For many people, Bonfire Night is an enjoyable evening spent watching spectacular firework displays and warming themselves by a bonfire, but for horse owners it can be a time of concern and distress.
Fireworks can frighten even the most sensible horse, so all horse owners should be prepared for the firework season. The British Horse Society (BHS) has issued the following advice for owners:
- Fireworks must not be set off near livestock or horses in fields or stables
- It is best to keep your horse in its normal routine
- Risk assess your stable yard and plan to limit disturbance
- Ensure you find out if there are any displays planned nearby
- Warn local organisers, councils and schools that there are horses in the area
- Organise your plans in advance
- Remain calm and positive yourself as horses will sense your unease
- Keep your horse in a familiar environment
- Safety for everyone is the key – do not put yourself in danger.
The BHS also now has a Horses and Fireworks advice leaflet which gives some useful information regarding preparing your horses for firework season and managing them during it. This can be downloaded from horseaccidents.org.uk or printed copies are available from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Everyone can help
It is not just horse owners who need to be careful. People organising firework displays should inform local horse owners and it is also a good idea not to let off fireworks anywhere near fields or farms. Most people don’t realise how much suffering fireworks cause animals, particularly horses. Those who really want to have fireworks in their back garden should think carefully about how it will affect local pets and animals before they do so.
By being proactive in planning for fireworks and Bonfire Night, you can make the annual celebrations less stressful for you and your horse.