The 4th of July is right around the corner, so that means there’s lots of planning to be done! Besides prepping for your BBQ or party, there’s some things you need to consider for your horse too. The holiday comes with a lot of new, and potentially stressful, experiences for your horse, so I’d like to provide some advice for y’all.
The ultimate goal of planning ahead is to keep everyone safe, both humans and horses alike. Before the big day comes, consider your unique situation and think of potential issues that you might encounter. I like to start with the five senses, so here’s some questions to get you started:
- Sight: Will your horse be overwhelmed at the sight of new people or bright lights and decorations?
- Touch: Is there anything that could hurt your horse in their pasture or stall if they spook?
- Hearing: Is your horse sensitive to loud noises (such as fireworks)?
- Taste: Are there any foods that your horse is sensitive to that may accidentally be fed to them by others?
- Smell: Does your horse have a familiar place that is comfortable for them, or smells like “home”?
Asking these kinds of questions will help create a plan that reduces your horse’s stress and allows them to be as comfortable as possible. For example, if your horse is easily spooked by fireworks, ensuring that they will not hurt themselves is very important. Take a look around your pasture, stall, barn, or anywhere your horse may be in the evening and make sure it is free of anything sharp or dangerous.
New people, sights, and smells can also be stressful for horses. If you’re planning on having a party, and your horse will be attending, make sure your guests know how to be around your horse safely. This also means that your horse should be able to have a “safe space” where they can go if they are too overwhelmed.
Remember, routine is your horse’s best friend, besides you of course! Providing your horse with as much “normal” as possible and keeping their daily routine the same will help them be calmer throughout the day and night.
Have a safe and happy 4th of July!