Fireworks Season: How to keep equines and their owners, happy and safe

This can be a stressful time of year for many households with animals, including families with equines. Why? Because of the many firework displays (public and household) taking place across the UK and the noise and lights they create. We all want to take time to celebrate during this time of year, so how can we do this, without putting equines and their owners, at risk?

All horses, ponies, donkeys and mules are flight animals which means they can be easily scared by the loud noises and bright lights of fireworks, as a result, they can easily injure themselves or someone else when panicked.

Whether you’re an equine owner or an organiser of a local firework display, there are a few things that are worth considering…

For Equine Owners:
These are our top tips for keeping your equine safe throughout the firework season:

1) All equines thrive off routine and any change can lead to them becoming anxious and unsettled. By providing a safe, secure environment and keeping to the same management routine, this can help reassure your equine during this period.

2) If your equine is being stabled, it can be a good idea to leave the lights on and play the radio to help drown out the effects of the fireworks. This routine should be introduced in advanced and radio licensing laws will need to be considered by commercial yards or businesses.

3) Consider what you’d do in the event of:

a. Fire – have you thought about evacuation plans?
b. Escape – if your horse escapes, contact the Police and obtain an incident number. Do you have a recent photo and identification details to share if needed?
c. Injury – have you got first aid materials nearby? Are your emergency vet contact details close to hand?
d. Accident/damage – third party and liability insurance will protect you should your equine cause an accident or damage to property of others.

4) Check locally for scheduled displays and contact the organisers to see if the displays can be directed away from the equine environment, they’ll also be able to advise of the timetable so you know when to be on alert.

5) If you know your equine is exceptionally sensitive to fireworks and associated stress, contact your vet regarding different sedative options that might be suitable.

Planning a firework display?
This can be a stressful time for horses and their owners so here are a few things to consider:

1) Clear advertising and letting local horse owners know when the displays are scheduled can help owners make plans suitable for their animals.

2) Think about directing the displays away from known equine homes, this can not only reduce the impact of the noise and light pollution, but also avoid the used remains of the fireworks ending up in a field which could cause injury.

How can everyone help?

1) If you are planning your own display?

a. Let any local equine owners know what day and time you are hoping to hold your display, so they can make preparations to settle their equines.

2) What to do if you come across a panicked equine due to the fireworks:

a. We advise not approaching a distressed horse, they can be unpredictable and could cause an accident or injuries.
b. Wherever possible contact the owner and allow them to manage the situation.
c. If an equine has escaped and is loose on the road – contact the Police for assistance.