How to Keep Your Horse Safe During Fourth of July and Holiday Fireworks
Fireworks are a common sight during the Fourth of July and other holidays, but they can be stressful and scary for horses. Loud noises, bright flashes, and unfamiliar smells can trigger anxiety, panic, and even injury in some horses. Here are 10 ways to help keep your horse safe and calm during fireworks season and put your mind at ease so you can enjoy the season.
1.Check your local fireworks schedule. Find out when and where fireworks will be happening in your area, and plan accordingly. Avoid riding or transporting your horse during those times, and make sure your horse is in a secure and comfortable place well before the fireworks start.
2. Provide a familiar and comfortable environment. If possible, keep your horse in their usual stall or pasture, where they feels safe and at home. Make sure the area is well-fenced, well-lit, and free of any hazards that could injure your horse if they spook. Horses are herd animals and feel more secure when they have other horses or animals around them. If possible, keep your horse with their usual buddies. Provide plenty of fresh water, hay, and bedding, and check on your horse regularly.
3. Take or have handy current photos of your horse. Take photos from the front, back, and sides of your horse, as well as any markings or distinguishing features. Having up to date photos can be crucial in the event you need to search for your horse or identify them.
4. Check your fencing. Before the fireworks begin be sure to walk your fence line to ensure the perimeter is intact and there aren't any broken branches, exposed nails, or other hazardous conditions. If your horse is staying inside, check for holes, wall damage, loose nails, or anything else your horse may get caught on.
5. ID your horse (and other pets!). Another option that is simple and cost-effective is to put a breakaway halter on your horse that has your contact information attached. You can order engraved plates or use duct tape and a sharpie. Attach your information in a way that won't fall off or be damaged by water. A more permanent option is to have a GPS microchip implanted.
6. Get advice from a professional you trust. Your vet, trainer, or barn owner can provide insight into what has worked for them in the past, and what additional measures may help you and your horse. If you can't monitor your horse yourself during the fireworks, having a trusted professional check on them and provide updates if necessary can put your mind at ease.
7. Avoid sedatives unless prescribed by a veterinarian. Sedatives can have serious side effects and risks for horses, especially if they are not used correctly or in the right dosage. They can also impair your horse's ability to balance and react to danger. Therefore, only use sedatives if they are prescribed by a veterinarian who knows your horse's health history and condition. Ear plugs are a safe and cost-effective option to reduce noise for a sensitive horse.
8. Monitor your horse's behavior and health. Keep an eye on your horse's body language and vital signs during and after the fireworks. Look for signs of stress, such as sweating, trembling, pawing, pacing, snorting, or neighing. Also check for signs of injury, such as cuts, bruises, lameness, or colic. If you notice any abnormal or concerning signs, contact your veterinarian immediately. It is always a good idea to know your horse's base vital signs like temperature, pulse, and respiration rate.
9. Keep your cool. Horses can sense your emotions and mood, so try to stay calm and confident yourself when dealing with fireworks. Avoid yelling, scolding, or punishing your horse if they acts out of fear or anxiety. Instead, speak softly, praise generously, and reward positively. Your horse will look to you for guidance and reassurance, so be a good leader and a good friend.
10. Prepare for emergencies. Despite your best efforts, accidents can still happen. It's critical to be prepared for in case your horse gets injured or escapes, especially during any fireworks event. Have a first aid kit ready with bandages, antiseptics, painkillers, and other essentials. Have a phone charged and handy with the numbers of your veterinarian, farrier, and local animal control saved. Have a halter and lead rope ready in case you need to catch or move your horse.
Fireworks are meant to be enjoyed and indicate a time of celebration! We hope these tips will help keep you and your horse safe and happy during fireworks season. If you need any supplies or advice for your horse care needs,
visit us at MarylandSaddlery.com or stop by one of our locations today!