If you’re anything like Team PONY, you’ll be looking forward Guy Fawkes night – fireworks, sparklers, bonfires… what’s not to love? But your pony might not take the same view. All those loud bangs and strange lights in the sky could spook him, so it’s a good idea to be prepared and make 5 November as safe for him as you can.
Equine charity The Horse Trust have come up with some top tips for making your pony’s environment as safe as poss on bonfire night!
* Find out when local displays are being held so you can be at the yard or field when fireworks are set off to check your pony is OK. Get your parents to speak to organisers of local events so they know horses are kept nearby; they may be able to set fireworks off away from the field or stable. If your pony gets particularly distressed, stay with him until after the fireworks have finished to check that he settles down again and hasn’t injured himself.
* Keep to your pony to his usual routine as this will help minimise stress. For example, if your pony is normally stabled overnight, he is likely to find that less stressful. There are pros and cons to keeping your pony in a stable or in a field – some ponies react better to being stabled, while others cope better if they are left in the field.
* Some people recommend stabling ponies to stop them bolting round the field. However, if your pony isn’t used to being stabled, shutting him in a dark, confined space with loud noises going on can be frightening, he could injure himself in the stable. If you leave your pony in his stable, make sure there are no sharp points or objects that he could injure himself on.
* Some ponies cope with fireworks better if they are left out in the field as they do not feel trapped and can flee the frightening noise. If leaving your pony in the field, make sure that fencing is safe and secure, and that there are no objects in the field that your pony could hurt himself on. Your pony will be likely to panic less if he has company, so try not to leave him in the field on his own.
* If your pony gets very upset, speak to your vet – they might suggest sedating your horse to keep him calm. Get your parents to contact the vet in advance of the event, so that you have time to make the necessary arrangements.
* If fireworks have recently been set off near to your yard, check the field afterwards for dead fireworks that could have landed near the stable or in the field, as these could injure to your pony.
Want more info…
…on The Horse Trust? Just visit www.horsetrust.org.uk – sorted!