Essentials for your Equine First Aid Kit

Essentials for your Equine First Aid Kit

Every horse owner at some time in their life will be in a situation where they will need (or wish they had) an equine first aid kit.    

Having an equine first aid kit is a necessity when you own a horse.  If you don't have one, here are some ideas to put in yours so that you will be prepared in an emergency. Having one for the barn and another for our horse trailer is a great idea so that you always have one on hand.

Here is a list of must-have basics that should be in every first aid kit:

1. Thermometer – preferably a mercury one. The thermometer should have a piece of string tied tightly to the end of it so it does not get sucked in rectally.
2. Scissors – Try to get special blunt end bandage cutting scissors so there are no sharp ends to harm a jumpy horse
3. Tweezers – you will need these for pulling out ticks or small splinters
4. A Twitch – there are some things your horse is going to object to so a twitch will help keep them calm
5. Lubrication – for using a thermometer
6. A metal bucket – metal buckets are easily sterilized and extremely useful
7. A rubber ground bucket – for soaking abscesses
8. Epsom salts – for soaking abscesses or pulling out infection when applied on a wet hot gauze pad and wrapped
9. Ice leg wraps – or ordinary gel ice packs
10. Bandages of all kinds: Lots of vet wrap, polo bandages, standing bandages, gauze bandages
11. Roll Cotton
12. Non-stick gauze – in varying sizes
13. Leg wraps – these are often used to wrap over initial gauze bandages for a larger wound and then secured by a polo or standing bandage
14. Diapers – great to cover an already bandaged foot and then put a duct tape boot over it.  They can also be used as extra padding for a large wound to help stop the bleeding until a vet arrives.
15. Duct Tape – to secure bandages, or to make a protective boot
16. Animal Lintex – an amazing product that is applied slightly damp, left on under a bandage to draw out infection, can be used for abscess, and all kinds of other soreness.
17. Surgical Gloves
18. Rubbing alcohol – for cleaning utensils
19. Saline – for flushing wounds
20.  Gentle Iodine 
21. Hibitane – a gentle disinfectant that can be used straight out of a bottle or you can buy it in individual small scrubby packs.
22. Bute – A non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, Phenylbutazone is like aspirin for horses. It can be bought in an oral paste, a powder, or a solution that can be injected. It is used to provide pain relief and reduce fevers.
23. Flunixin – A non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, Flunixin is more aggressive at targeting inflamed tissue and is usually used in the treatment of colic pain, join disease, and to alleviate fevers. A side effect of administering flunixin is usually diarrhea, and as a result, can be used to help in cases of a suspected GI blockage.
24. Polysporin eye drops – this can be used for mild eye irritation. However, there are some serious eye conditions that must be seen by a vet as soon as possible, such as eye ulcers, uveitis, or corneal eye disease. 
25. Zinc cream – can have many uses, one is treating horses for sunburn.
26. 60 SPF Sunscreen – for horses with pink skin that is exposed to the sun.  Horses can get serious sunburns where they have pink skin (usually around the muzzle and eye area) make sure these areas are protected with sunscreen when they go outside.
27. Wound Powder – some wounds need to be left open to heal, blue wound powder is good to keep the flies out and helps dry up the wound.
28. Blue Kote Wound Spray – a bacterial spray that helps to heal
29. Hoof-it Hoofstar boots – These are an excellent temporary shoe if your horse loses a shoe.

It can be used without glue if you have a snug fit and some duck-tape.
Whether you are going out on the trail for a long ride or going into the show ring, you will want to make sure you have these essentials with you so that if anything does happen to your horse you are prepared to care for them.

Lost horseshoe?  The Hoof Wrap Bandage is a great product to keep your horses hoof protected until your farrier can get out to replace the horseshoe. 
Hoof Wrap Brand Bandage 

hoof boot

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Leasing a horse

5 Reasons to Lease a Horse vs. Buying

So, you’ve decided that you want a horse for either equine sport or just because you would like to get out and trail ride, but have
you thought about whether you want to buy or lease? This blog
will give you 5 reasons why you may want to lease your first



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Does your horse suffer from hoof infections or ailments?

Does your horse suffer from hoof infections or ailments?

Okay, so I have never been a big believer in topical hoof dressings. I have always felt like they are more for the human than the horse, a bit of a " horse owner feel-good" product. However, when I sampled "Hoof Doctor," I could smell the difference straight away. I knew I was not applying a typical hoof oil treatment, but I still was not sold.   Hoof Doctor

It was not until the following week that I would start to see the difference in my horse's sole and wall. My horse started with an average winter sole with signs of thrush in the crevices of the frog and a slightly soft sole from winter conditions. I applied Hoof Doctor to the soles and walls of his foot three times a week, and by week two, I could see, feel and smell the difference. His frog infection was totally cleared up. I am not sure how to describe the feeling of his soul, but I could clearly tell that the structure of his sole had changed. It had toughened up, and when I tapped on it with a hoof pick, I could actually hear and feel the difference. It was evident that the structure of his hoof had changed and became stronger.  


The price point was a bit higher than your average hoof dressing, but you did not have to apply daily, and it actually did something and showed substantial healing benefits. This oil is not for human daily feel-good use. This hoof dressing treatment is for horses that have or are prone to hoof infections, thrush, or seedy toe. It is also for horses that are transitioning to barefoot or horses with soft or sensitive soles or horses with white line disease. If you are dealing with hoof issues such as these, I highly recommend Hoof Doctor.




Hoof Doctor is made in Canada and is based on All-Natural Ingredients:

  • Birch Bark Extract
  • Organic Omega-3 Oil
  • Vitamin A & D
  • Other 100% Natural Active Ingredients

Non-caustic formulation & no harmful or petroleum-based products.




Side Note: How about that hoof stand? Just love the new HOOF-it Blacksmith Pro in its vibrant yellow. =)


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Equine Dental


Who should float your horse’s teeth? An equine dentist or your veterinarian? 

As demand for proper oral care in the horse world has grown dramatically in the last twenty years, it is common to find non-veterinary equine dental technicians practicing in most areas of the country, but as demand increases, their practice has put them at odds with licensed veterinarians who believe equine dentistry is veterinary in nature and in the best interest of the horse’s welfare, should only be performed by an actual veterinarian.

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HOOF-it Exhibits at the BETA International

HOOF-it Exhibits at the BETA International

BETA International

BETA International Birmingham England

HOOF-it® lunches the new Blacksmith Pro at the BETA International Show.

Farrier Hoof Stand at BETA

What a fantastic way to start the 2020 year. With the decline in US trade show fairs, my expectations are never too high anymore. In the past several years you can feel the drop in exhibitors as well as visitors. However, BETA (British Equestrian Trade Association) International did not disappoint. It was by far the most well run equine trade show I have ever attended. The staff was so lovely and supportive of all our vendor needs. I really can't say enough about my time spent at the BETA show and it was the perfect place to launch our new Blacksmith Pro. As Liz Benwell said, "BETA is for the trade by the trade." Not only did we meet new retail customers, but they also offered excellent trade talks, social media lectures, as well as equestrian fashion shows. 

The response for using this HOOF-it® Blacksmith Hoof Stand to Apply horseshoe studs was a big topic. No one wants to bend over for that long to apply studs and then jump in the saddle. The fact that this hoof stand allows the horse to rest comfortably while you remove plugs, clean threads and then apply the studs makes this unit a must. 

We have a container of hoof stands on its way to the United Kindom, so check with your local retailer mid-March because the HOOF-it Blacksmith Hoof Stands are on their way to the UK! 

Olivia is applying studs before her big event. As you can see, she can bring the foot back and rest it comfortably in the cradle while applying horseshoe studs.

A farrier finishing the foot using the post to bring the foot forward.  This makes the job easier and more comfortable for the horse and farrier. 

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5 exercises for a better seat

5 exercises for a better seat

A good and effective seat allows us to communicate with our horses when we ride. No matter what tack your horse wears, communication is a two-way street and improving your seat will aid in improving the communication between you and your horse.


In this blog we will share 5 exercises you can do to improve your position when you ride.


Stretching your legs and hip-flexors


You don’t want to just plop yourself on your horse and go. Stretching before you start is important to loosen your hips and legs and improve the direct contact with your horse.


With your feet out of the stirrups, bring one knee up and over the front of your saddle with your leg against your horses’ shoulder. Relax your leg into this position and let it sit here for a minute or two.


Then bring your leg back down to a relaxed position out of the stirrup and let it stretch downward towards the ground. This exercise targets your core and thigh muscles and will improve your position in the saddle. Repeat both stretches with the other leg.


Make sure you stay square in your shoulders when performing theses stretches and focus on letting your hip-flexors stretch when your legs are down to your horses’ sides.


At the trot: One-sided no stirrup work


Once you have warmed your horse up a bit take up a trot and practice removing one leg from the stirrup for a few strides, putting it back in the stirrup and then taking the other foot out of the stirrup. Keep alternating every few strides, being mindful of your position when executing this exercise. Are you falling to one side? Is one leg putting more pressure on the horse than the other? Are you gripping with your legs more tightly? Make sure that your horses balance doesn’t change, his shape doesn’t change and that you are both staying relaxed throughout the exercise. Focus on quality not quantity and make sure you end the exercise on a positive note for your horse.


At the Canter: Half seat to Full seat


This exercise allows you to focus on your position while making sure that the horse's balance and relaxation doesn't change as you alternate between your jumping position and your full seat position. This is a great exercise when preparing to jump your horse.


At the canter, practice going into your half-seat for 4 to 5 strides and then back to your full seat. Keeping the transitions smooth and your horse moving at the same pace. Be mindful when transition between the two seats that your horse is maintaining the same bend and relaxed canter.  Think about your feet and ankles being underneath you and in line with your hips. Keeping your upper body in line and not getting ahead of the horse. Focus on your balance being in your feet and not in your shoulders. Monitor your lower leg while performing this exercise. Is it staying in a position of support or flailing forward? Don’t lower yourself to the saddle to quickly or plop down into the saddle to hard.


Over Cavalettis: Circle of Truth


The circle of truth allows you to improve your consistency over fences and hone in on how your position influences the horse, while at the same time allowing you to focus on the balance of the canter between the cavaletti.


Create a large circle and set up 4 small jumps or rails. Pick a point in the middle of your arena and step 30 feet out towards the outside. Set up 4 small jumps or rails on the circle about 5-6 strides apart from each other. This is a great warm up exercise before jumping and allows you to work on improving the canter between the cavalettis. Really focus on how your seat, leg and reins work together to navigate the cavalettis. Make sure you are using your legs as well as your reins when working in this circle. To challenge yourself, put both reins in your outside hand and rest your inside hand on your thigh or hold it straight out in from of you. This will help you to ensure you are using your core strength. Work on using your leg ques to keep your horses bend around the circle.


Over fences: Gymnastics on a Curve


This exercise highlights the effectiveness of your seat, leg, and upper body in maintaining your horse's balance and straightness through a turn.


This involves four fences or rails set up on a bend of your circle. Make a 20m circle and set fences around it 18 to 20 ft apart. The size of your circle and distance between rails will depend on your horses stride of course, so adjust accordingly. If you have a really small horse or large horse the distances will be different.


Place the rails or cross-rails 6 to 7 steps apart making sure that each step is 3 ft. You can trot through this a few times to make sure of your distance and how much of your outside aid you will need to navigate the circle.


This exercise addresses the ability to keep a turn and not lose your horses shoulders. Use your seat and leg to keep the bend in the circle. Start with rails on the ground to warm up and keep your horse accountable to stay in the center of the fence. You can then try cross-rails or even verticles depending on your confidence level.  Don’t let your upper body get ahead and make sure your seat maintains its balance. Engage your core and use your upper body to balance. Take your time through the exercise. You should feel like you can touch your shoulder blades together through the exercise and keep your upper body back and away from the horses’ withers. You can use rails on two and cross rails on two. Once you have done it both directions evenly with rails on the ground, move to 4 cross rails. You can also use verticals when you feel confident that you and your horse have the exercise down. This is a great warm up exercise before jumping. Don’t over do these exercises doing them maybe 4 or 5 times through.





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Watering Horses


With the temperatures dropping in the evenings and waking up to the chill of those familiar fall mornings, it can only mean one thing. Winter will soon be upon us.

With the cold winter months ahead, it’s important to think about all the things your horse will need to stay healthy through those cold temperatures. The one thing that should come to mind is how much water your horse needs to drink to stay hydrated through the winter months.

You may be surprised to know that your horse requires the same amount of water per day in the winter as they do in the summer to maintain hydration.   

An 1100 lb horse needs about 10 gallons of water per day to ensure proper hydration and minimize digestion upsets.

Typically, horses have more digestive concerns during the winter months than during any other time of year. Probably because their bodies slow down due to the cold and is also because of a decrease in water intake. The decrease in water intake could be caused by a lack of supply, frozen water, cold water, or just not enough water being provided to them.

During the summer months, your horses’ water intake is greater for many reasons. The also get about 75% of their water intake from the grasses that they eat. During the winter, your horse still requires at least 10 gallons of water, but is now relying on you to supply it. Be aware that older horses and those with dental issues may not drink very cold water because of the discomfort it causes their teeth, again adding to the problem of insufficient water intake.

The question then becomes, how do we ensure our horses are drinking enough water to meet their needs during the winter? The use of an electrolyte to encourage horses to drink more may be an option. Other ideas include ensuring the horse has access to water at all times, use heaters in water troughs where freezing is an issue and check the water supply daily. Also, make yourself aware of the symptoms of a dehydrated horse and keep a close eye on them throughout the winter.

For more information about caring for your horse in the winter months, check out our past blogs:

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The height of a horse is properly measure in inches from the ground to the highest point of the withers. The withers being at the base of the main and top of the shoulder. That bony little bump that sits just under the front of your saddle horn or pommel (if you're riding English).

For the most accurate measurement, make sure your horse is on firm, level ground with their feet relatively even. Take a tape measure and stand on the end and bring it up to the highest point of the withers. Record the inches.

After you have found how many inches your horse is, you will need to convert the results from inches to "hands." Horse height is correctly referred to by a unit of measurement known as a "hand." One hand is equal to four inches. Take the number that you recorded and divide it by 4. For example, if your horse measured 58 inches and you divide that by 4, you get 14.5. The .5 means your horse was a half of a hand which translates to 2 inches. This means that your horse is 14.2 hands tall (14 hands plus 2 inches).
There are measuring devices on the market for horses that have hand and inches measurements marked on them.
Some devices are rigid poles with short crossbars toward the top that can be raised or lowered to rest on a horse's withers. These are very handy and give accurate measurements easily.
The origin of measuring a horse this way is very old, but easy to understand.
In the past, people did not have the common measuring devices like tape measures to measure a horse. They used their hands. This would mean holding your hand out with your thumb pointed up and the distance between the edge of your palm at the bottom to the tip of your thumb at the top was about 4 inches. This obviously would vary depending on your hand size so somewhere along the way, the measuring unit of a hand was standardized to mean four inches.

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Summer is here and what’s more fun than getting the kids together and playing games with the horses! Here are 8 cool games that will keep your kids off the couch and will get the horses moving too! You can also use these games if you give group riding lessons. It’s a great way to challenge your riding skills and have some fun at the same time!

Blind Man’s Tack Up
This is an excellent game for those rainy days. If you have a nice wide aisle that works best. Take one of your horses and put them on the cross ties or have someone hold them. Place all the tack around (bridle, saddle pad, saddle, girth, etc.) Have the children split up into teams of two so it wasn’t too overwhelming but you can try larger teams if you have a lot of kids playing. One person will be the eyes and the other will be blindfolded. When the timer starts the unblindfolded person will direct the blindfolded child from where the tack is, to putting it on the horse correctly. Once the horse is completely tacked up the timer stops. The team with the fastest time wins. This game is great because it makes kids use the proper name for equipment and work together.

Barrel Race
A great game if you’re short on horses. You just need two well-behaved understanding horses and at least one barrel. Split the kids into two teams and let the games begin! On a timer, the rider has to race around the barrel. The first time around could be in a half seat or walk there trot back. Or maybe they have to trot down and side pass around the barrel. Be creative and challenge your skills. Maybe try making some flash cards with instructions and one kid draws a card and tells the rider what they have to complete. The team that does the best or fastest wins!

For this game, each rider takes a dollar bill and places it on the inside of their thigh. Riders are then asked to ride around while doing different things – posting trot, canter, jump, etc. When there is only one rider left with the dollar still tucked under their leg they win all the cash! Technically they win all the money but if you had to shell out $20 for this game you may not want to play by those rules. Ride-a-Buck is a fun way to teach leg position, balance and overall improves leg stability. For a more difficult version try it bareback.

Around the World
Around the World isn’t the type of game that will take up the whole lesson but it will help with balance. Have a person holding the horse and have the rider start sitting normally, then they swing one leg all the way over so they are sitting side saddle, then they swing the leg over again so they are sitting backwards, then side saddle to the other side and back to forward. Have the rider do it in both directions. If you have a really easy-going horse and want to challenge the rider's balance, try walking the horse slowly for a challenge. This game can be very helpful for kids who are scared to ride and can help build confidence and balance.

Bucket Ball
All you need for this fun horse game is a bucket, a softball and a stand (a jump stand will work). Have the two riders line up at one end of the ring with the ball on the stand at the other end. Riders race to the ball, grab it, ride back and have to drop the ball in the bucket. The first one to get the ball in the bucket wins. If at any point the rider drops the ball they have to dismount, pick it up and get back on. The more advanced students really enjoy this game. A fun way to add in more riders is turn it into a relay. Have a few riders at different points where they have to transfer the ball to each other without dropping it.

Obstacle Course
Obstacle courses are a great way to challenge any rider. You can set up any number of obstacles and time your riders as they navigate through. You can add challenges through the obstacle course as well. For example, having to gallop through a shallow waterway or side passing through objects that you have lined up. Be creative and make it fun!

Egg and Spoon
This one will test the rider’s skills. Start out by giving the first rider the egg on the spoon. They then have to ride to the next participant and pass it over without dropping it. The team that gets to the end first with their egg wins. If a team member drops their egg they have to start over. Throw in some trotting, steering, half seat, anything to make it more challenging. You can even throw in some obstacles if you want to make it really challenging.

Tack Take Apart
This is another good rainy-day game. You only need one bridle or saddle per team. Take apart all the pieces, undo all the buckles, take off the bit, etc. Lay out the pieces and let the kids put it back together. The team that puts together their bridle or saddle first wins. This game really helps reinforce all parts of the tack and helps them remember what everything is called.

Simon Says
An old school classic with an equine twist. Simon Says is a perfect horse game for larger groups and helps keeps the students focused on you. Depending on the experience level you could do simple things like raise left hand, point to your horse’s withers or half seat. With more experienced riders’ commands, such has drop your left stirrup, pick up a canter or change direction all help improve balance, focus and overall skill. Be creative with this and challenge the riders’ abilities.



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Applying Horseshoe Studs the Easy Way

Apply Horseshoe Studs with Ease

Does applying studs to your horseshoe's pain you? Who needs to be bent over and putting stress on your back right before you hop in the saddle. Save your body for the ride and use a HOOF-it Blacksmith Hoof Stand. 


Apply Horseshoe Studs HOOF-it Hoof Stand   Olivia Apply Horseshoe Stud with HOOF-it Hoof Stand

If you have ever shown or groomed for horses showing on grass or muddy conditions you have shared in the time consuming and body stressful application of applying horseshoe studs; I think anyone who has ever used or removed studs would agree that this is not a fun or easy job for the horse or human.

Growing up in the '80s on the West Coast Hunter Jumper Circuit, we still had several shows on the grass. Having applied studs myself back then, I would have given my eye teeth to have had a tool like the Blacksmith Hoof Stand. There is nothing worse than being in a small grooming stall bent over trying to pull the cotton fill, then clean the threads, and then to apply the studs without stripping the threads. Doing this before each class is a time-consuming chore while bent over to hold a foot up that is just stressful not only to your lower back but uncomfortable for the horse as well.

This hoof stand takes the stress off of the horse and human. It gives the horse a steady, comfortable base to rest his foot while you work on the application without having the stress of holding the foot up. Hoof stands are not just for the Farrier but are a great tool to have in the barn or at the horse show/event. 

Special thanks to Olivia McDowell @RemarkableMare for sharing these photos with us.  


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