Fibre Takes Fizz Out of Fireworks

Love ’em or hate ’em, fireworks are set to light up the sky on Bonfire Night, so here’s some timely advice from Dengie to help keep your horse or pony as stress-free as possible…

Bonfire Night can be a really anxious time for horses and ponies, so it’s really important to do what we can to help them remain as comfortable as possible.

Check dates of local displays

Firework displays and bonfires can take place anywhere in the week around 5 November, so it’s a good idea to check posters, local newspapers and social media sites for any events planned close to you. If possible, track down the organisers to make them aware of any horses and livestock nearby and ask them to site their displays as far away as possible.

Distraction is key

Giving your a horse a bucket of fibre feed in his stable will help to keep his mind off things happening outside. Dengie Hi-Fi Molasses Free , Alfa-A Molasses Free, or Meadow Grass with Herbs are ideal for this purpose because they’re naturally low in starch and sugar, and have a really slow chew time, which will help to keep horses occupied for longer while the fireworks fizzle away.

Study proves fibre diet calms horse’s behaviour

Recent research by the University of Edinburgh shows that horses fed a fibre diet are more laid back when it comes to dealing with new, stressful situations. The study compared a fibre diet providing only 2% starch with a medium-energy cereal-based concentrate mix containing 22% starch. All horses involved in the trial were fed both diets – each providing the same amount of energy – in a cross-over study. The results showed that horses fed the cereal diet were more reactive to new situations and equipment, were less consistent in behaviour and had higher heart rates than fibre-fed horses. Click here to more.

Keep calm and carry on

If a display is taking place near to where you keep our horse or pony it might be a good idea to remain at the yard while the event is taking place. Your horse will appreciate your presence, which will help to keep him calm and stress levels in check. Turn on the radio to provide some background noise to muffle any sudden, loud sound.

Keep things as normal as possible because stress levels will already be high and you don’t want to add to them by introducing a change to routine or environment. If your horse or pony is kept at grass, he will probably be far happier in the field rather than being brought in. If this is the case, make sure that there are no displays or parties planned on adjoining land and check over your paddock to ensure that there is nothing that could injure him, should he become distressed. Pay particular attention to fencing and hedging.

If you know from past experience that your horse gets very distressed, have a word with your vet, who might recommend sedation. It’s also a good idea to keep your vet’s contact details to hand in case you need them.

For the safety of you and your horse, never risk riding when there are displays about and always have an emergency fire procedure in place on the yard.

For help and advice on what to feed your horse or pony this winter, call the Dengie Feedline on 01621 841188 or chat live to a nutritionist online.