Horse Safety Around Firework Displays

Fourth of July firework displays are exciting for many of us humans but our horsey friends, more often than not, find this completely terrifying. Here’s a couple tips to help lower your horses stress level while us Americans celebrate our Independence Day.

Acepromazine can be prescribed by your vet in either an injectable or oral form. Acepromazine, or Ace for short, is usually given 30 minutes in advance of its use and can offer a mild sedative effective. Waiting until your horse is already panicked to Ace them will likely have little to no effect. Plan ahead.

There are many herbal supplements available that contain valerian or magnesium to offer some calming effects. Most herbal remedies require a build-up “loading” time so it’s best to start them a few days in advance. If you’re showing this season, do check to make certain you’re not administering a product which might include a prohibited substance for your discipline.

Being inside the stable potentially can reduce the noice impact on your horse. If your horse is used to being stabled then this might an option. It’s definitely not a good idea to take a horse unaccustomed to stable life inside just for the 4th of July. Since horses are herd animals always use the buddy system and don’t separate them from their herd. It is always a good rule of thumb to check your stalls weekly for any sharp objects like loose nails and definitely before the fireworks display.

Calming classical music on the barn radio at a moderate volume can help filter out the booming fireworks. Some horses can even tolerate ear plugs to help reduce the loud noises while others it actually makes them more nervous. Again, plan ahead.

Most situations, training or otherwise, with your horse… practice makes perfect to test out options prior to the night of the 4th and be prepared to help keep your horse safe and as low stress as possible. Happy 4th of July!

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