Contending with injuries is a recurring issue for most horse owners. Such injuries can range from mild to severe, and can even be the result of training and workout procedures intended to strengthen horses. Because injuries are bound to happen, knowing how and when to apply first-aid is vital to maintaining a healthy animal.
Compile a First-Aid Kit
A good first-aid kit must be able to treat many different types of injuries, from sprains and tears to lacerations and abrasions. Accordingly, you must ensure that your kit contains to the following items to be truly effective:
- Antibacterial Ointment
- Leg Wraps/Bandages
- Petroleum Jelly
- Rolls of gauze
- Saline Solution
- Surgical Tape
- Syringe (for flushing wounds)
You may also want to consider creating two kits, with one to be stored at home while the other can be taken on the road.
Understand the Different Types of Injuries
It’s exceedingly common for horses to become injured, especially for those involved in more rigorous pursuits. Knowing how to address these different injuries can be the first step towards affording your horse quality care:
- Puncture Wounds – Depending on the location and depth of a puncture wound, professional treatment may be called for. In less serious cases, flush the wound thoroughly with a sterile saline solution to ensure all debris is removed. Once the wound is cleaned and bleeding has stopped, dress the wound in damp bandages.
- Lacerations – Investigating the laceration thoroughly can give a much more accurate indication of depth. Any torn ligaments or tendons will require veterinary assistance to be sure your horse doesn’t lose mobility as a result of the injury. For lacerations on the leg, consider applying a standing wrap to the horse’s other leg to increase support during healing.
- Abrasions- Abrasions can usually be treated at home without further medical intervention. As with other injuries, be sure to clean the abrasion carefully to remove any dirt or debris. You should also allow your horse a bit of time to recover from the injury before returning to a demanding workout plan.
How to Prevent Tendon Injuries
Tendon injuries are extremely common, especially after workouts or training exercises. Though it’s important to know how to treat these injuries once they occur, there are also quite a few methods of prevention that can be even more helpful.
Submitting to a regular shoeing schedule will help greatly diminish stress to soft-tissues, thereby keeping tendon injuries at bay. Conditioning and warm-up procedures are also extremely important. Conditioning typically involves long slow walks of about 45 minutes, while warm-ups entail a good 15 minute walk before rides. Icing can also help treat and even prevent further injury from occurring, which is why many owners invest in automated icing machinery that simplifies the often difficult process of applying ice to an injured leg.
Providing proper care to your horse requires quite a bit of work. However, for those dedicated horse owners this hard work is more than worth it when considering the rewards these animals afford on a daily basis.