Fire Works- By Michelle Sefton

Fire Works- By Michelle Sefton

Fire Works- By Michelle Sefton

This is a very hot topic at anytime of the year but more so now with Guy Fawkes looming. Fire works go on sale on Monday 2nd November, so be prepared for people letting them off at random times and for displays on the 5th and in the coming weekend.


I am writing this while watching my horses grazing, watching their body language, how they are moving about, their responses to noises happening around them. Knowing your horses body language is one of the biggest keys as a horse owner and rider. Being able to read your horse and know what signs they show for fear, fright, excitement, pain etc. will only help you as a horse owner and rider to become more in tune with your horse and will help hugely in many areas of horse ownership and riding and especially at this time of year with fire works.


I’ve been on social media watching the comments, posts and worries of many horse owners. One of the worst things to do whether it be fireworks, gun shots or loud noises is to go into your horse’s paddock panicked, stressed, anxious and worried about “what if”, your horse will only fuel off your fear and anxiety then setting them into the fright flight mode and become reactive, which not only puts you at risk in the paddock but also puts your horse in harms way, as naturally a horses response to fear is to run.



Here are some key points on what to do and what not to do during fire works:


  • Contact all your neighbour’s and find out if or when they are doing fireworks, so then you can move your horse or horses to a safe paddock further away.
  • Make sure your horse or horses are in a safe good sized paddock.
  • Make sure you keep all electric fences on as normal.
  • If you have a nervy horse use a calmer. I highly recommend Dynavyte Equette, it is great for many situations including fireworks. For fire works, give 3 to 4 hours before to give it time to take full effect and before your horse can have an adrenaline spike. Once a horse has an adrenaline spike no calmer or sedative given at the time of spike will work as the adrenaline fights it. Equette can be given straight from the tube or in feed.
  • For horses a calmer is far safer as they still have full body function compared to a sedative where their judgement is impaired due to how sedatives work.
  • Watch your horse or horses from afar. When it gets dark listen for them.
  • Leave your horse to be a horse, keep their routine the same.
  • If you are nervous, anxious or worried with fire works then watch your horse from a distance, do not go near or in their paddock as your energy will put your horse on high alert and heighten their senses, which can increase adrenaline and put your horse into fright flight mode which will put not only yourself but them in danger.
  • Do not confine them to a small paddock or yard, if they are use to space then make sure they are in a large paddock and have room to run. If you suddenly confine them they can do more damage to themselves trying to get out.
  • Do not go and catch them and change paddocks in the dark this will only increase chances of injury if they go into a foreign paddock in the dark and start running.
  • If you see or hear your horse spooked and running around DO NOT panic. Look at them from afar, if you panic and go to them the will fuel of your energy and become more flighty.
  • Do not try and catch your horse if they are tearing around, this will put yourself in danger.
  • If your horse is getting very stressed and is running around blindly eg you hear them brush up against a fence or hit a gate, go to them calmly, talk to them, stay on your side of the fence, wait for them to come to you, reassure them by rubbing their forehead as this is a point of contact that reassures them most. Do not go in the paddock as they may, not intentionally, take you out in a panicked run.
  • If your horse is not use to a flashlight/torch DO NOT decide this is a good time to use them. There are many horses that don’t have a clue about a flashlight/torch and will spook, so when senses are heightened this will trigger the fright flight mode.
  • If your horse is run in a herd or you run your own horses together, now is not the time to separate them. Leave them together as they usually are and you will often find they are a lot happier and less worried about the noises going on as in a herd they protect each other. You’ll find there will be a calm one or two in the herd which will keep the herd settled.


The biggest things I can recommend if you are worried give them Dynavyte Equette and keep their routine normal, don’t fuss, just act like it is just another day. Stay far enough away so they don’t see you but you can see and hear them. Keep all of the above in mind if you should start to get anxious or panic.


At our place I can hear my horses and see them from the house. So should they react I can call to them and reassure them. Very rarely do mine react, even my young ones don’t generally react and that comes down to training, mine get use to everything and anything, from tractors, heavy machinery, guns, boats, road racing karts, chainsaws etc.


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