Thursday, June 13, 2013

How to ensure you are prepared for disasters! (Albeit minor ones!)


Been really busy recently with a good weekend at Mattingley - Squirrel jumped calmly round the BE100 (an achievement in itself!), Armani was 2nd and JP was 6th. 

Squirrel at Mattingley

As I write this we are on our way to Aston-Le-Walls (it’s currently 5:12am...) with 3 young horses. It’s been a really busy last few days and I was working on my own yesterday, with 7 horses to do, 3 to ride, 3 to wash and plait and prepare stud holes for today and then we had to leave at 5pm for an evening show with two others.

It was pretty full on and the last thing I needed was to bring one of the eventers in and find blood running down both front legs. On closer inspection I could see it was a pretty big and deep cut, and the leg was swelling pretty quickly around the tendon, so I called the vet and thought of alternative plans for taking another horse to fill his spot.

The vet had a good look and palpitation, and confirming that he was not sore and was sound, she said to take him. We cold hosed his leg, cleaned him up, applied Flamazine cream and bandaged him. I am so glad I had a very organised vet box at the ready - it’s so important to have a full vet kit as well as lots of spares. 

You can’t plan for accidents and often there isn’t enough time to go and buy first aid items when they do occur. It can also save you a lot of money – he would not be going eventing today if we didn’t have the correct equipment to keep the cut clean and as pain free as possible.

Equine Vet Kit Essentials

I would say a vital equine vet kit checklist would be:

Animalintex - This what you would use as a poultice to draw infection out of a wound

Veterinary  gamgee – A pad to go under bandages or over a poultice to provide support to the injured area, plus this can be put straight onto an infected or discharging wound.

Bandages – Quite often it’s a good idea to bandage the leg where the injury has occurred, even if the injury is above or below the bandage. Either veterinary gamgee or normal gamgee can be used under the bandage, but if it’s normal gamgee make sure this doesn’t go directly on a cut as it is not clean and the cut could get infected.

Cotton Wool – Great for cleaning cuts with hibiscrub mixed with boiling hot water (allow to cool before applying, but boiling the water makes it sterile, or cleaning eyes and noses with warm water.

Vetwrap – Is a cohesive bandage ideal for wrapping over veterinary gamgee, particularly as if the horse moves you don’t lose the whole bandage and have to start again, as it sticks to itself.

Hibiscrub – Is an antiseptic, antimicrobial cleansing wash, most commonly used on horses when they have a cut that either is infected, or has the potential to become infected. Mix with boiling water in a sterilised container and apply to the horse’s cut with clean cotton wool (once the water has cooled down!)

Saline Solution – A very sterile water based spray for thorough cleansing of the wound.

Purple Spray – An antiseptic spray, ideal for horses who are sore and won’t let you touch the injured area. Don't miss though or you will be purple! 

Sudocrem – An antiseptic healing cream. Essential part of any vet, can be used for almost any minor cut or graze, sore or irritated mouths and can be used as one of the many treatments of mud fever.

Wound Cream – Some form of cream that is antiseptic and ideally should have healing properties is essential.

Wound Powder -  Wound powder is an antiseptic healing powder for cuts that ideally need drying out, for example, a cut around or below the fetlock as this is most likely to get wet.

Scissors and Hoofpick – You’d be surprised how much you need them!

Tape – Ideal for putting over vetwrap or bandages so they don’t come undone, particularly in wet weather vetwrap isn’t as sticky!

Metal Bowl – A small stainless steel bowl is the most sterile material to use for the hot water and hibiscrub.

Syringe – A large syringe is always useful for flushing out wounds or squirting medication powders mixed with water into the horse’s mouth (always tilt the head up when doing this).

Twitch – May not be necessary but if you need it you can guarantee you won’t be able to find it! A useful tool to put the horse in a trance like state, if they won’t keep still or you’re dealing with a difficult area such as a cut on the hock.These are possible to make out of bailing string and a bit - tie a piece of string around the ring of the bit and then put the string round the lip, twist the bit round and clip it onto the head collar. Make sure you use an extra (double ended) clip, to clip to the bit and the headcollar, so that if you are tying up the horse or even holding it, you aren't tying it to the twitch as this could be very dangerous. Some horses react badly to a twitch and it is often safer to have someone holding them.

This wouldn’t necessarily be the same for everyone, but I certainly wouldn’t want to be without those items!

Anyway, now on our way back, I’m pleased to report they all went really well, the two 5yo’s (Tiny and Leo) doing their first BE100’s had good dressages and clear showjumping, Leo was double clear, Tiny was caught out by a distance to a skinny and just didn’t make the skinny (but as her name suggests, she’s only little!) Her greenness showed a bit the whole way round so she may drop back down to intro for a few runs.

Tiny in the SJ at Aston

My 6yo ride was only kept out of placings by time faults cross country, which I was pretty pleased with, as he performed solidly in all three phases. I noticed a huge improvement from all of them in this early part of the season . So, looking forward to the next event!

Cosmo flying round the XC

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