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Fireworks, Bonfires and Horses

Bonfires, fireworks and smoke frighten horses and ponies

Fireworks, bonfires, smoke and sudden loud noises do not mix well with horses and ponies – or other animals. Large organised fireworks displays and bonfire parties are almost upon us again for Guy Fawkes night and the Diwali Festival of Lights which is traditionally accompanied by colourful lanterns and fireworks. For those us with animals, bonfires and fireworks are a serious cause for concern and at this time of year horses and ponies may benefit from some help to keep calm.

Animals are easily frightened by fire, smoke, bangs and bright lights

The arrival of the Fifth of November means the night sky will soon be illuminated with vivid colours and pyrotechnics. The fire, acrid smoke, bangs and bright flashes all cause stress to horses and ponies as well as to other animals. Helpful tips to reduce stress in your horse or pony during the bonfires and fireworks this autumn include:

  • Check with neighbours when they are planning their fireworks and bonfires
  • Maintain a steady, regular routine for your horse or pony
  • Make sure that wherever you keep your horse is safe from stray fireworks or bonfire embers
  • Have the yard arrange a rota to keep a watch during the evenings when bonfires are lit nearby
  • Consider leaving the yard lights on overnight
  • Keep the number of your vet posted clearly on the stable door

Dr Susanna Ballinger, clinical director at Ballinger Equine says:

“Horses really don’t like the smell and sounds of burning and the bangs and flashes of fireworks, all of which can cause agitation, distress and even fear.”

“It isn’t surprising that 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.”

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 equestrian sporting competitors, the good news is that the entire Ballinger Equine branded range of supplements is guaranteed free of naturally occurring prohibited substances.