USA horse

Happy Independence Day! – photo by Cindy Lawler

Here in the US it’s the 4th of July, aka Independence Day, where we celebrate the liberation from British Rule with large parties, parades and lots of fireworks!

While we celebrate with cookouts, beverages, games and other merriment it’s a great time to assess farm safety with visitors and fireworks!!

With that in mind here are a few things to keep in mind if you are celebrating at the farm with outside guests:

– Make sure you have sufficient signage for safety, liability and the potential loss of fingers.

– Post clear signage on stalls or paddocks if you have horses with issues or special dietary needs advising visitors (and children) that they shouldn’t be feeding them cupcakes, or apples etc… ( I had a mare who easily foundered and the local kids used to bring her handfuls of mints…)

– Talk with neighbors or your own farm family to make sure everyone knows that the horses are/are not ok to pet. And that we need to do to keep guests OUT of the fields.

– Offer a planned visit of the horses so people don’t just walk into the field with the killer pony… or worse, decide to ride said pony!

True Story: I was showing at the state fair of VA which is an extremely crowded venue. I stand up from scrubbing my pony’s white back legs to witness a dad who has set his 4 year old on my cross tied, soap covered driving pony’s back and genuinely didn’t know why I had a problem with that…

– Make sure hot things are never near hay!!

Neighbors or community planning a fireworks display?

– Talk to your neighbors and local friends about any news of planned celebrations.

– Talk with your vet. Some horses are ok with fireworks, some will tear through a fence get loose on the road and require staples… thereby a sedative might be in order.

– I suggest turnout! As prey animals horses are not generally ok with all that assaulting action while boxed in a stall. Unless you have a cowboy mounted shooting horse you may have some panic.

– Make a plan. I unfortunately never go to 4th of July parties because the neighbors who own the field next door like to shoot off fireworks (they started on the 28th of  June this year) and one of my boarder horses is NOT ok with the noise.

Again… make sure hot things are never near hay!!

Happy 4th of July! Stay Safe and Have a Great Day!!