Horses will always find a way to injure themselves so it’s important to provide a safe environment and have a well-stocked first aid kit. The correct supplies will allow you to perform “triage” until your veterinarian arrives.
Critical areas that need assessment and treatment as soon as possible are deep lacerations, wounds near a joint and eyeballs. If your horse has a minor skin scrape, you might be fine treating it yourself. Superficial skin scrapes and wound are generally easy to clean and can be managed by you. If you have an established relationship with your veterinarian, you may be able to snap a quick picture and get some advice.
When treating wounds there are a few things to consider. Foreign objects in a wound should not be removed until your veterinarian has been alerted. This is particularly important in deep puncture wounds to the chest or abdomen. If a horse steps on a nail, do not pull it out. If it is not all the way in the foot, cut the nail at the entry site. Puncture wounds of the feet need radiographs to determine which structures have been affected. Experience and knowledge of anatomy are needed when significant injuries occur. Minor lacerations can be cleaned gently with saline solution or if they are actively bleeding then apply a pressure bandage to slow the bleeding. Bandages should be left in place until your veterinarian arrives to avoid disrupting a clot or distressing the horse.
When it comes to creams and sprays, don’t apply anything to the wound until it has been assessed by your veterinarian. It is difficult to evaluate and suture a wound that is covered in these products.
Horses are always looking for the next best way to injure themselves. While we love them, they are flight animals and don’t always think before they act. Regularly check your horse’s stall/paddock/pasture for sharp objects, obstacles, corners, loose boards, trash that may have blown into the area and damage that can cause them to become injured.