Bombproofing horses against fireworks - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 07-02-2013, 04:05 PM Thread Starter
Weanling
 
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Bombproofing horses against fireworks

I've posted another thread about how to calm down my horse when dealing with new obstacles. One thing I'm worried about, in particular, is fireworks. Someday I would love to take my 3-year-old mare home to either drive or ride in a 4th of July parade. She's used to equipment, and is okay with it. (The guy that trained her to drive had her haul wood and pull a running manure spreader, and just work in general. No spook whatsoever.) I still know we'd have to be careful around equipment (rather be safe than sorry!), but I'm more afraid of fireworks.

The people in my area can be notoriously STUPID around horses. We've got people that will literally carry a baby around the parade route, while on their horse. And who knows what's going on off the parade route, or what some stupid kid might try. I'm afraid that the nearby sound of a whizzing rocket or firecracker might make her go nuts.

Now my cousin recently brought this issue to my attention, and her methods of fixing it weren't the greatest. They tied up their horse to a tree, and fired pop-bottle rockets off right beside him. He, understandably, went crazy, but they left him there. She said that eventually they got it so they could fire them at his feet, and he wouldn't flinch.
I'm not completely in favor of this method, since I'm pretty sure my horse would break her neck trying to get away.

How do other people get their horses used to fireworks? The same techniques can be applied to gunshots, I know. Do you just fire one 15 feet away, then get closer and closer until they stop flinching? I'd be interested to know if anyone has a good solution for this. I'm a pessimistic person, and I always want to be prepared for the worst case scenario!
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post #2 of 10 Old 07-02-2013, 04:07 PM
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Subbing because I'm dealing with this as well.

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post #3 of 10 Old 07-02-2013, 04:12 PM
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Subbing to find out.

Can't help myself but your cousin really shouldn't have a horse.
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post #4 of 10 Old 07-02-2013, 04:13 PM
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Tie the horse solid (preferably high tied to a STURDY, not going to break tree branch) and shoot off fireworks until she relaxes. She'll get over it.

If you really want you could hold her on the lead while a friend shoots off fireworks, but it'd probably be safer to tie her if what you expect to happen happens.

I'll be gun-proofing my horse within the next few months. I'll be handling her because we'll be in the woods shooting at a target with nowhere to tie, but I also know that her usual spook is to spread her legs and snort, so I'm not too worried about it. If I thought she was going to lose it, I'd move the targets to a spot with a big tree to tie her to.

ETA
Obviously you won't be right beside her for the first few, but eventually you'll be able to stand right beside her and shoot one off.
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Last edited by Iseul; 07-02-2013 at 04:15 PM.
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post #5 of 10 Old 07-02-2013, 04:16 PM Thread Starter
Weanling
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DancingArabian View Post
Can't help myself but your cousin really shouldn't have a horse.
Yeah, I know! Honestly though, she has no idea how to train a horse. She's dating a guy that thinks he's the "macho man" of horses, and this was his idea. I still wouldn't have let him do it.
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post #6 of 10 Old 07-02-2013, 04:19 PM
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I think it would be really loud and id be worried about their hearing. You should try earplugs that are made for horses. The mounted shooters use them.
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post #7 of 10 Old 07-02-2013, 04:20 PM
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My dad does cowboy mounted shooting, and I train his horses to get used to the noise. Different things you can do: put balloons in the horses pen, by his food, water etc. Pop them, let the horse pop them, to get used to a cracking sound. While you're feeding your horse, set off firecrackers a safe distance away. You can buy earplugs for horses- I recommend them- it takes away the bite. I would also recommend that you expose your horse to actual fireworks before the parade.
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post #8 of 10 Old 07-02-2013, 04:23 PM Thread Starter
Weanling
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EquineObsessed View Post
My dad does cowboy mounted shooting, and I train his horses to get used to the noise. Different things you can do: put balloons in the horses pen, by his food, water etc. Pop them, let the horse pop them, to get used to a cracking sound. While you're feeding your horse, set off firecrackers a safe distance away. You can buy earplugs for horses- I recommend them- it takes away the bite. I would also recommend that you expose your horse to actual fireworks before the parade.
Okay, thank you! I'll look them up!

I wouldn't even dream of taking her through a parade without exposing her to every worst case scenario I can think of. She's not much of a bolter, but so many little kids sit on the curb as the horses go by. All it takes is a second for some tragic accident to occur, and I sure as heck don't want it to be my horse that caused it.

I think I should get a loudspeaker with a siren as well. The firetrucks are in every parade we have at home, and every year there's at least 5 horses that freak out because of them.
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post #9 of 10 Old 07-02-2013, 04:25 PM
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Good idea! Maybe get an air horn, and let it off while she is eating until she can eat quietly without freaking out.
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post #10 of 10 Old 07-02-2013, 04:59 PM
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Get some silly string too. The noise and the silly string itself are both good things to get used to. Wave flags around, light sparklers, drag around floating balloons.
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