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 has issued the following advice for owners:
Fireworks must not be set off near horses, or livestock, 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.
While it is important for horse owners to ensure the well-being of their animals, everyone has a responsibility to use fireworks safely.
Sheila Hardy, Head of Equestrian Safety, says: “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.
“We welcome the advice given by The Department of Communities and Local Government in their latest report, ‘A Community Guide to Organising Bonfires and Fireworks’. This timely document should help everyone keep safe around fireworks.
“By being proactive in planning for fireworks and Bonfire Night, you can make the annual celebrations less stressful for you and your horse.”
The British Horse Society produces a range of literature on Firework Safety, including a leaflet and posters. Find information on this at our dedicated safety site, horseaccidents.org.uk, where you can also report any safety incident you experience.