Please pull out and keep for future reference
prioritise your own safety.
assess the situation and form
Call your vet:
you can get good advice over
the phone prior to the vet’s arrival
consider the whole picture
First aid kit
Knowing what is normal
Identifying emergency situations
Have a plan - e.g. if transport
Insurance/method of payment
Surgical scrub solution e.g.
Bandage materials - cotton wool,
vet wrap, gauze wrap and
poultice material. These items
should be sterile.
In an emergency:
Always keep tetanus vaccinations up to date
Beth Lawrence BVSc MRCVS
Belmont Farm and Equine Vets
Horses have an instinctive fight or flight response which makes them prone to injury. They are also herd
animals that operate a social hierarchy that can lead to dominance fights and if that is not enough, their
often curious nature can get them into trouble. The most common equine emergencies we deal with are
wounds, but there are many types of emergencies requiring immediate attention. Owners should be able
to recognise emergency situations and take the correct action whilst waiting for your vet.
Pull Out and Keep
What is normal?
It is important to know what is normal for your horse in terms of the vital signs. These should be taken when your horse is at rest:
Pulse rate: 25-42 beats per minute (ponies tend to be higher).
Respiratory rate: 12-20 breaths per minute.
Capillary refill time: less than 2 seconds. This is the time it takes for the colour to return to the gums after touching them lightly
with your finger.