Horses and Fireworks – How to Keep Your Horse Calm On Bonfire Night
Whilst many of us look forward to watching a firework display it can be a different story for our equine friends. Horses and fireworks don’t always mix well and they can be frightened by the smell of burning in the air, the loud bangs and whizzing noises from fireworks.
Follow our 11 ‘horses and fireworks’ tips below to help keep your horse feeling calm and safe on bonfire night.
- Check with neighbours and your local council to see when there will be firework displays in your area so that you are prepared. Let them know that there are horses nearby.
- Keep your horse in a familiar area – horses like routine so where possible try and keep them in an environment that they are used to, such as their normal field or stable with their usual friends. This will help them to feel at ease. If they are usually stabled at night keep them in, if they are usually turned out it is best to keep them out unless you have a fireworks display nearby. Check that their fields or stables are safe and secure with no damaged fencing or anything that they could injure themselves on.
- Make sure they have other horses that they are used to nearby – horses are herd animals so naturally feel more relaxed in company.
- Try playing music – if you horse is stabled and used to you having the radio on whilst you muck out you could try playing music on the evening of the firework display.
- You could also leave a light on in their stable to reduce the flashes of light from the fireworks.
- Use toys or treat balls to keep them occupied.
- Ensure they have food – make sure they have plenty of forage to eat.
- Try and keep calm yourself – our horses pick up on our emotions and behaviour.
- Check on them regularly.
- If you get concerned by your horse’s behaviour consult your vet.
- Stay safe and don’t put yourself at risk – remember frightened horses can be unpredictable. Try to get out of the way if they become stressed or startled.
FAB Firework Campaign
One effort to help protect our horses, other animals and vulnerable people from the distress fireworks can cause is the FAB Firework Campaign. Julie Doorne from FAB shared more about the initiative with us.
“The unexpected noise & visuals of fireworks can cause distress and anxiety to vulnerable people and animals. We are asking the government to take seriously the problem that many people have with fireworks and limit their sale to licensed displays only. This is particularly significant this year due to Covid-19 and an expected increase in the number small private displays” Julie Doorne, FAB Firework Campaign.
You can find out more about the campaign on the FAB website and how to effectively report any incidents relating to fireworks and horses via the BHS website: https://fabfireworkcampaign.org/
You can view the petition here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/319891
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