Equine First Aid

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending an Equine First Aid class with Simply Beginning Horsemanship in Centerville, Tennessee.  The instructor Amanda Tidwell is certified by Equi-First Aid, and the course uses a veterinarian-approved curriculum.

I signed up for the course after meeting Amanda and hearing her speak at Southern Equine Expo.  It’s been over 20 years since I’ve had any training in equine first aid, and now that our equines are at home with us, I have to be prepared to be their first responder in the event of an emergency.

I had clear goals in attending.  First, I wanted to have the information I needed to update my first aid kit. Second, I wanted to get up-to-date in my first aid knowledge.

The course exceeded my expectations.  We had a lot of fun, learned, and got hands-on practice.  We left with a manual for reference and a certification good for 3 years.  More than that, we walked away confident that we could handle emergencies on our farms.  As an added bonus, Amanda fed us a beautiful, healthy lunch.  (Side note…  I always cringe a little when someone provides lunch, because it’s usually something processed and unhealthy.  Not so this time!)

Topics covered included

  • Prevention & safety
  • Evaluating your horse for pain
  • Stretching your horse
  • Taking vitals
  • Covering a variety of wounds
  • How to communicate to your vet in an emergency
  • How to accurately calculate your horse’s weight
  • Signs of colic
  • Hoof diseases

Since the class, I’ve started updating my first aid kit.  I’ve checked my existing supplies to makes sure everything is still operational.  I’ve purchased a larger tape measure, because I discovered that mine only went to 60 inches.  Not enough to measure my horses!  I also purchased a stethoscpope, digital equine thermometer, and analog equine thermometer.

I’m working on getting normal vitals for both of our horses and our donkey.  I’m also regularly practicing my first aid techniques.  I don’t want to have to think about what to do in a crisis.  I want the knowledge and skill to be at the ready.  I am hoping to enroll in one of Amanda’s advanced classes and even get certified to teach the course myself in the Fall.

I highly recommend signing up for one of Amanda’s upcoming classes.  The information and experience is worth twice what she charges!  She has classes scheduled for May 7. June 4, and July 2.

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