Skip to main content

Ellie's Big Adventure - Equine Affaire 2019

On the last day of September, I received an email from the Vermont Morgan Horse Association asking if I would be interested in bringing Ellie to Equine Affaire in Massachusetts from November 7-10.  I became a member of VMHA this year when I decided to compete at Vermont Heritage Days; so even though I live in Maine and not Vermont haha, I made a snap decision to say yes!  
Honestly, it was 21 minutes after the email came in that I responded yes!  Then I had to figure out how to actually make it all happen hahahahaha.  Typical.
I attended Equine Affaire as a spectator a few times way back when and then for many years I ran the breed booth for the Standardbreds, including a four-day stint in C Barn with Dreamy back in 2013.  It is fun and exhausting to travel 4+ hours one way from home to talk with thousands of people, walk thousands of miles around the venue (ok, not that far but close), and ride in demos on a horse that has never seen such a huge venue (though in her defense, Ellie was …

What's in YOUR tack room? First Aid Kit edition

I have always kept a well-stocked first aid kit for my horses.  It is a no-brainer and it has always amazed me when I hear about/talk to horse owner's who have never taken the time to understand how to administer basic first aid.  Even if you board your horse, I firmly believe it is a horse owner's responsibility to understand how to treat the horse before the vet arrives (or even in place of vet care for minor problems).

When I moved into the new barn here at our new house, I had my dad build me a wooden cabinet to store all the first-aid supplies.  I do have a large assortment of wraps and towels as well, but I keep them in a separate trunk.  ;-)

I keep the items I use most often on the bottom shelf.  I have a variety of gauze pads in various sizes, rolled gauze, and surgical pads.  Obviously, these are for underneath vetwrap and a standing wrap for cuts.  I also have two large cotton rolls, but I have honestly had these forever (think 20 years) because I really have never needed them.  I have found a gauze pad, gauze roll (if needed), vetwrap, and a quilt/standing wrap works the best.  

I have bacitracin ointment, which is usually my got-to after Derma Gel (not pictured because I think it made its way into my show trunk) for any nicks, cuts, or scrapes.  I have a thermometer, which has a long string and clothespin attached because trust me, you do not want to lose a thermometer in a horse's rectum.  I use the petroleum jelly to insert said thermometer.  I have a couple of empty syringes of various sizes for administering meds as needed.  The mineral oil and Gas-X are always on hand just in case of a colic episode (I actually used up my mineral oil on a calf this spring, so this is a brand new bottle I hope to never need!).  I have small samples of Bannix, which is a decent product, but I do prefer the Derma Gel.  Scissors of course are always handy and I have a stethoscope to listen to gut sounds or heart/lungs as needed.  The metal bowl is handy for washing out small cuts (I usually use Betadine, but my bottle's top broke so it is currently stored in a safe spot in the feed room with a makeshift cover.  I don't want it to spill!  And I always have a tube of Banamine, electrolytes, and Ulcergard on hand (though I just used up the last dose of Ulcergard for our last show - always one dose the morning of - and I am waiting for the new tube with my next Smartpak order.  For some reason, I have a random tube of HA paste from Smartpak here which probably was a free sample somewhere and I ought to chuck it LOL!)

Middle shelf has items that are a bit less common.  There is a big tub of Bute and I always have TriHist and Dexamethasone on hand because of Dreamy's COPD.  I have a variety of prescription eye ointments from the past few years between Sparky having a scratch on her lens to Snappy having blocked tear ducts when I first got her.  I use Aluspray a lot for cuts after they have healed to the point where they don't need a wrap or for a cut where you just cannot wrap it.  I have Wonder Dust, because I have not had to deal with proud flesh in a long time, it is perfect for that.  I don't use Corona ointment much, but I have some.  The Bigeoil is a leftover though I generally prefer Absorbine liniment.  The MTG, rubbing alcohol, witch hazel, arnica, Clear Eyes, and iodine are on an as-needed basis.  The Skin So Soft from Avon is perfect for taking off pine pitch (I live in Maine and the mares will rub against a pine tree every so often!)  The Dermafas and Krudzapper were bought in hopes that it would clear up weird bed sores on Snappy's off side (it hasn't - stay tuned for a post on that...).  I really like the Effol hoof oil, especially for showing, because while I am not a huge fan of painting hooves with Hoof Black (though I have done it for in-hand), it is nice to have the hooves look oiled for showing.  I haven't had to use the Tuff Stuff or Thrush Buster in years, but both are handy when needed. 

And on the very top shelf are the items that I really don't want to ever have to use haha!  Thankfully, the only horse who liked to develop hoof abscesses was Reva and she is living up north doing low level pony club and distance rides now!  Hoof abscess must haves include diapers, Animalintex poultice pads, ichthammol, Epsom salts, vetwrap, and duct tape!  I have size 3 diapers here, which must have been the right size.  I tend to stay with black or blue vetwrap but you can see I won a bunch of "fun" prints at a show last fall haha.  I have never really needed to use the hoof packing much, so that is another item that has been in my first aid kit since the beginning of time with the rolled cotton LOL!  I have Dial soap which is great for washing everything, cloth tape (I prefer duct tape with horses but this has been kicking around the barn for a while), and cotton balls.  Bag Balm is a staple in the barn, right?  But again, it is not usually my ointment of choice.  And I have two balling guns that are really not my favorite to use, and one must be incredibly careful not to puncture the esophagus, but they do help when there is really no choice but to get several pills into a horse (aka Dreamy's episode with Lyme!).  

So, that is my version of a well stocked first aid kit.  Remember to always consult with your vet about learning to use any/all of the products I have shown here.  Is there anything you use or have in your first aid kit that I should have?