Guy Fawkes night is almost here again and whilst many of us enjoy burning effigies of Guy Fawkes on huge fiery pyres to accompanying displays of colourful, noisy fireworks whilst eating a hotdog or burger, it is a sure bet that most of our horses and ponies find the evening’s proceedings tiresome if not downright alarming.
Horses, ponies and other animals are programmed to run from fire
Nervous horses and ponies are not going to appreciate fire, smoke and the bangs, flashes, colours and smells of fireworks. Some sensible tips to help manage your horse or pony during the evenings around bonfire night include:
- Checking whether there is a fireworks event close to where your horse is kept
- Continuing a steady normal routine for your horse
- Ensuring your field or stable is safe from stray falling fireworks or bonfire embers
- Arrange for a watch to be kept on the yard and horses during the evening
- Consider leaving the yard lights on overnight
- Keep the number of your vet posted on the stable door
Susanna Ballinger, veterinary director at Ballinger Equine says:
“Horses are flight animals, so we shouldn’t be surprised if they become nervous or agitated at the sounds and flashes of pyrotechnics and the smell of burning. In their natural state they would run away from such things.
“Inevitably some horses will become very stressed by fireworks. In such cases it is always wise to contact your vet and discuss the option of a prescribed medicine sedative. This will be best administered prior to the onset of the stressor event to sedate your horse and prevent agitated behaviour.
“Not all horses are frightened by fireworks. I know of some who actually seem to enjoy the show and most will not need anything at all. If in doubt talk to your vet and discuss what is best for your own horse or pony.”
Equine feed supplements – calmers
For horses and ponies of a nervous disposition a calmer fed in accordance with your vet’s instructions can be an invaluable aid. Ballinger Equine’s own veterinary grade Calm Assist can be purchased without prescription directly from our online pharmacy and is best fed in the days leading up to the anticipated stressful event.
Calm Assist is a nutraceutical and, with a veterinary formulated combination of magnesium, L-tryptophan and Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is designed to be fed as a nutritional adjunct to help maintain normal nervous function in potentially anxious and stress-prone horses and ponies. It is available for purchase directly via the Ballinger Equine online pharmacy, through a Ballinger Equine veterinary surgeon or by ‘phoning the Practice office on 01462 414008.
For competitors, the good news is that the entire Ballinger Equine branded range of supplements is guaranteed free of naturally occurring prohibited substances.