We can’t believe it is that time of year again already, you know the one…‘remember, remember the fifth of November’ but it is also important to consider the couple of weeks either side that now seem to fall under ‘Bonfire Night’ as well. This can be a stressful time for horses and ponies so being prepared and providing your horse with plenty of distraction can really help.
Our top tips for helping your horse cope with this time of year are:
- Look to see if there are any displays happening in your area. This will not only give you an idea of which nights to prepare for but you may also be able to contact event organisers and let them know there are horses nearby so they can site the display accordingly.
- Whether your horses are turned out or stabled ensure there is nothing that could cause injury should they become distressed, remember a well-placed hoof may well become caught if a haynet is hanging too low.
- If your horses are turned out ensure that fencing is in good repair and there are no gaps in hedges where an escape could be made.
- On the run up to the night of a display keep your horse’s normal routine and keep their environment as usual as possible.
- If you know your horse will be particularly reactive to noise try to stay with them during the display (but not directly in the field or stable!). Playing music can aid in muffling any sudden noises.
- If you do need to handle your horse for any reason ensure that you take the proper safety precautions, even the most placid horse may take fright and you do not want to be on the wrong end of a spook!
- Break out the boredom busters! Providing a snack ball with some High Fibre Nuts or EquiBites in will aid in providing a distraction by keeping your horse busy. You can also try hanging root vegetables such as swede or turnips from the stable ceiling to keep your horse amused!
- Provide your horse with a yummy bucket feed as a distraction. Dodson & Horrell Winter Mash works perfectly, providing a warming meal with mint and fennel to stimulate appetite and keep them occupied.
- Ensure your horse has plenty of forage available to chew through as required. Remember they require at least 2% of their bodyweight per day in forage.
- Keep your Vet’s details handy
- Never ride if you suspect a display may be taking place
- Remember to patrol your horse’s field in the morning in case any firework fragments have found their way in.