Equine First Aid Part 1

Equine First Aid Part 1

Equine First Aid Part 1


Here is an introduction to Equine First Aid. This article includes the normal ranges of all vital signs, which every rider and/horse handler should know the normal of each of their horses vital signs.


In this article I go through what we all should, as horse owners/riders and handlers, have in our Equine First Aid Kit as well as a kit you take when riding out.


  • Horses Normal Temperature: 38 – 38.5 degrees C


  • Horses Normal Respiration Rate: 8 to 10 breaths per minute


  • Horses Normal Heart Rate: 30 to 40 beats per minute


  • Horses Normal Gum Colour: Pink


  • Horses Normal Capillary Refill Time: Less than 2 seconds


  • Horses Normal Faecal Output Per Day: 10 to 14


  • Any abnormalities of the above your vet should be notified at once and symptoms discussed as to whether a vet visit is needed or you are just to monitor.


  • Horses Normal Urinary Output Per Day: There is no definitive amount of times your horse should pee a day, it depends on the heat and how much they drink. However, if you notice low urinary output or that your horse is drinking a lot and urinating a lot, please call a vet. Little urine output, dripping, dark coloured urine could mean a blockage, infection in the urinary tract or bladder or bladder or kidney stones. Increased drinking and urine output could be kidney disease or Cushing’s. So in either case call a vet and get a full check done.


First Aid Kit

Every horse owner and yard should have a first aid kit that contains the items most likely to be needed to treat an injury. It should be kept in a clean box with a secure lid, preferably in a relatively dust-free area, such as a cupboard, in your truck, float or vehicle. Items should be replaced as they are used, so it is helpful to keep a list of contents attached to the inside of the lid. It is also a good idea to have a list of useful

telephone numbers — such as your vet, horse transporter, farrier and insurance company. Always ensure both you and your horses are fully vaccinated against tetanus, so there is not a panic over every tiny wound.


Suggested contents of a full first aid kit

·         Clean bowl or bucket ·         Non-stick dressings e.g. Melolin
·         Clean towel ·         Paraffin Gauze
·         Large roll of cotton wool ·         Gamgee and large scissors for cutting it to size
·         Round-ended curved scissors for trimming hair from wound edges ·         A selection of bandages including:
·         Anti-bacterial scrub e.g. Microshield or Biodine ·         Stretch cotton bandages e.g. crepe bandages
·         Pack of sterile saline — very handy when on the move ·         Adhesive bandages e.g. Elastoplast
·         Ready-to-use poultice e.g. Animalintex ·         Elastic conforming self-adhesive bandages e.g. Vetrap
·         Latex Gloves ·         Tubular bandage e.g. Tubigrip
·         A set of stable bandages and gamgees ·         Synthetic orthopaedic bandage e.g. Soffban
·         A roll of electrical insulating tape 2cm wide ·         Wound powder containing fly repellent
·         A roll of black PVC tape or silver duct tape 7.5 or 10cm wide ·         Wound gel such as Intrasite gel or inflammol
·         A gentian violet or antibiotic spray e.g. Aerotet Forte ·         Small pair of tweezers
·         Petroleum jelly eg Vaseline ·         Thermometer
·         Paper, pen, pencil and stethoscope


·         A bright torch for inspecting wounds in poor light



Additional useful items for your first aid kit:

A length of baler twine
Rope halter
Hoof pick
Shoe removal kit ie buffer, hammer, pincers, pliers
Wire cutters



First Aid Kit to carry when riding out


This pack is made by VETPRO NZ and it is the best pack I have found, I couldn’t make one as economical as this pack. Available at most Saddlery Stores. Comfortable to wear and light weight to carry.


All the emergency items you need for a ride out, packed in a comfortable waterproof waist bag- Trekking, Endurance training, Beach and forest, Pony Club Camp etc. Contents:

1 Poncho

1 medi crepe 5cm

1 Triangular Bandage

1 Thermal rescue Blanket

1 Disposable Latex Gloves (pair)

1 CPR face shield

5 Medi Band Plasters

4 Alcohol Swabs

1 Bandage Scissors

1 Bug repellent 50ml

1 Medi Conform Bandage

1 Steri Pad dressing 10 x 10cm

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