First Aid Kit for Horses
Whether out in their field, in the stable or while being ridden, horses seem prone to inadvertent injury. So every horse owner needs a first aid kit. Actually, you may need two or even three depending on the nature of the riding you do. For example, if you’re lucky enough to have transport for your horse, you really need one for this; if you’re an endurance rider or go for very long hacks, consider taking a “mini kit” with you.
Emergencies are never fun to deal with, BUT they’re much easier to deal with if you’re prepared. Even everyday cuts and grazes need proper treatment as soon as possible to prevent them from getting worse, so horse owners need to be well prepared.
We've put together the 15 basic first aid items that are most likely to be required to treat an injury.
First, let’s talk containers. Really, this is simply a matter of what to keep your items in. They need to be protected from damp, kept clean and be in an easily accessible place. Plastic stack-able containers with drawers are often popular or, if you’re like me, an old, large grooming box. Other suggested containers include plastic bins with lids or another good one is waterproof bags with zippers. The Plastica Panaro Medium Tack Box is a great choice, as it has a removable tray inside for quick access to essentials. Or a simple back pack, like the one below from Busse, will keep everything together.
Clean Bowl or Bucket
If you need to wash a wound, you’ll need a clean bowl or bucket. Following a visit from my vet for an exposed shoulder bone, I always now have a clean bowl, wrapped in a carrier bag, with my first aid kit. The Lincoln Stable Bucket includes a carry handle and a pouring spout for easy use.
Often, I use my clean towel to dry off my horse if he comes in soaked from the field, but I always take it straight home afterwards, wash it and return it to my kit the following day.
Roll of Cotton Wool
You can never have too much of this. HyHEALTH Cotton Wool is made from 100% cotton.
Keep several rolls of this. Ideally you want one that unrolls easily and lasts as long as possible throughout the day. Shires Cohesive Bandages provides breathable and lightweight compression.
These are golden when you need to protect a minor open wound and can be cut down to the size needed! NAF NaturalintX Poultice is multi-layered and natural.
Abscesses make the hoof grown fonder…or not! Make sure you have duct tape on hand for this lovely little task amongst others, from taping separated hooves to re-enforcing bandages. Just remember not to use it directly on your horse’s hair or skin. VetSet Sealing Tape is waterproof and heavy-duty.
A spray that doesn’t need to be rinsed off the wound means less “ouch” handling time and it helps to maintain a level of moisture necessary for healing wounds. VetSet Blue Spray has a highly effective cleansing action which kills germs and inhibits re-infection.
There are times when a powder is better than gel or a cream, especially when applying a topical solution will cause some discomfort. Powder can be squirted on to the wound to help it dry up. A good item to have in your kit in the summer as it doesn’t attract the flies. Gold Label Veterinary Wound Powder contains comfrey and super absorbent activated charcoal and is a must for a horsey first aid kit.
Epsom salts are great for drawing out infection. Many people use good old salt water to wash out cuts and scrapes. This is an essential for hoof abscesses. Keep it dry and sealed if you can. Battles Epsom Salts are a great traditional remedy.
Antiseptic Cream or Ointment
Nicks, cuts, and scrapes can be encouraged to heal by keeping the skin moist and clean. There’s a wide variety of products available. You can choose from all-natural products or products containing various medicinal and antibiotic ingredients. Botanica Natural Herbal Antiseptic Cream can be used for skin conditions as well as injuries, and contains a natural insect repellent for added protection.
A syringe to dispense medication orally. This simple, reusable one from Lincoln does the trick!
If your horse seems a bit under the weather, taking his temperature is always a good starting point. Most nowadays are digital, like this veterinary thermometer from Battles.
It goes without saying that a clean, rust-free pair of scissors most certainly need to be in your first aid kit. The ones in your grooming box will inevitably be dirty and possibly even too blunt to cut a bandage or dressing! Robinson's Dressing Scissors are the perfect addition to any first aid kit.
These help to prevent infection and yourself. So, always have a box on hand, like Robinsons Vinoguard Essentials Latex Free Vinyl Gloves.
Keep all these items in a clean box with a secure lid, preferably in a relatively dust-free area, such as a cupboard. Be disciplined and ensure you replace items as soon as they’re used.
Spotted a few things you need? Check out our First Aid Collection.