Having a well-stocked first aid kit in your barn can leave you better prepared to deal with equine injuries and illnesses. While the standard essentials like gauze pads and a thermometer are always helpful, in some situations, some more unusual items may be the key to giving your horse the care he needs. If it’s time to refresh your first aid kit, consider adding these less common items to it so that you’re well-prepared for any equine health emergency.
Bicycle Inner Tube
In an emergency, you can cut a bicycle inner tube in half and use it as a tourniquet to help prevent blood loss from a leg injury. You’ll need to pair it with some cotton rolls to create appropriate pressure, but the stretch of an inner tube is ideal for an emergency tourniquet in a pinch. Hopefully you’ll never need to actually use your first aid bicycle inner tube, but it’s a must-have just in case.
Empty IV Bags
The next time your vet is out for an appointment, ask them to save you any empty 5-liter IV fluid bags they may have. You can cut the top off of these bags and use them for hoof soaking. They’re tough enough to be reused a few times and will fit over most horses’ hooves.
Horses seem to have a way of injuring themselves at the most inconvenient times – mainly, at night. A small head lamp in your supply kit can make assessing and treating wounds in the dark easier. Ideally, keep your head lamp in a heated area of the barn, like in your tack room, since the cold temperatures will drain the batteries. Keep an extra set of batteries ready, too.
Flashlights are essential in any first aid kit, but the winter cold will drain their batteries, and holding a flashlight while you’re treating your horse isn’t always practical. Glow sticks offer an advantage because they don’t rely on battery power. You can also often clip or tie glow sticks onto things, so you don’t have to worry about holding them.
You can never have enough duct tape in the barn, so keep an extra roll in your first aid kit. It’s useful for countless applications, like bandaging hooves. With a role designated entirely for first aid purposes, you’ll always be able to find duct tape when you need it.
You won’t find these bandages in many store-bought equine first aid kits, but they’re good to have on hand just in case they’re needed. These sterile bandages are thick and designed to help stop bleeding. Many come with a built-in mechanism so that you can secure them to your horse’s leg, leaving your hands free.
Emergency blankets made of mylar are compact and easily portable. They’re ideal to have in a first aid kit, since they can serve many purposes. They can be used to help warm your horse during and after foaling or during a trauma. They’re also perfectly sized to pack into your saddle bags when trail riding.
Whether you buy a pre-made first aid kit or create one of your own, adding the above items in can help ensure that you’re prepared for many different types of emergencies.