Christmas is coming and many people like to show their holiday cheer by decorating their homes and barnyards. Holiday decorations can be beautiful, but they can also be a health hazard for your horse. Here are a few tips to help keep your horse and barn safe for the holiday season.
1. Be sure all lights are fastened securely and out of reach of your horse. Horses can get hung up in loosely hung light cords and if they chew on it, it can cause a nasty shock or worse.
2. Do not use glass or breakable ornaments in the barn area. Horses as well as barn cats are curious by nature and could knock the ornaments to the ground causing broken glass to be scattered in the barn isle or yard. This is hazardous to the horses as well as animals or people that may step on or ingest it.
3. If using tinsel and garlands, they should be well out of the horses reach. If eaten they could cause stomach irritation, blockage, and/or colic.
4. Nativity scenes should be set up in a paddock not in use by horses, or fenced to prevent the horses from damaging the props or sustaining injury from them.
5. If you are going to attach jingle bells to your horse’s tack be sure that your horse is used to it as well as any horses you will be interacting with. Unaccustomed noises can cause a horse to spook, possibly causing injury to themselves, their rider or another horse.
6. Horse treats are a big part of the holiday season. If you plan on buying horse treats for your equine friends be sure they are healthy treats. Treats are just that, a treat, not a part of the horses balanced ration. Too many can cause a digestive upset and ruin the holiday season for you and your horse.
Be safe this holiday season and have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. NWHS
Reprinted from Northwest Horse Source Magazine, December 2003