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Home > Horses > How to Calm a Horse During 4th of July Fireworks: 8 Vet Approved Tips

How to Calm a Horse During 4th of July Fireworks: 8 Vet Approved Tips

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Dr. Lauren Demos

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If your horse startles at the sound of fireworks, you’re not alone. Many horses are spooked by the loud noise and bright lights of 4th of July celebrations. While it’s not possible to prevent all fireworks-related stress for your horse, there are a few things that you can do to help them stay calm during the holiday.

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How to Keep Horses Calm During 4th of July Fireworks

1. Be Prepared

Since the Fourth of July falls on the same day every year, you know ahead of time that fireworks are going to happen. If possible, talk to your neighbors, and find out if they are planning to set off fireworks. Explain the dangers of setting them off near horses, and ask them to set them off in a direction away from your herd. Knowing in advance where and when fireworks displays will happen enables you to prepare.

2. Keep Your Horse in Their Normal Environment

Your horse will be the calmest and most comfortable in their normal, everyday environment. If they are usually kept in the field, leave them there. If they are usually stabled, keep them stabled. Just take extra care to make sure the environment is safe and secure.

White horse eating hay in the stable
Image by: Konstantin Tronin, Shutterstock

3. Check for Potential Injuries

If your horse is kept in a stall, check it thoroughly for anything that has the potential to cause injury to your horse. Protruding nails, strings, or bale twine can cause grievous injuries if your horse panics and gets tangled.

4. Check Fencing

If your horse is kept in a field, double-check the fence. Make sure there aren’t any loose wires or posts that could pop loose easily and enable escape. Double-check your gates too. If your gates close with a chain latch, add a carabiner or lock for extra security. Panicked horses are quite capable of knowing how to open an unsecured gate to get out — they’re smart animals, and they’ve likely watched you open that gate many times.

Also, check for any foreign objects that may have blown into the field. Litter or other debris may pose further problems.

5. Consider Sedation

If your horse has a history of becoming stressed during fireworks and you’re concerned that they might injure themselves, consider talking to your vet. There are several calming supplements that they can advise you on, or they may recommend sedation in extreme cases.

woman taking care of a brown horse inside a stable
Image Credit: Barbara Olsen, Pexels

6. Play Music

Playing the radio in the background of the stable can drown out sudden noises. It also provides a soothing distraction for your horse.

7. Give Them Food

Hay, hay, and more hay! A horse that is focused on eating isn’t focused so much on other things going on around them. Keep them busy by putting hay in front of them all evening long (though not to the point of their overeating, of course).

8. Remain Calm Yourself

Stay with your horse if you know that fireworks are going to be set off, but remain calm. Your horse reads your moods and reactions and often mimics them. If you are stressed, chances are they will be too.

man comforting a horse in stable
Image by: michaeljung, shutterstock

9. Don’t Risk Riding

Safety should always be your number-one priority. Avoid riding your horse on the Fourth of July if you know that there could be celebrations happening. This avoids injury to both you and your horse.

10. Check Your Liability Insurance

If your horse becomes frightened and escapes, there is a risk of causing an accident or injury to someone else. In this case, you could be held liable for the accident, so make sure you have adequate insurance to cover anything that may happen.


Final Thoughts

Most horses can deal with fireworks displays without incident. The best thing to do is to keep them in their normal environment with their regular herd mates. There’s strength in numbers, and being with other horses helps horses stay calm. If your horse is prone to anxiety, distractions using these tips are your best bet. Keep safety as your top priority, and you and your horse should be able to ride out 4th of July celebrations without issues.

Featured Image Credit: Tamarah Ellen, Shutterstock

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