Any horse owner knows that horses can get hurt even without ever leaving the barn. Having a well-thought-out horse first aid kit can help with those situations that don’t call for a visit to the vet. They also come in handy when you need to apply first aid for horses with more serious injuries. Sometimes, having the right products handy can help you stabilize your horse’s condition until the vet arrives. So, what do you need to ensure you’re prepared for any emergency?
Getting Started — What Do You Need in Your Equine First Aid Kit?
Expect to need a minimum of two separate kits, depending on what activities you do with your horses. Every horse owner needs an extensive first aid kit in the barn. This is your home base where your horses spend most, if not all, of their time.
Some horses never leave the farm for any reason. Even vet visits take place on location. So, one well-developed first aid kid will serve your every purpose without any concerns about portability. Some things to put in your barn kit include:
- Alcohol Wipes – Used to clean wounds, prepare injection sites, and keeps out bacteria
- A Large Syringe – Used to flush out wounds or administer oral fluids
- Wound Ointment – Applied wounds before covering with wound dressing
- Blood Coagulant – Stops bleeding with or without bandages
- Gauze Pads – Covers wounds without sticking
- Cotton Roll – Used as layer bandaging or directly on smaller wounds
- Gauze Roll – For holding absorbent bandages in place
- Adhesive Tape – To hold bandages in place
- Saline Solution – Used to clean out wounds
- Betadine – Betadine is a disinfectant used on minor cuts, scrapes, and burns. It is also used to dip the navels of foals to prevent infection.
- Rectal Thermometer – Include a bulldog clip to hold the thermometer to the horse’s tail while taking its temperature
- Stethoscope – Used to listen to the lungs, heart, intestines, and blood flow
- Vet Wrap – Temporarily holds gauze pads and medications in place
- Blunt-Ended Scissors – To cut bandages from the roll or from the horse
- Cold Pack – Provides instant cooling to reduce swelling from an injury
- Disposable Diapers – For hoof wraps and to use as additional bandages
- Duct Tape – Works great as a hoof wrap in a pinch, and it is water-resistant
- Epsom Salts – Useful as a poultice or for soaking sore feet
- Banamine Paste – This is a prescription drug for pain that also helps with colic. Talk with your vet about adding it to your horse first aid kit.
Some items in your equine first kit will be for your personal use. They help protect you from germs while also preventing you from spreading them into a horse’s wound. These items include:
- Rubber Gloves – Protect your hands from germs and keep from spreading them
- Face Masks – Protect yourself from exposure to necrotic tissue or from aerosol sprays used to treat your horse
- Hand Sanitizer – For times when you don’t have soap and water
- Clean Cloth – For drying your hands
Once you have everything in order, you need to store your new first aid kit in the right place. It should be in an area that is safe from dirt and moisture. Make sure everyone who works with the horses knows its location.
Where to Keep the First Aid Kit
Some people keep a compact equine first aid kit in the barn so that they can take it with them when they travel. However, this is never the best option. It limits what you have available to work with at home and relies on your remembering to transfer the kit whenever you travel.
A better option is to keep a portable first aid kit in your horse trailer. Placing it in the trailer ensures that you still have it should you switch vehicles. After all, you can pull the horse trailer with a different truck, but you can’t transport horses in the bed of your truck!
The travel first aid kit is there in case horses get minor injuries in the trailer or from loading or unloading. It can also help if you have a car accident that causes injury to one or more horses. Make sure the first aid kit is in a secure place so it doesn’t get lost when you need it the most. Also, include items like reflective vests, flashlights, and cones in case your truck or trailer breaks down.
Finally, carry a smaller essentials kit with you if you go on trail rides. Some items to include are:
- A small folding pocketknife
- Bandages to control bleeding
- Bandages to cover small wounds
- Tail wrap
- A hoof pick
- A hoof boot
- A 6” diameter pipe cut longways to use as a splint
Keep Your First Aid Kit Up to Date
Some items in your horse first aid kit will have expiration dates. Check them regularly and replace items that are expired. Keep an inventory of everything in the kit listed inside the lid. Replace items as you use them. Also, putting expiration dates beside each product listed can help you keep track of them at a glance.
You should also include a list of important phone numbers, including your vet’s and the emergency clinic — you never know when a vet emergency might occur.
Choose Your Container
Gathering all your supplies for your kit will give you a better idea of how large a kit you need. You can search online for empty first aid kits to serve your purpose. For larger kits such as those you use in the barn, consider using a large drink cooler. This provides insulation and keeps dirt and pests out.
Shop Grange Co-op for Your Equine First Aid Kit Needs
Purchasing a large first aid kit for horses can be an expensive investment. At Grange Co-op, you will find many of the products you need to build your own kit. Get top-quality products and save money by building the kit yourself. If you have questions about any of our products, contact us, one of our Grange Livestock Experts would be glad to assist and answer any questions you may have!