AAEP posts on social media a few days before each holiday that typically involves fireworks. Here are some tips to keep equines safe during the booming festivities:

  • Be aware of scheduled firework displays in the area.
  • Communicate with neighbors if they are planning to use fireworks.
  • If horses are staying out, check paddocks or pastures for any hazards like rocks, branches or holes that could lead to injury if a horse starts to bolt.
  • Turn up the radio and the fans in the barn to drown out noise.
  • Leave the lights on to help lessen the effect of the bright flashes.
  • If you are really worried about your horse’s safety or are unsure, consult your veterinarian about options.

Additional horse management strategies for fireworks provided by the University of Illinois agriculture extension office include stabling horses in the safety of a barn or small paddock they are used to, keep horses busy with a later evening feeding or extra hay, put foam ear plugs in horses’ eats to muffle firework sounds, play music to mask loud bangs if horses usually listen to music, and be nearby to help your horse stay calm. 

University of Minnesota horse extension office also suggests keeping a horse’s routine consistent as much as possible. Sometimes moving the horse to a different location or separating them from the herd can cause just as much fear. Typically, if you do move the horse, do so at least a week prior for the horse to acclimate to the new surroundings. UM’s Dr. Krishona Martinson recommends desensitizing a horse from loud noise over time in advance of fireworks holidays and suggests to horse owners not to comfort a horse by going inside a paddock or stall, as it is not safe if the horse becomes alarmed.

Return to the July 2 issue of Wire to Wire