Caring for our horses and other barn critters – as well as ourselves – means being prepared for emergencies such as illness and injury. That means every horse owner should assemble a basic first aid kit. For most of us that means stocking many of the obvious items – vetwrap, thermometer and stethoscope, iodine, syringes and needles.

But as I have expanded my knowledge beyond traditional veterinary first aid, I have come to rely on a number of less obvious items for the care and comfort of my equine companions and myself. My three “don’t leave home without it” items that travel with me are the following:

Bach Rescue Remedy
A blend of five of the 38 Bach flower essence remedies made with spring water infused with wild flowers, Rescue Remedy is great for diffusing stress, anxiety and any type of emotional upset in your horse and youself. This could include stress from travel or competition, fear in new situations or anxiety from illness or injury.

I carry a treatment bottle of Rescue Remedy in my vehicle at all times and have used it many times for people and animals under stresses ranging from acute injury pain to emotional upset to performance anxiety. It's easy to create your own treatment bottle: you just need a clean glass dropper bottle, spring or distilled water and a preservative such as brandy, cider vinegar or vegetable glycerin plus four to six drops per ounce of RR.

For your traditional first aid kit, you’ll want to gather a number of items – bandaging materials, wound care substances and some basic meds. Here’s a good, comprehensive list for you to consider.

For an excellent source on all kinds of first aid issues, try this page from Equisearch, the publishers of Equus, Practical Horseman and other horse-related magazines.

Photo by Alana Harrison courtesy of

Follow this link for more flower essences you might find useful when working with horses and other animals.

Lavender Essential Oil
One of the most versatile of the essential oils, lavender is in my vehicle at all times in a traveling essential oil kit, on my bedside table and in my luggage when I’m on a trip. In a word, lavender is the master soother. It takes the edge off stress and fear, lessens insomnia, takes the sting out of a superficial burn or sting, eases the soreness of a strain, sprain, spasm or pulled muscle, and prevents or lessens bruising. Its scent is pleasant and relaxing to most people and animals and it is gentle enough to use undiluted on all but the most sensitive skin.

Prepare yourself and your horse for the mental and physical effects of competition by putting a few drops of lavender EO on your hands and rubbing them together to warm the oil and release the scent, then both inhale the aroma. This oil is also good for horses and humans doing therapy work to help maintain calm focus.

Here are some additional essential oils you might want to have on hand for your horse and yourself.

Arnica Montana Homeopathic Remedy
Arnica is my first line of treatment for any physical trauma, horse or human. In my experience, it has a truly amazing ability to reduce swelling, soreness and bruising in the bodies of horses, dogs, cats and me!

It’s an all-purpose anti-inflammatory with no gastric side effects and can be given after surgery, before and after strenuous work, and to help relieve arthritis pain, headaches and even toothache. For those whose allergies and sensitivities prevent them from taking most meds, arnica can truly be a wonderful resource to alleviate pain and speed healing.

For a few other remedies to keep in your homeopathic first aid kit, use this link.

© 2015 Desert Horse Services/Stacey Kollman



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