Horse first aid emergencies do not have to pan out like this though; unpredictable events are all part and parcel of life, but if we stay on top of the things in our control, then these unforeseen moments become much more manageable.
Do us a small favour, take a moment or two over the next few days to dig out your horse first aid kit, and keep reading below to ensure that your horse first aid kit is ready to be used at the drop of a hat.
Check your horse first aid kit contents carefully:
2. Does your container keep the contents clean and dry?
3. Have you replaced the items you used last time round?
With the exciting and welcome news that we should soon be able to attend competitions and equine events again, do not forget to check the contents of the horse first aid kit you keep in the lorry or horsebox for trips away from the yard. If you do not have a travel first aid kit, why not put one together now?
Most minor accidents at shows and competitions occur when loading or unloading horses. Although most events will have a vet in attendance, there could be two or three horses vying for their attention at any one time. Having your own supplies may save unnecessary worry as you will be fully equipped to deal with minor cuts and scrapes.
Horse First Aid Kit Essentials:
We’ll even provide a helpful check list so you can be sure your horse first aid kit contains all the essentials in readiness for the next equine emergency.
Of course, there are a few store cupboard staples you should keep in your horse first aid kit such as: cotton wool, a thermometer, salt, and scissors. If you find you are missing any of these, you could easily pick them up at the supermarket.
As for specifics, the following items would be handy to have in your horse first aid kit:
1. Bandages and self-adhesive elasticated wraps for support, protection and keeping wounds clean.
2. Natural Cooling Leg Clay, which will help to soothe tired legs after strenuous activity.
3. Dressings and poultices to maintain a clean environment with enough moisture to support the healing process of skin and tissue. Cooling bandages, such as Equi-N-Ice, are perfect for bringing down swellings and soothing bruises.
5. Irritant and itch relief creams for bites, stings and the onset of allergies. Natural ingredients work well to calm and sooth, why not add some Virex Cream or Rapid Relief to your horse first aid kit?
Equi-N-Ice Coolant Pack
A Word Of Warning…
…Wound management can go wrong.
In the heat of the moment, it is worth remembering that when it comes to administering horse first aid (even when injuries are most severe), our role as horse owners is really simple: to stabilise the horse, relieve acute pain and enable healing to begin. Administering over-enthusiastic equine first aid could make matters worse rather than better.
Anything beyond cuts and bruises is best left to vets and experts with specialist knowledge. Although for many years wound powder could be found in almost all horse first aid kits, it’s often a sensible idea to avoid wound powders in the first instance as they can be more problematic should you decide the wound needs veterinary attention. Not only do sprays and creams allow for easier observation and monitoring of the wounds, but they are also easier to remove (if necessary) when expert help arrives. Your main priority here is to cleanse the wound, removing bacteria and debris.
We can highly recommend Aloe Vera and Manuka Honey Gel, Phytobalm and Cut and Graze, these are all perfect alternatives to wound powder for your horse first aid kit. Each of these contain only natural ingredients, so you can rest assured that sore and sensitive cuts and grazes will not be further irritated by harsh chemicals.
Talking of harsh chemicals, we need to talk about Hibiscrub and whether it ought to be included in your horse first aid kit at all. For good reason Hibiscrub is used by surgeons during surgery because it kills absolutely EVERYTHING- You may think that total annihilation is an effective way to clean a wound; However, by getting rid of the beneficial bacteria we are in fact slowing down the healing process and creating additional problems. For this reason, it should be used by the everyday horse owners with extreme caution. It is one of those products where less is more; solutions should be diluted strictly according to the instructions (when you look at it, it should be a very pale shade of pink).
Applying a strong Hibiscrub solution will often cause more problems than it solves. When cleaning any wound of debris, the safest solution is always saline. Simply dissolve one teaspoon of salt with warm water.
The use of concentrated antiseptics on trivial wounds is one of the causes of chemical dermatitis. The best course of action if in any doubt about which products to use is to consult professionals who will always be happy to guide/advise on the best course of action to take before the vet arrives.
Keep calm and attend an equine first aid course
When things go wrong, as they often do, we can spend too long agonising over the wherefores and what ifs. What if we made sure we were armed with the knowledge and wherewithal to make competent and confident decisions in the time it takes for the vet to arrive?
Every responsible horse owner should have a basic first aid knowledge. As we know horses are extremely sensitive and intuitive, by remaining calm and in control, you can keep your wits about you and ensuring that your horse feels they are in safe hands. We would recommend enrolling onto one of these informative first aid course run by NKC Equestrian.
The course covers everything from infectious diseases, to managing wound care; what should be in your horse first aid kit to what to do when faced with a horse emergency.