Bonfire night is often a touchy subject in the country as the fireworks can scare animals and pose a fire risk to farms and stables. However, even as a horse owner, I love bonfire night and do not think fireworks should be banned. Not when there are other things to try such as silent fireworks and educating the general public.
Animals aren’t always bothered!
There is no denying that fireworks cause a huge amount of stress to some animals. But some animals aren’t bothered at all!
My Border Collie who flees at the sound of gun shots, Christmas crackers and sometimes even the sound of opening a can of drink, doesn’t actually mind fireworks. In fact she has spent most of the weekend snoozing through them.
Similarly Scottie (and all the other horses on our yard) isn’t exactly bothered either! When the first firework goes off he tends t rush to pop his head out the stable to see what is going on. But after that he is okay. He has been both stabled and in the field during firework displays and he has always been fine. Yes he tends to be a tad anxious, but I never feel like I have to worry about him injuring himself. (At least no more than usual!)
Management is Key
Even if your horse is likely to get upset by fireworks, I think there are plenty of steps you can take to keep your horse safe.
- Stick to their routine
Horses love routine. So try and stick to their routine when you are expecting fireworks. This means that if your horse comes in at night, bring them in. Or if they live out, keep them out.
- Stay with them
If you are really that worried about them, they with them. Your presence may well help calm them down and you can act if they do get themselves into a pickle.
- Consider Calmers or Sedation
There are also plenty of calmers on the market to help keep your horse relaxed. I am currently reviewing a Survival Kit from Pet Remedy designed with fireworks in mind. But always try sedation if you are particularly worried or have a big display going on near you.
- Talk to your neighbours
Very few people want to intentionally upset and scare animals. If you politely ask your neighbours to let you know if they are planning to let fireworks off so you can make arrangements for your horse. You could also ask if they can aim the fireworks away from the horses. Most will be more than happy to oblige!