Travelling and competing horses is a complicated business and it is not unknown for injury to occur, either whilst travelling or during an event, so it is well worth keeping a small veterinary first aid kit in your lorry or trailer for just those occasions. Large affiliated events and competitions will have vets in attendance but smaller events will not so horse owners do need to be self-sufficient on these occasions.
Check out our article on Things You should have in your Equine Kit for more details.
A good emergency travel First Aid kit could include the following items:-
- Two or three rolls of vet wrap which is sticky, self-adhesive bandage
- Individually wrapped sterile dressings of different sizes, the ones with a non-adhesive centre and sticky edges are the best
- A sharp pair of scissors
- A roll of gauze dressing which can be used to provide additional padding for dressings or cut into sections and used to clean a wound
- A small bowl to put water in
- Hibiscrub or some other antibacterial wound cleaner
- A powerful small torch, useful if an incident occurs when you are driving home in the dark or if the light is poor when you are trying to attend to the horse.
The main purpose of a travel kit is to provide a minimum amount of care and protection for a wound before it can be treated properly, either at home or in a veterinary hospital. Replace the items in your travel kit if you use any and if you are fortunate enough not to have to use them, check them regularly to make sure they are all still within date and no damp or water has got in.
Injury to horses whilst travelling or competing is one thing but having an accident on the road whilst in transit or a vehicle breakdown is quite another. There are a number of items which can help to keep your passengers, both human and equine, safe in these conditions and these are always worth carrying in your towing vehicle and lorry. These may include:-
- Yellow fluorescent jackets or tabards, these are invaluable if you are directing traffic away from your vehicle or just ensuring that you are visible to other drivers whilst you wait for recovery
- A red reflective warning triangle which can be placed in the road further back in the carriageway to alert other drivers of the hazard ahead
- Temporary lighting, ideally something hand held but which can also be placed on a stand on the ground or on top of a vehicle. Some breakdowns include complete power failure so you could lose your headlights and hazard lights
- Bungees of varying sizes, elastic cord with strong spring clips at either end, they are ideal for running repairs to doors and ramps in order to get the vehicle home
- A sharp Stanley knife
- Spare headcollars and lead ropes
Purchasing full recovery for your horse is an essential part of your motoring costs as companies will not recover your vehicle with the horse still on board so separate arrangements are required for the equine passengers. Recovery of vehicle and horse in this situation is really expensive and you can’t always rely on calling a friend especially if you are travelling long distance.
Always remember to make sure your horse is happy and well rested before you travel home after a competition, that he is not too hot and has adequate hay and water. If you do then have a breakdown or experience a serious delay due to an unrelated traffic issue, the horse is far more likely to wait quietly for that additional time. Always ensure you have enough hay, water and feed for a journey that may end up being much longer than originally planned.
Remember to check out Oakford Stockfeeds for all your equestrian needs!