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.

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 and insurance company.

Vet Karen Coumbe MRCVS recommends that you should also keep a practical first aid kit with you when you and your horses are travelling anywhere.

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
  • Clean towel
  • Large roll of cotton wool
  • Round-ended curved scissors for trimming hair from wound edges
  • Anti-bacterial scrub eg Hibiscrub or Pevidine
  • Pack of sterile saline — very handy when on the move
  • Ready-to-use poultice eg Animalintex, Poultex
  • Wound gel eg Intrasite Gel
  • Non-stick dressings eg Melolin, Rondopad
  • Gamgee and large scissors for cutting it to size
  • A selection of bandages including:
    • Stretch cotton bandages eg Knit-firm, K-band and crepe bandages
    • Adhesive bandages eg Elastoplast
    • Elastic conforming self-adhesive bandages eg Vetrap, Co-plus
    • Tubular bandage eg Tubigrip
    • Synthetic orthopaedic bandage eg Soffban
    • A set of stable bandages
  • A roll of electrical insulating tape 2cm wide
  • A roll of black PVC tape or silver duct tape 7.5 or 10cm wide
  • A gentian violet or antibiotic spray
  • Petroleum jelly eg Vaseline
  • Wound powder containing fly repellent
  • Wound gel such as Dermagel, intrasite gel or vetalintex
  • Small pair of tweezers
  • Thermometer
  • Paper and pencil
  • A bright torch for inspecting wounds in poor light

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

Prescribed medicines

In certain circumstances, your vet may prescribe particular medicines that cannot be obtained over the counter for your first aid kit. This may happen, for example, if your horse has a recurrent problem. If the vet feels confident in your ability to detect the early signs and that immediate treatment is beneficial, sufficient medication may be left with you so treatment can begin while a visit is being arranged.