Bright lights, loud parties, and booming fireworks… these are the things that make up our Holiday season, and some of the things that we look forward to each year. But our four-legged equine partners may not feel the same. For them, the flashing lights and loud noises can pose a threat, resulting in a quite stressful evening. Here are some ways to help your horse stay more relaxed amidst the fireworks.
1. Keep Them Occupied
Distracting your horse from the fireworks is one of the first things to try. If their mind isn’t focused on the perceived “threat” they will be able to have a much more relaxed and even enjoyable evening. And what better distraction is there than food! Keep a heaping pile of good hay in front of them, even if they’re on pasture. They should be able to happily munch all evening long.
If your horse is stalled, you can even take this a step further by occupying them with some treats and toys. Likit treats are a delicious distraction that will redirect their attention away from the partying around them. This long-lasting treat is available in multiple flavors and different set-ups to challenge and entertain your horse.
The Kong Equine Luna Ring is another fun distraction you can load up with your horse’s favorite treats, including carrots, apples, and cubes. This toy lets you combine multiple flavors and treats for the ultimate distraction for your horse.
2. Drown out the Noise
By this, we don’t mean blast music so high that the thundering booms cannot be heard… No, that would likely be just as stress-inducing as the fireworks themselves. But music can help. Music is often playing throughout the day, whether at shows, through the barn speakers, or just in your back pocket as you muck stalls, and our horses become quite accustomed to it. Soothing sounds such as classical or country genres can help create a more relaxing environment and yes, drown out some of those booms, too.
If your horse is particularly spooked by loud noises, consider trying Ear Plugs. There are various options, such as the EquiFit SilentFit Ear Plugs or the ever-so-popular POMMS Premium Ear Plugs, to help block out startling sounds.
You can even take this further with Fenwick Equestrian Liquid Titanium Therapeutic Ear Plugs. These will block out the noise and additionally produce negative ions and Far Infrared Rays that penetrate the horse’s body. This stimulates blood flow and creates a healing, calming effect on the body.
3. Calmers for the Win
Calming supplements are an easy, natural way to help your horse manage anxiety or excitement. If your horse is particularly anxious or easily spooked, consider starting them on a daily calming supplement at least two weeks before the Holiday. This will allow plenty of time, depending on the supplement of choice, for it to reach its full potential.
Majesty’s Kalm+ Wafers are an easy-to-feed supplement in a tasty treat form that ensures the supplement gets fully consumed. The wafers contain Tryptophan, Vitamin B1, and other natural calming ingredients to help your horse experience less anxiety, stress, and fear.
Equi+Calm Paste from Equine Healthcare International is a great “night-before” option. This paste is a buffered, sugar-free amino acid formula specially designed to reduce adrenaline and increase endorphins. Furthermore, it offers protection for your horse’s sensitive stomach. This is especially helpful in stressful situations to avoid an upset stomach or even ulcers. With this calmer, you get benefits for both mind and body!
Perfect Prep Prime from Perfect Products is a good option for the day of, specifically 90 minutes before the party. This formula contains magnesium that helps stabilize your horse’s flight reflex and lasts up to 6 hours – just about perfect for the evening festivities.
4. For once, Leave the Lights On
It’s not often you’ll be inclined to leave the lights on in your barn after you’ve left because, well… bills. But if your horse is more reactive to the bright flashing lights than the echoing bangs that follow, consider leaving the lights on – just this once. It will help dull the bright flashes and not be such a shock when the sky lights up.
5. Comfort in You
Additionally, your horse may just find comfort in your company. If your horse is especially anxious around fireworks, consider staying in with them and just busy yourself around the barn like any other day. It will also keep your mind at ease, knowing they are safe and not putting themselves in a position to be injured by their frightened antics.
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Looking for tips for fireworks prep with your fluffier four-legged friends? Read our blog HERE for some tips to prep your pets for the fireworks.
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