University of Minnesota Addresses Horses and Fireworks

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firecrackers being lit

Here are tips on what to do when fireworks are near your horses.

Question 

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?

Response

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Check your paddock or stalls for possible issues, including uneven ground, sharp edges and broken boards. Try and limit potential injuries.
  4. If your horse is housed inside, try playing smoothing music to drown out the noise from fireworks.
  5. Try using a slow-feeder to divert the horses attention.
  6. Some horses will tolerate ear plugs that can help reduce noise.
  7. 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.
  8. Start desensitizing your horse to loud noises. It might not help for this year, but may help in the future.
  9. 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.