Now that COVID-19 restrictions are easing, large organised fireworks displays and bonfire parties are likely to return this November. The Diwali Festival of Lights takes place on 4 November this year and will be accompanied by colourful lanterns and fireworks. Bonfires and fireworks remain a perennial and serious cause for concern for those of us with animals. In circumstances such as these, horses and ponies may benefit from some help to keep calm.
Bonfires, bangs and fireworks frighten horses
Make a note of the following dates when fireworks may be an issue for your horse or pony:
- Guy Fawkes – 5 November 2021
- Diwali – 4 November 2021
- New Year’s Eve – 31 December 2021
- Chinese New Year – 1 February 2022
Fireworks seem to last for weeks either side of the official dates, and the fire, acrid smoke, bangs and bright flashes all cause stress to horses and ponies as well as to our other pets. Some sensible tips to help manage your horse or pony during the bonfires and fireworks this autumn include:
- Checking with neighbours when they are planning having fireworks and bonfires
- Maintaining a steady, regular routine for your horse or pony
- Ensuring that wherever you keep your horse is safe from stray fireworks or bonfire embers
- Arrange a rota with friends to keep a watch on the yard during the evenings
- Consider leaving the yard lights on overnight
- Keep the number of your vet posted on the stable door
Dr Susanna Ballinger, clinical director at Ballinger Equine says:
“Horses are flight animals, so it is hardly surprising that the smell and sounds of burning and the bangs and flashes of fireworks can cause agitation, distress and even fear.”
“Inevitably, horses and ponies of a nervous disposition can become very stressed by fireworks. If you have a nervous horse and you know there will be fireworks and bonfires close to where your horse is kept, please don’t wait until 5 November. Contact your vet now and discuss the option of a prescribed medicine sedative. This may be administered prior to the onset of the stressor event to sedate your horse and prevent agitated behaviour.”
“Not all horses are frightened by fireworks 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.”
Help keep your horse calm and settled with Ballinger Equine Calm Assist
For those horses and ponies who are easily upset during such periods of stress, a high quality calmer fed in accordance with your vet’s instructions can be invaluable. Ballinger Equine’s own veterinary grade Calm Assist can be purchased without prescription directly from our online shop and is best fed in the days leading up to the anticipated stressful event.
Calm Assist comprises a veterinary formulated combination of magnesium, L-tryptophan and Saccharomyces cerevisiae, designed to be fed as a nutritional adjunct to help maintain normal nervous function in potentially anxious and stress-prone horses and ponies. It may be obtained directly via the Ballinger Equine online shop, 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.