by American Stalls May 29, 2019
As Independence Day approaches, equestrians and caretakers must be proactive in protecting their horses from the potential stresses and dangers associated with fireworks and other festivities. Loud noises and sudden flashes of light can trigger anxiety and panic in horses. These festivities possess legitimate risks to their well-being. In this post, we share some essential tips to help keep your horses safe, calm, and comfortable during the 4th of July celebrations.
1) Stay Aware of Events in Your Area and Communicate with Neighbors
Be aware of scheduled firework displays in your local area and neighborhood. Some areas will have firework displays that last 45 minutes while some will have displays lasting hours. Communicate with your neighbors, city officials, and other individuals to account for the uptick in noise and fireworks.
2) Muffle the Sound of Fireworks with Static Noise
Static noise or white noise is a great way to combat the loud noises produced by fireworks. We suggest turning up barn fans, radios, or even purchasing white noise machines. These little hacks help drown out some of the noise produced by loud fireworks and nearby gatherings. Lastly, you can further reduce visual and auditory stimulation by closing horse stall doors, barn windows, and barn end doors
3) Keep Horses Inside or Sheltered to Avoid Spooking and Runaways
This may seem obvious, but we suggest providing your horse with shelter away from the overhead crackling of fireworks. This means sheltering your horse in a run-in or secure horse stall. We also recommend providing plentiful hay to muffle the outside noise - while also providing a distraction in the form of food (chewing naturally helps with relaxation).
Additionally, we recommend to prioritize the safety of your horses by ensuring their pasture areas are securely fenced and free from potential escape routes. This is an opportunity to evaluate the integrity of fences and gates to minimize the risk of horses getting spooked and attempting to flee.
4) Know Your Horse & Be Present
This is perhaps the most important thing when approaching 4th of July Festivities. Some horses are more sensitive to firework displays than others. Know your horse's tendencies, behaviors, and habits to accordingly plan for the holiday festivities. These holidays are a great time to spend time with your horses during the fireworks display to offer comfort and reassurance. You can speak to them in a calm and soothing tone. Provide physical contact if your horse finds it comforting. This presence and support can help alleviate their anxiety and promote a sense of security.
By implementing these precautionary measures, you can successfully minimize the stress and potential risks that the 4th of July celebrations may pose to your horses. We encourage you to stay vigilant and prioritize the safety of your equine friends. By creating a calm and safe environment, offering reassurance, and being prepared, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable Independence Day for both you and your horses. We wish you a very Happy 4th of July in advance!