July is here, and that means Independence Day is just around the corner. Although the Fourth of July is fun for humans—who doesn’t enjoy making the most of the beautiful summer weather with barbecues and other outdoor fun—the festivities we find so entertaining can prove terrifying for our pets. While brilliant display of fireworks in the night sky elicit “oohs” and “ahhs” from us, they can cause problems for horses who live near them. This year, take a few simple precautions for horse safety to ensure that the holiday weekend is worry-free for both you and your horse.
Put Them Inside
Experts recommend keeping house-trained pets indoors during loud festivities for safety reasons. Similarly, horses should be put in the barn if they’re usually put out to pasture on hot summer nights. Being inside creates a sense of security if things get crazy outside. Closing the barn doors will also shield them horses much of the noise associated with fireworks and the drunken revelry of your neighbors.
Check for Safety Hazards
Before it gets dark, check the barn for anything that could cause harm should your horse panic. This should be a routine part of horse care, but holes, broken boards, protruding nail heads and the like can cause extra harm should your horse panic. Take care of this stuff before it becomes a problem.
Pay Them a Visit
If you can, consider making a quick safety trip to the barn to ensure everything is okay. A treat and a few pats from a familiar person can go a long way toward soothing a stressed animal—not to mention ameliorating your own anxiety.
Give Them a Distraction
Give your horse something to do if you know they will be within earshot of fireworks. Even throwing them an extra flake or two will give them something to concentrate on besides loud noises. Natural supplements can also help calm hot-tempered horses. If you know your horse is going to have a really hard time, you can ask your vet about administering a sedative.
ID Your Horse
July 1 is national ID Your Pet Day, which should serve as a timely reminder to make sure your horse has some kind of identification prior to the Fourth. Many companies offer equine microchipping services. This is a good permanent method for identifying your horse should the worst happen—be it a drunk driver, a scared horse leaping a fence or anything else.
However, if you want something less permanent, temporary horse ID bands are a great option for quickly addressing this issue. Plus, you can use it for other occasions, such as trail riding. For last-minute identification, you can even make your own. Just make sure that it’s tight-fitting enough that it won’t easily get caught on anything (and quick-release in case it does).
Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!