Trailhead Supply Blog / first aid
On Tuesday and Thursday night there are pack classes being taught at Trailhead Supply. So, this week when the Thursday night class showed up, right after they asked is the coffee was ready? They all asked where’s the list? What list? The list of what is in your first aid kit you carry. (I was glad to see they all read Wednesday’s blog, Coffee with Andy) But so much for staying on track at pack class…So first aid it was… I carry 3 first aid kits…The first one is in the truck and stays with the truck and trailer. The second one is the main go-to kit. Everyone who packs with me knows it is secured to Lucy’s pack saddle anchored between the steel hoops of her decker. Its not packed away in some mantied load or stuffed in a pannier somewhere. It’s right out in the open where anyone can get to it, because when you need this kit, you need it now!!! The 3rd kit is a smaller one that drops into my saddle bags so I can tend to those who pack with me. We all have some health issues as we are getting older, and we make sure we all know what those issues are. Here is where the extra inhaler is kept along with the EpiPen, glucose test kit, and that big bottle of ibuprofen….and a bandaid or two. In this kit there is also a list of emergency contacts.
There are some must haves vet wrap, Banamine and wound salve. Then build your kit from there. I always take plenty of rolled gauze, I always use it before I vet wrap, If the leg swells between the padding of the rolled gauze and the stretch of the vet wrap it helps not to cut off circulation. To hold leg dressings from sliding down a leg I use elastikon it’s a super sticky, and stretchy adhesive tape. Some of the other items I pack along are Phenylbutazone aka Bute. I always carry a tube of electrolytes, 4 x 4 gauze squares, silver sulfadiazine cream, a digital thermometer with a string and clip to attach it to the tail, stethoscope, sharpie marker for making notes on bandages, scissors, blood stop, and twitch. The final item is a reference card with that important data on it I can never remember like horse’s average temperature range and heart beats per minute. Everyone has something that has worked well for them and something they wish they had at the time they needed it. So far this has worked for me and my crew…Good luck out there and lets all hope you never have to use any of you first aid items.
The first thing that comes to mind when you talk about first aid in the back country, or for that matter just out for a day ride on your favorite trail, is...Helicopters!!! Whoa!!! Hold on, the chance of needing a chopper ride to the hospital, is well, statistically just not going to happen. I’m not saying don’t be prepared for the worse case scenario, but lets look at the everyday things that happen on the trail that you can fix and make better. Since the weather isn’t getting any better, and you are still stuck indoors, now would be a great time to go through our first aid kits. Organize, and update them, or for that matter put one together, in the chance we need to use one this riding season. We all should be carrying a first aid kit of some sort with us. Plus, we need to be able to use all that’s in that kit, otherwise why pack it along? I use to belong to a Back Country Horsemen chapter that had a club first aid kit. This kit was put together by a retired veterinarian. It had everything in it! I mean everything…In fact it had so much stuff in it, it never got taken out on the trail because of its size and weight. What good was it, just being left behind in storage? I brought it home one day and went through it. All the meds had expired, froze, or leaked out ruining everything else that it came in contact with. As I went through this massive kit trying to salvage as much as I could, I made two piles. The first was everything that I knew what it was and how to use and the second, everything I had no clue what it was, or if I did, I had no clue how to use it. This is what I used as the starter list for my own first aid kit. You’ll quickly notice that a lot of the items are duplicates to what you already carry in your human first aid kit, why pack twice as much? Condense. Horse first aid just isn’t about cuts and tears it could be about internal issues, for example colic, or it could be about a rock hung in a shoe. Do you have the tools to fix that? A gall from your cinch, rope burns etc. etc etc. the list is never ending possibilities. Now’s the time to get ready we only have a couple more weeks till spring.
Another issue that is never really talked about when dealing with first aid is your riding partners… Do they have any health issues you should know about? ASK!!! And, ask what you may need to know to treat them. Diabetes, heart issues, and allergic to bees are just the tip of the iceberg. If they have a health issue, they’ll know how to treat it if an issue arises, ask them before they can’t tell you, or you could be back to that chopper issue … Get ready we are getting closer, In fact it has stopped snowing here and the sun is out, still below zero but the sun is out and did I say it stopped snowing…Come on SPRING!!!!
See you on the trail
PS- Comment with your first aid kit essential items that may be regional to the terrain you ride in. We will publish a list and photos of ours later this week. We would love to include some of the items you take with you in our master list that maybe don’t pertain to where we ride.