Tips on how to look after your horse on bonfire night
Posted on 01 November 2016 by Kim
Many people enjoy Bonfire Night but if you’re a horse owner, it can be quite a worrying time. Often displays occur the week before and the week after Bonfire Night itself. But ironically it’s not the bonfire that’s the problem, is it? It’s the fireworks. Just like a lot of domestic pets, horses are often upset by the sound and sight of fireworks.
So what can you do to alleviate some of the stress your horse might feel? It’s really important that you do as much as you can to help your horse through this stressful fortnight.
Here are seven tips for you.
Tip 1 - Know what's going on
Find out when the big local displays are going on in your area. These are usually advertised in locally in shops, papers, the radio or village noticeboards. Plus, check with surrounding neighbours what and when they’re planning a display. Let them know that there are horses nearby, so siting their displays accordingly or setting fireworks off in the opposite direction from the horses would be very much appreciated.
Tip 2 - Don't change anything
Try to keep your horse in his usual routine and environment as changing either of these around this time can be unsettling. If he lives out and there’s no fireworks in the adjacent fields, it may be better to leave him out rather than bring him in to a stable as this might prove stressful if he’s not used to it or it’s not part of his usual routine. As well as keeping them in their usual routine and environment, also keep him with his usual companions as being apart from these can be stressful too.
Tip 3 - But do some basic safety checks
Do check your field to ensure that all is safe and secure if he does start to gallop about.
Tip 4 - Diversion tactics!
Think about what you can do to distract your horse’s attention from the noise. Food is the most effective! Either give your horse plenty of hay to munch, get a lick, get a treat ball or anything else you can think of. Leaving a radio on nearby can reduce the loud bangs from the fireworks.
Tip 5 - Two's company
If you’re unsure how your horse will react, stay with him as your presence should calm him.
Tip 6 - Call in the experts
If you suspect or know that your horse reacts really badly and will injure himself, speak to your vet at the earliest opportunity as he may need to be sedated.
Tip 7 - Don't forget the morning after
And last but not least remember to check your field for firework debris in the daylight the day after the display.
It’s not uncommon for fireworks to be used to mark other occasions such as New Year or a wedding. So keep an eye out for these events and follow the tips above to eliminate or reduce your horse’s stress at other times of the year.
Do you have any tips on how you cope at this time of year? Tell us and we'll share them with other riders. Just enter your comments below!