This time of year can bring lots of stress and worry for us with bangs and flashes sending our horses into a state of fear and distress. Even the calmest horse may be put out by the unusual noises or smells of a bonfire. It seems like it can be never ending with displays and fireworks every single night for a matter of weeks, and we have it all to come again at new year as well. So what can you can to help minimise potential stress and injuries to your horse?
- Find out the date and time of any local events, meaning you can focus your efforts around then and monitor your horse between the start and finish time. If you can find the details of the organisers you could also contact them to ask them to be mindful of horses in the area to allow them to be considerate about the direction of fireworks, or even a friendly note to neighbours asking them to let you know if they are planning on their own celebrations.
- Maintaining as normal a routine as possible with give your horse the best chance of coping with any stress. This may be keeping them with companions or keeping them indoors. Get them used to bringing in before it is dark to reduce the chance of this upsetting them when fireworks are due. If they are used to living out and the field is secure and away from any displays this will probably be the best option.
- Consider keeping a light and a radio on during the early evening when fireworks are likely to be going off to dull out any sudden bangs and flashes. Classic FM is a favourite in our horse's stables!
- Ensure your horse's environment is secure, check fencing and gates daily around this time of year and ensure there is nothing in the field or stable they can injure themselves on if they spook suddenly.
- Organising a rota on a livery yard may be useful for checks during the evening to monitor the horses. If you are checking them at an unusual time make sure you remain calm your self to comfort the horses.
- Make sure your insurance is up to date, including vets fees and third party liability. If the worst was to happen you may need to rely on a good insurance policy.
- After the event check your horse to make sure they haven't sustained any injuries. Check thoroughly for small wounds or wounds underneath rugs. Check for any lameness and monitor faecal output in stables to allow you to detect any early warning signs of colic. It is also worth checking your field again for any debris or firework damage.
- If you have serious concerns about keeping your horse calm throughout the season please do give us a call to discuss this further, we are happy to give professional advice on a case by case basis.