The Fourth of July is an awesome time to celebrate our country’s freedom and independence. But for many of us who love horses, it can also be a stressful and challenging time. We all know how scary and loud the fireworks can be for our horses. They can make them nervous, anxious, or even panicked. Spooked horses are often dangerous and unpredictable, and that’s not good for their health or safety.
So how can we make the Fourth of July awesome for us and our horses? Here are some tips that can help you and your horses have a blast on the Fourth of July without any problems.
Have a Plan for the Fourth of July
The most important thing you can do to keep your horses safe and calm during the Fourth of July is to have a plan. Decide where you’ll keep your horses during the fireworks, whether it’s in their stalls, pasture, arena, etc…
Stall or Indoor Arena
The best option is to move your horses into the barn, preferably in a stall, but an indoor arena can work as well. The most important thing is that the place is secure, comfortable, and familiar for your horses. Check for any potential dangers, such as loose wires, nails, sharp objects, or holes that could hurt your horses if they panic.
You should also decide how you’ll watch your horses during the fireworks. You can stay with them yourself, ask a friend or neighbor to check on them every now and then or use a camera or phone app to watch them from afar.
You should also have an emergency kit ready in case something goes wrong. The kit should include things like bandages, gauze pads, antiseptic wipes, scissors, tweezers, a flashlight, and phone numbers of your vet and local animal control.
If you’re worried that your horses will be too nervous or scared during the fireworks or has a history of this. Talk to your vet about using sedatives or calming supplements. Some sedatives or supplements may have side effects such as sleepiness, poor coordination, or reduced alertness. They may also interact with other medicines or supplements your horses take.
Get Your Horses Ready for the Fireworks
One of the best ways to keep your horses calm during the fireworks is to get them ready in advance. If you can, expose your horses to loud noises and flashes of light before the Fourth of July, so they can get used to them and not freak out by them. You can use recordings of fireworks, thunderstorms, or gunshots, and play them at a low volume at first, then gradually make it louder over time. You can also use flashlights, strobe lights, or sparklers to make it look like fireworks. Give your horses treats and praise when they stay calm and relaxed.
The best option, if possible, is to take your horses to a place where they can see and hear the fireworks from far away but not too close to bother them. Do this a few times before the Fourth of July, and make sure your horses have plenty of hay, water, and friends. You can also talk to them, pet them, or play some soothing music to keep them calm.
Whatever method you choose, be sure to stop immediately if your horse gets overly spooked, is in noticeable distress, or risks becoming a danger to itself or others.
Keep Your Horses Safe from Diseases
The Fourth of July is also a time when a lot of people travel with their pets or have guests who bring their pets along. This can increase the chance of spreading diseases among animals, especially if they’re not vaccinated or dewormed. Some of the common diseases that can affect horses are equine influenza, strangles, equine herpesvirus, rabies, tetanus, and West Nile virus.
To keep your horses safe from these diseases, make sure they’re up to date on their shots and worming schedules. If you have guests who bring their pets, it’s best to simply keep them away from your horses and their pasture. If you travel with your horses, make sure they have a health certificate and a negative Coggins test.
Keep Your Horses Cool and Hydrated
The Fourth of July is usually a hot and humid day in many parts of the country. This can make your horses feel hot and thirsty, especially if they work hard or sweat a lot. Heat stress can cause symptoms such as panting, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, tiredness, muscle tremors, colic, or collapse.
To prevent heat stress and dehydration in your horses, ensure they always have access to clean and fresh water. You can also add electrolytes to their water or feed to help them replace their minerals and salts. You should also provide them with shade and ventilation in their stalls or pasture. Avoid riding or exercising your horses during the hottest hours of the day, and cool them down slowly after work. You can use fans, misters, or hoses to spray water on their bodies, but don’t spray their heads or faces.
Have Fun with Your Horses on the Fourth of July
The Fourth of July can be a fun and festive time for you and your horses as long as you take some precautions and plan ahead. By following these tips, you can make sure that your horses are safe, calm, and healthy during the holiday. You can also enjoy the fireworks without worrying about your horses or join them in their safe place and watch the show together. Happy Independence Day! 🎆🎇