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The Management of Horses during Fireworks in New Zealand

By Gabriella Gronqvist, Chris Rogers, Erica Gee

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Within popular press there has been much coverage of the negative effects associated with firework and horses. The effect of fireworks has been documented in companion animals, yet no studies have investigated the negative effects, or otherwise, of fireworks on horses. This study aims to document horse responses and current management strategies to fireworks via an online survey. Of the total number of horses, 39% (1987/4765) were rated as “anxious”, 40% (1816/4765) “very anxious” and only 21% (965/4765) rated as “not anxious” around fireworks. Running (82%, 912/1107) was the most common behaviour reported, with no difference between property type (p > 0.05) or location (p > 0.05). Possibly as a consequence of the high frequency of running, 35% (384/1107) of respondents reported having horses break through fences in response to fireworks and a quarter (26%, 289/1099) reported that their horse(s) had received injuries associated with fireworks. The most common management strategy was moving their horse(s) to a paddock away from the fireworks (77%) and to stable/yard them (55%). However, approximately 30% reported these management strategies to be ineffective. Of the survey participants, 90% (996/1104) were against the sale of fireworks for private use.

Date 2016
Publication Title Animals
Volume 6
Issue 3
Publisher Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences
DOI 10.3390/ani6030020
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal roles
  3. Animal welfare
  4. Anxiety
  5. Fear
  6. Horses
  7. Injuries
  8. Mammals
  9. New Zealand
  10. Noise
  11. Pets and companion animals
  12. Stress