If you’re a new horse owner, there’s a simple truth that you’re likely in the process of discovering: a horse is an accident looking for a place to happen. Cats might have nine lives, and dogs a nose for getting into trouble, but horses are in a class all their own when it comes to needing nursing. It seems they’re always coming in from the field with a knee the size of a cantaloupe after a well-placed kick from a pasture mate; or tearing their hides open on a protruding nail you swear wasn’t there yesterday; or getting their corneas scratched in an altercation with a thorn bush. If you haven’t memorized your veterinarian’s phone number by now, trust me, you will.

If you want to look on the positive side of the equine propensity for injury, just think how it’s sharpening your emergency first-aid skills. A couple of years of horse ownership makes most of us very experienced at wrapping legs, hosing wounds, and giving injections (even if the very sight of a needle and syringe used to make you faint dead away!). Along the way, we tend to acquire cabinets full of antibiotic lotions and potions, rolls of bandages in every conceivable length, size, and stretchiness, and various other bottles and daubers and jars of “stuff” for treating minor crises. Yet with all the clutter, when we do need something specific for an emergency, we often can’t find it!

Some Handy Extras

Here are a few items that might not fit in your first-aid kit’s container, but which are helpful to have around:

  • A twitch to divert your horse’s attention while you doctor his injuries.