10 Items for Your Tack Room First Aid Kit
I am always surprised by the amount of people who do not have a first aid kit for their horses. Let's be real, horses are pretty accident prone. Having a stocked first aid kit and knowing how to use everything it can be a lifesaver.
Here are my top 10 items every tack room should have:
1. Vet Wrap and Standing Bandages
Vet Wrap is magical. It is self adhering and that makes it perfect for our furry friends. It comes in many sizes and colors. I like to keep at least four rolls on hand at all times. I use vet wrap to secure gauze over wounds or for added support on injured areas that are hard to bandage with a standing wrap.
Standing wraps consist of pillow or quilted cotton wrap, secured by knit polo wraps. Applying these properly requires lots of practice so don't wait until you have an injury to learn to use. them. Here's an excellent article from Practical Horseman on standing wraps.
Horse's temperatures are taken rectally (Its really not as gross as you think). You should use a veterinary thermometer. I prefer a digital screen to the old school mercury ones for speed and I'm not afraid to drop it. Be sure to use some petroleum jelly or veterinary lube to insert the thermometer! Your horse will thank you.
3. Iodine and Surgical Scrub
Iodine is a necessity. You can use it for cleaning out wounds or for scrubbing those pesky little scabs that always pop up on white legs in spring. I also like to keep some Clorhexidine on hand for cleaning thrush and wounds.
4. Gauze Bandages
I stock gauze in all sizes. You never know when you will need it or how big of a wound your horse will get from rolling on that sharp rock in their pasture.
5. Epsom Salt
Aside from soaking in them myself to relax tense muscles after unceremoniously dismounting, epsom salts are great for your horse too. You can make a hoof pack with epsom salt and iodine to help draw out hoof abscesses.
6. Triple Antibiotic Ointment
Whether it is simply neosporin or an equine specific brand, triple antibiotic ointment is perfect for all those little scrapes and cuts your horse acquires.
7. Cold Packs
So your vet says to ice the leg or run cold water on it, but you don't have the time or access to cold water. Never fear, the cold pack is here! Simply place the cold pack inside a sports medicine boot, or use a standing wrap over the cold pack to secure it to the leg and put Flash back in his stall to wait it out.
Did you read #5 and wonder how you would keep epsom salt and iodine on the hoof? Diapers. I use these for hoof packs or for thrown shoes. Simply apply the hoof pack, take the diaper and wrap the velcro up around his pastern. Create a grid of duct tape across the bottom of the hoof, adding extra layers at the toe. Do NOT put duct tape on the coronary band as this can decrease blood circulation.
9. Snub nosed scissors
These are perfect for cutting off bandages without accidentally cutting your horse.
10. Duct Tape!
Any barn kit is not complete without duct tape! Secure bell boots, tape on diapers, fix your eyesight and make you fly... oh wait, not those last two. But seriously, you need duct tape for everything!
There are so many more things that you could add to your first aid kit. This is a starter list for what I keep in my tack room!
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