MAN­AG­ING FIRE­WORKS ANX­I­ETY

EQUUS - - Eq Handson - By Chris­tine Barakat with Melinda Freck­le­ton, DVM

As much fun as a Fourth of July cel­e­bra­tion can be for peo­ple, it’s a terrifying hol­i­day for some horses. Those who are skit­tish---and par­tic­u­larly noise averse---may be­come un­nerved if hol­i­day fire­works are set off nearby.

If you’re wor­ried about how your horse will re­act, take some pre­cau­tions to keep ev­ery­one safe. Put him in a place that is fa­mil­iar and se­cure---his stall or per­haps a small pad­dock. If you opt for a pad­dock or pas­ture, check the en­tire fence line and latches for ar­eas of po­ten­tial fail­ure. A pan­icked horse bolt­ing through a de­vel­oped area on a dark sum­mer night can lead to tragedy.

If your horse is ac­cus­tomed to hav­ing mu­sic play­ing, con­sider plac­ing a ra­dio nearby turned up to high vol­ume. Or, if your horse is al­ready used to wear­ing earplugs, this is a good time to get them out.

For ex­tremely re­ac­tive horses, se­da­tion may be an op­tion. Ask your vet­eri­nar­ian whether seda­tives might be ap­pro­pri­ate, but keep in mind that they would have to be timed to the fire­works dis­play and you’d need to watch your horse care­fully.

Another al­ter­na­tive, if your barn is close to a lot of fire­works, is to move your ner­vous horse to a qui­eter farm for the hol­i­day.

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