Contributed by: Valerie Mellema, Gray Horse Publishing
Some horses are just injury prone. Even when safely tucked away in a stall they can find a way to hurt themselves. Because of this, it’s vital that every barn (and horse trailer) has a first aid kit with the essentials. You may even want a small kit to keep in your saddle bag if you enjoy trail riding as well, because you just never know!
Here are the basic first aid supplies that every barn should have:
Bandages – There are actually several types of bandages that every barn should have. They all have their own purpose. Vetrap has a variety of uses for all types of animals and even people. It can be used as a band-aid of sorts, as well as a wrap to hold ice packs. You can also use it to wrap tails for mares about to give birth or while treating injuries that you need to keep a tail away from. Other bandages to have are standing wraps with cotton quilts in case you need to rehab an injury or support muscles to prevent an injury.
Gauze/Pads – Gauze or medical pads to go under said Vetrap to protect injuries. Be sure to get the kind that won’t stick to wounds.
Blunt Tip Scissors – To cut off the Vetrap!
Disposable Baby Diapers – May sound strange, but they are perfect for wrapping hooves with abscesses.
Duct Tape – An essential tool for repairs as well as bandaging hooves with abscesses.
Buckets – You can never have enough buckets, but a bucket you can use for soaking hooves and legs are a must as well.
Tweezers – To remove thorns, splinters or thistles.
Hoof Pick – Because you should always have a hoof pick or 5! Especially in your trailer and saddle bag if you trail ride.
Ice Packs – Traditional ice packs work, but boots with built in ice packs are great options as well.
Digital Thermometer – A horse’s normal temperature range is 99 degrees F to 101.
Lubricant – Helps with use of thermometers. Vaseline or mineral oil is recommended.
Wire cutters – Another item you can never have enough pairs of with a variety of uses.
Antiseptic – This is available in powders and ointment.
Insect Control Ointment – My favorite is the hot pink SWAT. You can see that you’ve applied it and helps keep insects out of wounds.
Wound Cleaner - Choose a gentle wound cleaner for cleaning fresh wounds. A 10% iodine solution is ideal.
Saline Solution – For flushing eyes.
Rubbing alcohol – For quickly disinfecting your supplies.
Surgical Gloves – Protect your own hands and the animal’s wounds from contamination.
Eye mask – If you don’t already use one, it’s great for helping protect irritated or injured eyes as well.
Medicate shampoo – Iodine based shampoo for bacterial and fungal issues, like rain rot.
Electrolyte paste – For horses that work hard and may become dehydrated. Also good for the trailer when traveling long distances in the summer.
Poultice – You can purchase a variety of poultices to draw out infections or help with sore muscles, but you can also make your own! You just need Epsom salts, miller’s bran, and water.
Twitch – A twitch has a variety of uses and can be a very helpful tool in the event your horse has an injury that they won’t want to stand still for while it is being treated. Be sure to learn how to use a twitch safely!
Flashlight – Because most injuries happen when you can’t see all that well!
Bute (Phenylbutazone) – You will need a prescription for bute, but it’s always good to keep some on hand after you get it from your vet.
Emergency Contact List – Easy access chart with your vet and farrier’s numbers. Also include a record of any medications, vaccination/Coggins records and de-wormers you use as well.
Weatherproof bag or box – Find a secure, weatherproof bag or box that is clearly marked to keep all your supplies in!
These are just the basics that any barn should have. Individuals involved in breeding may also want to keep extra foaling supplies on hand as well.
Do you have any other items that you keep for emergencies in your barn?
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Valerie Mellema is the owner of Gray Horse Publishing & Marketing.
She has been in the equine industry for over 25 years and is a published author of multiple horse care books. She is also the owner of Mellema Thoroughbreds, a thoroughbred breeding farm. She shows her OTTB, Mistic Gray, in Hunter/Jumpers.
Visit her website at www.grayhorsepublishing.com