Prepare for Bonfire Night

  • While most people are out about enjoying the fireworks on the 5 November, for horse owners it can be one of the most stressful nights of the year.

    Every year Horse & Hound receives reports of horses injuring themselves while terrified by the loud noises and unusual sights, so what can owners do to try to protect their animals?

    The Horse Trust suggests that planning ahead is key and offers the following advice.

    1. Find out about your local displays

    Find out when firework displays are being held in your area so you can be at the stables or field to check your horses are ok. If possible, speak to organisers of local events so they know horses are kept nearby; they may be able to set fireworks off directed away from your field or stable. If you know your horse gets particularly distressed, stay with him until after the fireworks have finished to check that he has settled back down and hasn’t injured himself.

    2. Keep to your normal routine

    Sticking to your horse’s usual routine will help minimise stress. If your horse is normally stabled overnight, he is likely to find that less stressful, while if he is used to being out and is suddenly confined to a strange stable, that could cause his stress levels to rise.

    3. Check his environment

    If stabling your horse, check there are no sharp objects that he could injure himself on along the walls or door if he rushes around the box in fright. If leaving your horse in a field, check the fencing is secure and remove any objects that could cause injury. Some horses cope with fireworks better if they are left out in the field, with their companions, possibly because they do not feel trapped/confined.

    4. Consider sedation

    If you know your horse gets particularly distressed by fireworks, speak to your vet about the possibility of having the horse sedated. Make sure you speak to your vet in advance of the event so that you have time to make the necessary arrangements.

    5. After the event

    On Saturday morning check your paddocks and stables for firework debris. If there has been a local display you could find the remains in your field which could cause injury to your horse.

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