Emergencies happen ALL the time with horses. They get themselves into the worst jams. They cut themselves (and how many of us been unable to find the reason for the injury? A friend had a horse that we found standing in the middle of the field, bleeding out from a cut to her artery. There was nothing near her to indicate what she had cut herself on and no blood trail that would lead us to the culprit. She was turned out by herself, so no other horse had done it. To this day, it is a mystery, but thankfully we were around to discover the injury in time.) They develop abcesses, rip their eye lid (again, how many of us were unable to find the culprit?) and get kicked from playing rough. The list is endless as to how many ways a horse can injure themselves. If you are around them long enough, you will see it all.
Therefore, it is important to have a well stocked first aid kit. And if you have a horse trailer, you need a first aid kit for the trailer as well. Besides having a first aid kit, I suggest a good Vet book and read it. Be familiar with your horses vital signs and know how to take them. Know basic first aid, because a vet is never around immediately after an injury and it could take hours before one can arrive. So know how to treat your horse until the vet arrives. And I can’t stress this enough: LEARN HOW TO WRAP YOUR HORSES LEGS!! I teach leg wrapping to both adults and kids, and I am always surprised at the number of adults who have no idea how to put standing or shipping bandages on their horse or even know the difference between the two!
As a sidenote, many of us travel with the first aid kit IN the dressing room of the trailer. But consider adding one to your truck as well. This never occurred to me until I read of a woman who was in an accident with her truck and trailer and her dressing room was inaccessible, making it impossible to reach the first aid kit. After I read this, I started keeping first aid supplies in my truck. And twice I have actually used them, one on a motorist who was involved in a car accident and another on a bicyclist who had taken a nasty fall on the road. Nothing like pulling out pink vetwrap to wrap a person’s bleeding arm….the paramedics were a bit surprised!
Know your horses signs. Take them while at rest and after a workout.
Temperature: Normal is 100.5 f
Pulse (Heart rate): Resting is 30-45 beats per minute. There are several ways to check this, so be sure to learn the different ways!
Respiration: Average is 8-16 breaths per minute. Hint: Count his breaths for 15 seconds and multiply by 4.
Capillary Refill Time (CRT): CRT should be 1-2 seconds. Gums should be moist and pink.
The Well Stocked First Aid Kit: What You Should Have
-Gauze: Rolled and 4″ sterile wound dressing
-Flexible Cohesive bandage such as Vetwrap
-Absorbent pads. Diapers or sanitary pads work great
-Standing bandages and leg wraps. Know how to apply. Practice until you are good at this!
-Spider bandage. You can make out of a t-shirt or you can purchase one already made
-Poultice (and saran wrap and paper bags, depending on your goal)
-Instant ice packs
-A first aid reference
From your vet you need to add:
-Sedative such as a tube of Dormosedan gel
-Needles and syringes
It is also a good idea to have a human first aid kit. Include items such as band-aids, gauze, Neo-sporin, and thermometer.