Happy Birthday America!
As Independence Day approaches, you’re probably making plans to take in a fireworks show, host a party with friends or attend a parade. I do love a parade! After all, I used to perform in front of a football stadium full of adoring fans….but I digress.
Parades are not for every horse (or dog, or cat, or other for that matter). The noise of the booming bass drum, loud music and crowds can be very scary for creatures of flight. Parade horses have usually undergone desensitization training and are used to all that commotion. If you thought it would be fun to march your horse, who has never seen a fire truck, trumpet or drum corps before, in a local parade, think again. You’re better off leaving your equine friend home in his relaxed environment while you go to enjoy the parade.
If you are hosting a party on a property that houses horses (or that is near horses), be sure to keep anything that can catch fire, spark or make sudden, loud noises away from the animals. Be sure that no leftover debris has made its way into paddocks, stalls or other areas where animals have easy access.
Horses tend to be more relaxed if they are with a buddy. Keeping a horse with or near herd-mates can help reduce stress. In addition, did you know that they make earplugs especially for horses? Earplugs can help reduce noise from fireworks, parties or other disturbances that are not part of the normal routine. Be sure to let your horse try out the earplugs in advance (and get yourself some practice putting them in, too) so that when the day arrives, everyone involved is used to them.
Finally, it’s a good idea to make sure your horse has proper ID! This could be a microchip implanted by a veterinarian, or a tag attached to a halter, for example. Some people even braid an ID tag into the mane – a practical way to accessorize! Although we all take precautions to secure our equine companions, sometimes accidents happen and horses get loose. An ID tag can help ensure that if this frightening situation occurs, horses can be quickly returned to their proper homes, and owners notified immediately.
Enjoy the celebration of freedom and patriotism this 4th of July. Be safe, and keep your horses and pets safe too!
Until Next Time!