Last night we had a minor disaster. As we were leading our horses into the yard someone next door – and i mean twenty feet away – starting letting fireworks off.
The horses of course panicked; i panicked! Me and my horse were basically blocking the way out, in a very narrow space after some inconsiderate parking by someone else. I therefore, when my horse started to get upset threw the lead rope over his ears and let him run. I knew all the gates out were shut, we have a very contained yard and the only gate open was the one to his field. My friend told me off for this, I have always been told it is safer for a horse to be able to run away, it lowers their adrenaline levels quicker, and at the end of the day; it is their natural reaction.
My friend clung on to hers, he of course reared up several times. Now in my mind she put herself in danger, yes she knew where her horse was but he was worked up for much longer than my own. Surely if the horse cannot get away the next instinct to kick in is to fight, and essentially fight what is holding him in place: you. So by holding him back, you get him more upset, which then means more rearing up, a high chance of him going over backwards, hurting his neck, head and back, and of course you hanging on to the end of the lead rope gets him more freaked out!
My horse ran to the safety of his field where he then relaxed and allowed me to catch him quickly and easily. My friends horse was bundled into a small stable where he paced round in circles skidding on the rubber matting and ramming the door.
During the few seconds it took for all of this to happen, i was also very aware that my horse and i were actually blocking the horses way out. He is 17HH: i’m not going to argue. If i had not let my horse go, and obviously followed him to make sure i knew where he was going i am pretty sure we would have got trampled if my friend let go of the lead rope. So obviously I am pretty glad she held on! But i did kind of think it would have been safer and easier to let him follow his field mate (once i was out of the way).
I am still unsure whether it is better to have horses in or out during fireworks. But i am fairly certain that having them in while fireworks explode over their stable when you could have them half a mile away in a 3 acre field is not clever.