Your Horse’s Health First Aid, by vet Anna Rush is a compact hardback with a reassuringly bright red cover that will survive the rigours of the tackroom and still be found when it’s most needed.

It’s laid out in four sections, the first dealing with general first aid, then an overview of body systems, an outline of how to approach emergency situations and finally a look at diagnostic procedures and treatments.

Each condition begins with ‘the bare facts’, followed by a paragraph on what to look for, what action an owner can take, and finally, what your vet may do and what can go wrong.

The text is complimented by a selection of intelligent line drawing and excellent photographs – the wounds are spectacular, but the depictions of progressive healing should comfort owners of recently injured horses.

It’s written in a crisply conversational style that neither patronises the reader nor assumes a prior degree in biology, and the layout is sufficiently intuitive that it should be fairly easy to find the relevant information in an emergency.

Importantly, it begins by pointing out that horse-ownership is a huge responsibility and that owners should know their horse’s pulse, respiration and temperature before things go wrong. It describes exactly how to do that with excellent diagrams of where and how to take a pulse, which every horse owner needs to know and few vets have time to teach. Similarly, the sections on ‘How to get the best from your vet’ and the difficult, but essential section on ‘Euthanasia’ are really useful and sensitively written.

This is a useful, thoughtful book; the kind of thing everyone should read before they ever get a horse, although it is not a comprehensive a first aid manual nor is it a manual of horse diseases, although it does stray into some areas of non-emergency medicine. But it is compact and highly readable, which makes up for any minor omissions – the kind of thing you could give to a friend next birthday and be highly popular for having done so.

Your Horse’s Health First Aid, by Anna Rush MRCVS, is published by David and Charles, RRP £19.99.