My neighbors host a 4th of July party every year with large fireworks. The fireworks spook and scare my horses. What can I do to help calm my horses?
Fireworks can certainly cause panic in most horses (and dogs and cats), especially if displayed nearby. Here are a few tips to keep your horses calm:
- Keep your routine as consistent as possible. Sometimes moving the horses to a different location or separating them from the herd can cause just as much fear.
- If you plan to move your horses to a different location (or inside the barn), give them about a week to acclimate to the new surroundings.
- Check your paddock or stalls for possible issues, including uneven ground, sharp edges and broken boards. Try and limit potential injuries.
- If your horse is housed inside, try playing smoothing music to drown out the noise from fireworks.
- Try using a slow-feeder to divert the horses attention.
- Some horses will tolerate ear plugs that can help reduce noise.
- Do not try to comfort your horse during the fireworks. It will be safer for you and your horse if you are not inside the paddock or stall.
- Start desensitizing your horse to loud noises. It might not help for this year, but may help in the future.
- If necessary, talk to your veterinarian about the possibility of a sedative or a herbal supplement. Keep in mind some of these products may be prohibited at some shows.
For more information visit the University of Minnesota Horse Extension website.