure he is used to these changes.
The chances of a fire are low, but making sure you have fire extinguishers, sand and water nearby in case of one around the stables is a good idea regardless of the time of year. Making sure that everyone on site knows the drill in case of a fire should also be part of the plan.
On the night
Try to stay calm and hopefully your horse will too. If he does become upset, limit the risks to him by ensuring there are no items near him that could cause injury but keep yourself at a safe distance, out of harm’s way.
A Horslyx is a great distraction at any time so make sure he has a fresh one plus provide plenty of hay to keep him occupied, even if he is in a field. If stabled, a radio can help to mask the noise of the fireworks, but make sure that it is out of reach and get him used to the noise. If you are worried then check your horse regularly during the evening, staying with them may even have a calming effect. Remember, if he does get stressed, it’s important that you stay safe so you can help him once the fireworks are over.
The day after
Carry on daily checks
It’s best to carry on with your horse’s normal routine but remember to check thoroughly for any cuts or injuries.
Time for a field walk
Check your entire field including water troughs, hedges and trees for stray fireworks that may have landed overnight and could be an injury risk.
Stay safe everyone.