Keep Your Horse Safe When 4th of July Fireworks Go Off

Colorful display of 4th of July fireworks.
Colorful display of 4th of July fireworks. yb Woodstock

Newsdate: Tuesday, June 30, 2020 - 11:30 am
Location: GILROY, California

With the 4th of July just days away, horse owners who live in areas close to where fire works may be set off, need to make preparations to make sure both horses and people will be safe. As prey animals, horses naturally react to unusual noise or movement. The louder the noise or the faster the movement, the more the horse will react.

4th of July Fireworks display.

4th of July Fireworks display

When the noise of fireworks is sudden and loud, the consequences for a horse can be catastrophic.
© 2007 by David Joyce New window.

Loud, crackling or banging fireworks are a particular threat to the emotional welfare of a horse. When the noise is very sudden and extremely loud, the consequences can be catastrophic. The sight and sounds of fireworks can send a horse into flight mode, making it impossible to calm it down easily. A panicking horse can easily endanger its own life and the lives of people as well as other animals in the vicinity.

For many horse owners, simply securing their horses in the barn or stall, giving them some hay to munch on, and turning on a radio to block out at least some of the noise of fireworks is enough for the horse to have a calm evening.

Here are some tips to prepare for evenings around the 4th of July when fireworks can be expected:

  • Keep your horse's regular routine.
  • Give your horse plenty of hay to keep him occupied.
  • Make sure the area where the horse is kept is secure by checking stalls, doors, fencing or other enclosures .
  • If possible don't leave stalled horses alone if fireworks are going off in his vicinity.
  • Do not tie your horse.  He could rear back in a panic and injure himself.
  • Don't take the risk of riding your horse when and where fireworks may be set off.
  • If your horse is of an extremely nervous type, ask your vet in advance for a tranquilizer such as Acepromazine.  One dose typically lasts for two or more hours.
  • If possible, stay near your horse if you are unsure how he will react to fireworks noise. Your presence should have a calming effect. Even if horses seem relaxed, check them throughout the evening.
  • Sometimes cotton wool in the horses' ears or ear covers may make a difference
  • Although it's too late for this year, programs that desensitize a horse to loud noise, sudden movement and other fearful experiences are available.

Knowing your horse is safe and relaxed with help you enjoy your holiday celebrations!

Updated article originally published by - June 2012

About the Author

Flossie Sellers

Author picture

As an animal lover since childhood, Flossie was delighted when Mark, the CEO and developer of EquiMed asked her to join his team of contributors.

She enrolled in My Horse University at Michigan State and completed a number of courses in everything related to horse health, nutrition, diseases and conditions, medications, hoof and dental care, barn safety, and first aid.

Staying  up-to-date on the latest developments in horse care and equine health is now a habit, and she enjoys sharing a wealth of information with horse owners everywhere..