b'SMART AND SAFE HORSE CAMPINGHorse Health Issues When Camping says. If they have an increased heart and respiratory rate (normal range is 28-44 beats per minute, but know your horses normal When we head down the trail and out into the backcountry onresting rate), dont keep going. Let them rest, and dont overtighten horseback, we quickly leave the comforts of cell phone coveragethe cinch. I see a lot of that in horses that are out of shape and are behind. Because anything can go wrong on the trail, Jack Gillettebeing pushed too hard. We need to let our animals do the same as we Jr., DVM, of Wildflower Veterinary Services, in Graham, Washington,would for ourselves. advocates for common sense and client education. He is an activeGastric ulcers Ulcers dont start on a trail ride, says Gillette. member of Back Country Horsemen of America and offers a back- What happens is you have an animal (with ulcers) that gets over-country equine first-aid seminar to BCHA members as well as thestressed, and then things get worse. When acid produced in the lower horse-owning public.portion of the stomach bounces up on the upper squamous cell layer Heres his advice for handling common horse health issues that canof the stomach (which is more vulnerable to damage than the lower), happen on the trail: it can cause ulcers. Colic Other than getting your horse back to civilization as soon asThis can also happen in horses that dont start out with ulcers possible to be treated, theres not a whole lot you can do, he says.but are very nervous or have an empty stomach. In all cases Gillette Most people think that if you walk (the colicky horse) that will help.advises offering forage to horses before riding or strenuous activity.In most cases what happens is you end up with an exhausted, colickyInsect bite reactions Gillette recommends applying permethrin horse. The best option is to pony the horse out (lead the horse while7% spray to repel biting insects, including ticks. He carries antihista-riding another horse), and get to help. mines on rides to treat insect hypersensitivity.Carrying veterinarian-prescribed flunixin meglumine (Banamine) inDehydration This condition affects many animals in hot weather. your first-aid kit for this situation is also helpful unless you can get theAt every stream you cross, give your horses time to drink, says Gil-horse to where he can receive veterinary care. Talk to your veterinarianlette. Avoid allowing them to drink too much or drink extremely cold about delivery methods, contraindications, and what to do if you dontwater all at once. Let them drink a bit and pause. Then take them have phone service to reach him or her and your horse colics.back to drink more. In very dry areas you might need to pack in extra Wounds Have a selection of different wraps (e.g., nonstick padswater on horseback and a collapsible bucket. [such as Telfa], self-adhesive flexible bandage tape [Vetrap], brownIf they are picky about water you may want to put electrolyte gauze, and cotton elastic adhesive cloth tape [Elastikon]) in your first- powder in their water three to four days ahead of time to disguise the aid kit, says Gillette. Slap the wound with Nolvasan ointment, coverwater at the new place.with Telfa pads, wrap with brown gauze and Vetrap. Cover with Elastikon.Sunburn Horses with white noses or faces can be predisposed Clean wounds in difficult-to-bandage areas as best as possible,to sunburn. In those cases you can use human sunblock lotion to then use (aluminum hydroxide spray), an occlusive spray which allowsprevent burns, says Gillette. You can also ride with a UV-light-blocking drainage to seep out of the wound but keeps dirt and bugs out, heflymask, including a nose apron. Keep in mind that horses with pink suggests. You can get antibiotics if you need them once you get outskin ridden in or kept at sunny high altitudes are at greatly increased (and to a vet). risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma (cancer) in various areas Eye injuries For these the horse owner must be on top of thingsof the face, particularly around the eyes.right away. You can rinse out debris with human eyewash, but do notIngestion of some types of toxic plants (e.g., St. Johns Wort, buck-delay in getting the eye examined by a veterinarian, especially if thewheat, certain clovers) or some medications can cause increased sun eye is closed and sore. sensitivity. Be aware of all the risk factors, and plan ahead.Exhaustion Equine exertional rhabdomyolysis, or tying-up, is aThe most important first-aid preparation we can all do at home? muscle condition usually caused by poor conditioning or an electrolyteTeach our animals to stand still and be treated, says Gillette.imbalance. If you think your horse is getting tired, get off, GilletteAlayne Blickleof this, particularly for horse campsThis also applies at local day ride trail- Take-Home Messagewhere new people are coming in regu- heads and parking areas, she says. Kanes best advice for horse camping larly, Kane says.If you are packing in to camp in thenewbies is to do a dry run. Some people Some campsites have manure bunkersbackcountry (rather than at your trailer),like to drive to where they plan to camp in which you can dump manure (dontyou can manage manure by dispersing itfirst to have a look around and get a feel forget to pack a wheelbarrow and fork inat campsites. This means scattering thefor things, she says. Or you can also go the trailer). Otherwise, you need to takemanure so that it is not building up, sayson an organized camping trip or trail ride all that manure home with you, saysKane. Dont be a problem for camperswith others more experienced than you Kane. The manure has got to go some- coming in after you. for your first time out.place. If 10 people and their horses areBack Country Horsemen chapters there camping each day, the accumula- Trailer Safety (BCHA.org) hold trail rides and overnight tions of manure and (spent) hay are goingLastly, dont forget to check that yourcamping trips regularly, for instance. to make a mess.horse trailer is safe for hauling. Is theCamping with a horse requires that Kane says some horse campers savefloor sturdy? Do all the taillights work?you think through everything you and used feed bags and use them to clean upDo you know how change a tireandyour horse might need to stay safe and after their horses. This way, you can takehow old are the tires? Are your spares (forhave fun. Done well, horse camping is an the waste home to your compost systemtruck and trailer) in good shape? Haveexhilarating, relaxing time away from the instead of leaving an unsightly and envi- your truck and trailer inspected and ser- daily grind, in the company of nature and ronmentally challenging situation behind.viced at the start of camping season. your equine companion. h26August 2019The Horse | TheHorse.com'