Beat the bangs on Bonfire Night

  • Reports of horses being injured as a result of fireworks around this time of year are commonplace, and this year will doubtless be no exception.

    In one recent case, teenagers playing with fireworks are believed to have caused a fire at stables in Bury, Lancashire. One horse caught in the blaze had to be put down as a result of his injuries.

    Horses injuring themselves, either while in their stables or fields, are also the norm, with the sound of fireworks often blamed for causing the horses to panic.

    The good news is that rules, which came into force in January, have tightened controls over fireworks. It is now illegal to let off fireworks after 11pm — midnight on 5 November — and under-18s are not allowed to have fireworks in a public place. The noise limit of fireworks available to the public has been dropped, while the most powerful fireworks are limited to professional displays only.

    However, members of the public are still allowed to have private displays on their own land, so it is worth being proactive to ensure the night is as stress-free as possible for you and your horse.

    BHS advice for bonfire night

    • Look at local press and shop notice boards and listen to the radio to find out where public displays will be in your area
    • Decide whether to stable your horse or leave it in the field, depending on where it is likely to feel more settled
    • It is often best to keep the horse in its normal routine so as not to stress the horse unnecessarily
    • If you know your animal will be stressed, talk to your vet about sedation or perhaps consider moving your horse for the night
    • If stabled, check thoroughly for anything that could cause potential injury such as protruding nails and string
    • Leaving the stable lights on and a radio playing can help keep a horse relaxed
    • If your horse is to stay in the field, check that fencing is secure and that there are no foreign objects lying around
    • Make sure you know the emergency fire procedure in place just in case. If you need advice, talk to your local fire safety officer.
    • Ensure that you have adequate third party liability insurance. If your horse is frightened and escapes, causing an accident, then you could be held liable for compensation

    If you have any other tips to help make Bonfire Night a stress-free experience, why not share them in our Stable Yard forum >>

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