As Independence Day approaches, a certain golden palomino comes to my mind. For years, this gelding has frequented my barn most summers over the 4th of July holiday. Like most horses, this gelding is especially afraid of fireworks, but he had the unfortunate disadvantage of living in an area where fireworks were set unusually close to his pasture. This would set him off into uncontrollable fear, running recklessly around his pasture. For his safety, his owner would remove him temporarily during the fireworks. If you live in an area where fireworks are prevalent, I implore you to take steps to ensure the safety of your horse!
- First, decide if your horse’s living arrangement is safe in the event they become scared. If possible, keep them in the area they are used to living in. However, if they are easily flighty and run the risk of running through a fence, consider stabling them somewhere safe for the night.
- Check your horse’s stall or pasture for any sharp objects that could cause injury. Protruding nails, loose boards, or sharp corners can cause serious injuries if a horse is running wildly.
- Try to keep your horse’s routine as familiar as possible. Human schedules tend to change on holidays, but it’s important to continue on your horse’s normal schedule so you don’t add to their stress level.
- Provide your horse with adequate hay to keep them busy.
- Remember, a startled horse can be a dangerous horse. End your riding well before fireworks might start.
- If you know your neighbors will be setting-off fireworks, speak to them beforehand. Inform them that they’re are horses nearby, and ask them politely to set them off in the opposite direction in the very least. Fireworks are not only a hazard to livestock, but can easily start fires in dry conditions.
- In extreme cases, call your veterinarian for assistance. They might recommend a mild sedation for your horse.
As a horse owner, it’s your responsibility to do all you can to ensure your companion’s safety. Enjoy with holiday stress-free, knowing that your horse is safe and secure during any fireworks.