It’s the perfect day for a ride. But, while unloading your horse, he quickly steps back, lifting his head high to catch on the bare metal of your horse trailer. The gash is deep. What are your next steps?

Make sure you know the best plan of action to help minimize your horse’s risk in times of emergency.

Injuries such as cuts and bruises are common with a horse’s natural curiosity and flight-or-fight response. Other types of emergencies can include colic, choke, lameness and illness. Considering such potential threats posed to your horse, your knowledge of, and access to, a first-aid kit will be crucial to help ensure his overall safety when away from immediate veterinary service.

I recommend keeping a first-aid kit in not only your barn but also your horse trailer, should you ever need quick access to supplies when traveling with your horse. Listed below are key materials to keep stocked in your kit:

  • Thermometer;

  • One roll of cotton, gauze pads, brown gauze;

  • Nonstick pads;

  • Adhesive wrap;

  • Diaper;

  • Leg wraps;

  • White tape;

  • Duct tape;

  • Latex gloves;

  • Eye saline solution;

  • Scissors;

  • Triple antibiotic ointment;

  • Stethoscope;

  • Hoof pick;

  • Cold pack;

  • Antimicrobial wound cleanser;

  • Small flashlight with spare batteries;

  • Sharp knife;

  • Tweezers and hemostat; and

  • A non-narcotic sedative and analgesic.

If your horse becomes injured and fractious, or simply won’t cooperate, administering a mild sedative that is available with a prescription from your veterinarian, can help restore calm and help prevent further injury. It’s an easy-to-use option for needle-shy horses and horse owners who are uncomfortable giving an injection.

I encourage you to work with the veterinarian on your team for additional guidance on emergency care and first aid.

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