Horse Safety- 10 Things You Need in Your Horse Trailer
By Kelly Sheehan
All equestrians know that summer time is show time. But it can also be a very dangerous time, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety- where they state that the three most dangerous months of the year on the roadways are June, July, and August. This is mostly attributed to the increased miles most Americans drive during the summer months. It comes as no surprise, due to busy horse show schedules, that summer months often see an increase in horse trailer accidents, as well. The best course of action is to always put horse safety first and to always be prepared.
Numerous recommendations for equine first aid kits exist and here are some examples from breed-related organizations, university agriculture extension offices and animal health companies. While first aid and emergency kits should be customized to the individuals and equines being transported, below is a list of 10 items you may not have thought to include in your emergency kit. Horse Tack Co.has a great selection of tack that can help keep your horse as safe and healthy possible during travel. Make sure to use the promo code “LoveTheRide” upon checkout to receive 15% off your emergency kit essentials and more, all-the-time and anytime.
- Emergency Phone Numbers– Plan your route ahead of time and, especially on long trips, consider loading a few vet clinics phone numbers or friendly boarding barns into your cell phone in case of emergency. You may need overnight accommodations, or a local barn may have a vet recommendation for you.
- Tube socks- Tube socks can easily be cut to open on both ends and be used to hold bandages in place or to wrap an area to keep it clean quickly. Tube socks can also be used as a makeshift blindfold to decrease stress if your horse has to be unloaded from a trailer due to fire or a visual stressor. Not to mention dry, replacement socks may come in handy if one of the humans is stuck outside in the rain or mud.
Reflective Gear- If you ever ride at night, you might already own one, a reflective vest is lightweight and will keep you safe on dark roads if you have to get out of the vehicle. Reflective tape is a good, easy to find adhesive in limited trailer light and can also be easily attached to clothing, halters and collars to keep humans, horses and dogs visible. You can also save space by stowing some of these retractable safety cones in case of trailer emergencies or unplanned roadside stops as well.
- Horse Quencher- Staying hydrated is key for horse health, Horse Quencher makes it easy to increase a horse’s water intake. It provides electrolytes and makes water more palatable. If an unexpected stop is made, limited water sources are available or even just if the county fairgrounds has a different water taste than home, Horse Quencher will ensure that your horses drink. Just be sure to start use at home and allow time for the horse to become familiar with the taste, as it comes in 4 yummy flavors.
- Basic Equipment for Vitals- A thermometer and stethoscope may be helpful in the event of an emergency. If the horse is in a safe area, being able to offer vitals to a veterinarian while they are on the way may help them prepare for the needs of the horse. Also consider keeping scissors and/or a bandage cutter in an easily accessible area.
- Diapers- Gauze diapers are breathable, allowing air to get to an injury and can be cut up for wound dressing. Regular baby diapers can also be used in a pinch, while swimming diapers are waterproof and fit the hoof well. Diapers can be used to absorb spills and prevent future injury as well as to absorb blood or other fluids that may be coming from an injury. Consider purchasing a reusable wound dressing holder to keep it all together.
- Your Phone- Keep an ICE (In Case of Emergency) contact on your phone, which can be accessed from the lock screen. Also consider setting the medical alert information on your phone to make first responders aware of any additional information. This information can often be entered through the “Health” app, on iPhones. Basic emergency information can be stored, along with a photo and notes can be added. Notes can also be added for any equine or canine passengers such as age, markings, and any relevant information (cannot tolerate sedatives, or approach from right when possible due to vision issue). Recent photos of the horse, with you in the picture, can also be kept on your phone to help identify the horse and support ownership claims.
- A Power Bank- Phones can die quickly in an emergency and if the emergency involves a power source such as a truck battery, you may not have a way to recharge the battery. Consider keeping a backup phone battery, or a power bank in your emergency kit.
- Notebook and Pen/Pencil/Permanent Marker- A notebook can be helpful for writing down ongoing vitals readings or any other observations that should be communicated to the vet or first responders, especially in a crisis, where information may be easily forgotten. Permanent marker can also be used to write down information on an arm or hand, in a pinch.
A Calming Product- Consider keeping a product on hand to help your horse relax in the event of an emergency. Try to not use medications, as they may mask symptoms. Calming products can help keep the horse comfortable while waiting for a veterinarian. Products such as Equi-Calm or Calm and Cool may be useful in an emergency. Rescue Remedy also makes lozenges for humans, which may help as well in an emergency. It may also be appropriate to discuss concerns with your vet and decide if an oral sedative might be appropriate to include in your emergency kit, in case of a long distance haul.
These recommendations are not exhaustive and items such as latex gloves and self-adhesive bandages are always a good idea to have on hand. The important thing is to check expiration dates on products and replace items that are used or expired. Tailor your emergency travel kit to items that are helpful or comforting for the humans, equines and other animals traveling with you. To view available emergency kit staples, or to ask questions, contact Horse Tack Co. and love your ride! Don’t forget to use the promo code “LoveTheRide” upon checkout to receive 15% off your order, all-the-time and anytime, safe travels!