As much as we go out of our way to prevent injuries and illnesses in our horses, accidents can still happen, and emergencies can happen anywhere. Since we cannot outfit our horses in bubble wrap, we can prepare for the worst by creating an equine first aid kit to store in your tack room, locker, and trailer. By compiling first aid supplies at home and on the road, you can care for certain ailments yourself or help stabilize wounds while the vet is on their way. This blog will cover a list of the first aid kit items you need to be prepared for almost anything!

The key to organizing your horse’s first aid kit is finding easy-to-store containers that can quickly be found during emergencies. Air-tight plastic containers, tool boxes, grooming totes, and tackle boxes are great options for quick and easy organization. You do not want to waste precious time searching for your kit or rifling through medical supplies when an accident occurs. You can also consider hanging your veterinarians' and farriers' phone numbers in your barn or on your horse’s stall in case someone needs to call them for you. If unsure about what or when to apply certain care, you should consult your trusted veterinarian, especially when administering oral medications or injections. Remember, it is always better to be safe than sorry, so call your vet if you suspect your horse needs medical attention.

Be Prepared with this Horse First Aid Kit List

Every well-equipped first aid kit for horses should be stocked with the appropriate equipment, wraps and bandages, wound treatments, and medications. Remember that you may need to move your kit to a separate location during extreme weather conditions to prevent your medical supplies from freezing or overheating.

Equipment

Start building your equine first aid kit with a few pieces of basic medical equipment.

  • A digital vet thermometer is vital to quickly and accurately read your horse’s temperature.
  • Utility bandage scissors for safely removing bandages and adhesive wraps from your horse.
  • Duct tape is useful when wrapping hooves since it is durable and waterproof.
  • Paper towels can help you clean equipment and apply poultice with wraps.
  • A pocket knife is a must-have to save horses from getting tangled up.
  • A flashlight is valuable to keep to better care for your horse in the dark or dimly lit stall.
  • A clean bucket for soaking hooves, washing wounds, and keeping medical supplies clean.
  • Sponges are practical for cleaning wounds.
  • Towels double as large wound compressions and a sanitary field you can spread out for small medical supplies.
  • Surgical latex gloves will keep your hands clean and prevent wound contamination.
  • Grab a stethoscope to listen to both heart and gut sounds.
  • A twitch is important as a humane way to reduce stress during vet procedures, avoiding additional trauma.
  • 60-cc dose syringes with catheter tips for providing oral medications.
  • 10-cc dose syringes with hypodermic needles for giving injections.

Wraps and Bandages

Every equestrian should stock up on different types of leg wraps to best prepare for emergencies. Depending on the type of wrap, they can effectively relieve soreness, protect wounds, or reduce the build-up of fluid, swelling, inflammation, or heat in a horse’s legs.

  • Dura-Tech® vet wrap is a staple in every first aid kit for horses. The cohesive, non-slip bandage adheres to itself, making it ideal to help wrap bandages or pack hooves as it easily conforms and can apply even pressure.
  • Dura-Tech® standing wraps are essential to providing an outer wrap to your horse’s standing bandages. The material stretches enough to allow the right amount of tension to be applied for soft tissue injuries with a sturdy reinforced hook and loop closure, preventing bandages from easily slipping off your horse’s legs.
  • The UltraFlex Puffy Combo Quilts are a great base for your horse’s leg wraps. The nicely padded quilted leg wrap features a brushed cotton lining that will not slip down your horse’s legs, granting important support and padding.
  • Sterile gauze should be kept on hand to clean cuts, scrapes, and burns. Plus, it can be used as a large bandage for your horse.
  • Diapers are a convenient solution to wrap hooves as an extra layer of padding.

In case you need an additional method to draw out heat, soothe muscles, or treat an abscess or stone bruise, ice boots should be part of your horse’s first aid kit, too.

  • Provide instant cold therapy in case of a suspensory or tendon injury by applying the Dura-Tech® Cooling Gel Wraps to your horse’s legs. These unique wraps are flexible and conforming, and will remain cold for hours after being stored in the freezer.
  • Conveniently ice your horse’s legs and soak hooves with the Dura-Tech® Leg and Hoof Soaking Boot. This easy to use boot can help reduce inflammation and pain caused by arthritis, abscesses, bruises, or other ailments.

Wound and Injury Treatments

Ensure that you collect plenty of wound care for your horse. For some minor cuts, wounds, sores, or insect bites, you can effectively treat your horse with proper ointments or sprays. If the injury is more significant, you may be able to keep your horse comfortable until the vet arrives.

  • Betadine is crucial to add to your horse’s first aid kit as an antiseptic sudsing skin cleanser. Often used by veterinarians for pre and postoperative scrubbing and washing, it works to reduce bacteria that may lead to skin infections. This antiseptic cleanser can be used as both a hand wash to minimize bacteria on the skin as well as a solution to kill bacteria directly on cuts or wounds.
  • As a first aid necessity, Fura-Zone ointment prevents or treats surface bacterial infections, wounds, burns, and cutaneous ulcers. Fura-Zone can be used with or without bandages and is easy to apply.
  • Vetericyn wound spray is another must have for injury treatment. The liquid helps remove dirt and impurities and cleanse your horse’s wounds, allowing for better healing conditions. In addition, Vetericyn can moisten wound dressings, making this spray the perfect multi-use product to treat and protect wounds.
  • Just like human first aid kits, incorporate a bottle of rubbing alcohol to sterilize medical instruments and pre-moistened alcohol swabs to clean small wounds and injection sites.
  • Consider obtaining a nonsteroidal tube of triple-antibiotic eye ointment from your veterinarian to care for certain eye irritations.

Poultice is another great method to reduce swelling and soreness, relieve tired muscles, and cool your horse, especially after a workout. The natural clay is easy to brush or rinse off, and can be applied to your horse’s legs, joints, and soles of their feet. Plus, poultice can be applied under standing wraps or bandages to further draw out heat, bruises, and abscesses.

  • Absorbine Magic Cushion Hoof Packing is often a lifesaver for horses with sore feet. After being packed and bandaged into the horse's hoof, the magic cushion quickly reduces hoof heat while calming the sole and frog inflammation associated with hoof concussion or trauma.
  • Kaeco Epsom Salt Poultice is a topical gel designed to reduce inflammation and pain caused by bruises, sprains, and insect bites. It can also draw out hoof abscesses and infections, or be applied as a liniment to relax muscles and decrease stiffness.

Your horse will have no shortage of pain relief from stiffness or soreness with liniment gels, liquids, sprays, and body washes. Liniments are designed to be used topically as they increase circulation and blood flow to your horse’s legs and muscles, perfect for application after a workout or under leg wraps.

  • Do not forget a bottle of Sore No-More Gelotion for your horse’s first aid kit. This cooling gel can help loosen muscles and tendons, soothe sore muscles, and stimulate blood flow, especially during injury recovery, as either a massage liniment or an application under standing wraps.

Medications

Basic equine medications can be offered in various forms, from pastes to liquids to pelleted supplements, based on the health concerns of your horse.

  • Immediate Response Paste is critical to your horse’s emergency treatments. In the event of colic or gastric distress as a result of dehydration, heat exhaustion, exposure to moldy hay, hauling or barn stressors, this paste restores digestive balance until your vet can arrive for greater professional help.
  • If your horse needs quick rehydration, provide them with the Peak Performance electrolyte paste. It is formulated to match the proportion of electrolytes lost in your horse’s sweat, ensuring accurate balance and absorption levels.
  • If you are concerned your horse has fallen victim or is prone to ulcers, consider providing them a dose of Ulcergard (omeprazole). It is always best to consult a vet as clinical signs of stomach ulcers may consist of decreased appetite, recurrent colic, intermittent loose stools or diarrhea, poor hair coat, poor body condition, or poor performance. Ulcergard aids in the prevention of stomach ulcers and pain associated with ulcers by reducing production of stomach acid. This paste is often given during stressful events, like trailering, competitions, or big changes at home.
  • Phenylbutazone (“bute”) and flunixin meglumine (Banamine) are both nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers (NSAIDS). While banamine might be administered for often for gut pain, bute is typically given for lameness or soreness. Both pain relievers are available as oral pastes in pre-measured doses; however, bute is commonly found in powder form, which is also provided orally. Always consult your vet to determine the correct dosage for your horse.

Ensure you always have a different tube of dewormer on hand during each change in the season to treat and prevent parasite infestations. Parasites and worms, such as strongyles, tapeworms, roundworms, and bots, can cause severe damage to your horse’s digestive tract. As a result, your horse might experience damage to the liver, lungs, and throat, so you will want to keep them on a rotational deworming schedule.

Equine First Aid Kit on the Road

Whether driving five minutes down the road or heading cross-country, always keep a first aid kit in the trailer. These items can be stored in the trailer for traveling emergencies and horse shows. Your equipment, wraps, and medications should be the same (dewormer being an exception), so you can be ready for anything while at shows and on trail rides. Ensure that your horse trailer kit version is maintained in a portable container and not at risk from extreme cold or heat. You may not need as many wraps or boots, but you want to avoid needing equipment, wound care, or medications that can keep your horse comfortable during emergencies away from home.

Maintain a Checklist for Your Horse First Auid Kit

The final step to organizing your horse’s first aid kit is to download a checklist, which will help you keep track of all the items you currently have and which ones you need to restock. Once you have all your horse’s supplies together after finishing your checklist, your kit is easy to maintain and your horse will thank you as they live a happy and healthy life!