First aid tips for horses

As a horse owner, seeing your pet in pain is a heart-breaking experience. Whether they were injured in the paddock or whilst riding, you may find yourself in a situation where your horse requires first aid.

First aid for horses can be complicated and because they are such large animals, you may struggle to administer medical treatment. In this guide, we’ve shared the first aid tips for horses that should be used whilst waiting for an emergency appointment with your vet:

Things to include in a first aid kit for horses

Your horse’s first aid kit should always be kept close by as you never know when injuries may occur. The paddock or stable may be the best place to store it, but remember that the kit should be carried with you when travelling.

The following items should be included in your horse first aid kit:

  • Bandages
  • Antiseptic cleaners
  • A clean towel
  • A thermometer
  • Poultices, such as balm or moisturiser
  • Absorbent padding, such as cotton

a vet applying a dressing to a horse's hoof

Common equine injuries

When left to roam in a field or paddock, your horse may run into items that could cause injury – even if you weren’t aware they could pose a risk!

Some of the most common equine injuries include:


If your horse encounters something hot, such as metal on a scorching day, it could cause serious burns and damage to the skin. However, burns can also happen if your pet comes into contact with corrosive chemicals and can be caused due to friction.

You can perform horse first aid on burns by cleaning the area with antiseptic cleaner. Then, try to stop the bleeding by firmly holding a towel against the area.

If a material has been burned onto their skin, don’t attempt to remove it as this can cause more damage. Instead, wait for the vet to advise further.

Skin punctures

Another common injury that horses can acquire is skin punctures. This usually happens when they come into contact with sharp pieces of metal or barbed wire, and you may need to administer first aid to your horse.

The only way to know how to treat a puncture is to ask a vet. This is because it depends on the location of the puncture, the material that caused it and how deep it is. However, they may ask you to remove the object or place a bandage over the affected area.

In case of an emergency

If the injury that your horse has sustained is serious and requires immediate medical attention, the first thing you should do is contact your vet. They will be able to advise you on the best way to care for your horse in the interim of an emergency appointment.

As you can see, keeping a first aid kit for horses is extremely important and there should always be one at hand. Remember that having horse insurance will help with expensive vet fees while allowing your horse to get back on the mend.

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