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How can I make bonfire night less stressful for my horse?

How can I make bonfire night less stressful for my horse?

This time of year can be exciting with bonfires and fireworks which are great fun for us, but not always so easy for our equine or pet friends. Horses and ponies thrive on routine and calm, consistent management. Sudden changes to that routine can cause stress and anxiety. However, with good management and appropriate targeted nutrition, we can help our horses cope with the unsettling nature of fireworks.

Preparation is KEY!

Whatever the celebration, if it’s happening near your horse then preparation is the key to success.

  • Check with neighbours, so you know their plans, and do explain your concerns as they may be able to reposition the fireworks away from your yard or field. If you are concerned about your horse, because of nearby fireworks, don’t forget that your vet is on hand for advice ahead of the event.
  • Horses work best in a routine, so try to stick to their usual management. If he normally lives out, leave him out, but double-check the field for safety and security. Try to ensure his usual companions are with him, as the safety of the herd will make them all feel more secure.
  • If your horse is usually stabled, try putting in a bit more bedding around the walls for protection, and double-check the stable for anything he could catch himself on if spooking. 
  • If stabled, consider a few days before acclimatising him to having the light left on, and music playing, as both of these will help minimise the impact of fireworks on the night. For either field or stable, it’s advised to keep them well supplied with ad-lib forage, to keep them occupied through the display.
  • Targeted nutrition can help you and your horse stay calm and focused whatever the challenge. The unique formulation of NAF Magic has been independently trialled with peer reviewed, published data demonstrating a calm, focused outlook from a synergistic blend to support concentration and learning, with no sedation.

NAF Instant Magic brings this unique formulation into a fast-acting, effective syringe, for use whenever your horse needs it most. NAF Five Star Instant Magic can be easily administered and should be fed 1 – 1.5 hours prior to when it is needed.

If you know that your horse will be really stressed out, you could also follow these top tips to take the stress out of bonfire night for both of you:

  • Rug your horse with a rug that will wick sweat away, but keep them warm, such as a fleece 
  • Give your horse plenty of hay to keep him occupied 
  • Giving your horse a treat lick, prefabily one that can be hung in the stable that will keep them interested and take their mind off noises outside. 
  • Leave a radio on playing music to help mask the noise and keep your horse calm. Getting your horse used to a radio before will really help 
  • If you are concerned that your horse may have an extreme reaction discuss this with your vet before the night as oral sedation might be appropriate or consider moving your horse for the night 
  • Make sure that someone experienced either stays with your horse or checks on them frequently during the evening. Make sure that emergency contact details are to hand 
  • It is important to stay calm yourself as horses will sense unease and this will make them more stressed 
  • Most importantly be aware of your own safety, a startled horse can be dangerous 
  • Likewise, make sure that you have adequate third party liability insurance, if your horse is scared and escapes causing an accident, you will be responsible for any compensation 
  • Check fields the following morning for any stray fireworks that may have landed there, as they have the potential to cause injury to your horse

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