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16th July 2006

Preparing for Emergencies


Recent events have prompted this article

You think it will never happen to you – but no matter how conscientiously you care for your horses, bad things, sometimes catastrophic things, will occur. Chance only favours those who are prepared and in owning horses being prepared should be a priority.

Start with the essentials when preparing for horse emergencies. You should have an easily accessible list of the most important contact names and telephone numbers in the case of an accident or illness.

Included on your list should be the names and phone numbers of your primary veterinarian, a back up veterinarian (including for second opinions), the closest veterinary hospital, and if insurance is a factor, then the number of your agent or insurer as it is a policy condition that any illness or accident has to be reported immediately to your insurer.

It is also handy to have a couple of numbers for horse carriers at your fingertips.

Know the Vital Signs

A vigilant horse handler can often spot a problem before it becomes life threatening and knowing how to react in certain situations can be very important. Watch for any change in your horses daily habits.

Emergency Kit

A well stocked emergency kit is an essential aid for any unexpected illness or accident. You should keep an eye on the kits contents to make certain that anything used is replaced. It is also essential to check expiry dates.

A well stocked emergency kit may contain items that hardly seem necessary on a day-to-day basis but it is better to be prepared for any eventuality and come up having more than you need. For example a 30 feet length of rope will often come in handy. It is better than a halter as it can be made into a halter with enough left over for a lead line.

Learn Proper Response Procedures


You should make an effort to become familiar with common veterinary/medical emergencies and what to do if they occur as you can minimize any possible damaging effects or even help to save your horses life.

Don’t hesitate to call a veterinarian but before you make the call take as calm an inventory of vital statistics as possible, note the symptoms and write them down. Be prepared to follow the directions the veterinarian provides as it is imperative in equine emergencies to provide proper care and response whilst awaiting for the veterinarian to arrive.