As a paramedic attending incidents involving horseriders, Kay Patterson found herself repeatedly hearing the same phrase from bystanders: “I just didn’t know what to do.” Although most people expect accidents to occur at competitions, most of her equine-related call outs as a paramedic were to riders who had suffered a fall out hacking.
We’d go out to people whose horse had spooked and they’d fallen, or riders who had decided to pop a log on a forest ride and come off, everyday riding can result in all sorts of dramas which makes it so important for riders and horseowners – and friends and relatives of riders – to be educated in first aid.
Being around horses can be fun, but it’s also high-risk and you need to be prepared. If someone is with a person that has an accident they tend to panic because they don’t know what to do and often it’s what not to do that’s the most important thing to learn.
Certain things that someone might instinctively do can cause more damage to the casualty, for example, pulling them to their feet and telling them to get back on the horse or taking off someone’s hat when they may have neck damage. You’ll find people take their friend off to the coffee shop for a drink because they’ve had a fall and are feeling drowsy, when in fact they’ve got concussion and need medical help.
In most cases the best thing you can do is call for help, offer reassurance and encourage the injured person to stay still until medical assistance arrives. Taking a first-aid course will leave you with the confidence of knowing what to do should a situation arise – and it could lead to you saving someone’s life.
Every yard should keep a first-aid kit, and if possible take a mini kit with you on hacks as you never know when an accident might happen.
A yard first-aid kit should contain at least the following items:
- Assorted, wrapped sterile plasters.
- Two sterile eye pads;
- Four individually wrapped triangular bandages, preferably sterile;
- Six safety pins;
- Two large, individually wrapped, sterile, unmedicated wound dressings;
- Six medium-sized, individually wrapped, sterile, unmedicated wound dressings;
- Disposable gloves.
First Aid DO’s and DON’TS
- Don’t move the casualty if you suspect a head or neck injury;
- Do leave their riding hat on;
- Don’t remove a body protector, unless it is impeding breathing. Breathing takes precedence over everything else.
- Do attend to the human patient before the horse, unless it is causing a danger to the injured person, or to others. If horse has put his head down and is eating grass, leave him and go to the injured rider’s aid.
- Don’t use cotton wool to clean a wound;
- Do protect the casualty from further injury – for example, if they’ve had a fall on or near a busy road;
- Don’t let them eat or drink if you suspect broken bones, in case they need an operation.
- Do go on a first aid course to improve your knowledge.
Click HERE to find out what to do in some of the scenarios that could happen when you’re riding or around horses.
Contributor: Kay Paterson, Medi-K First Aid. Kay was an ambulance technician and paramedic before setting up her own business training people in first-aid skills. She has been a keen rider for 25 years and owns a 16hh Appaloosa gelding.
Interested in taking a first aid course? Kay offers first-aid courses through her company Medi-K and the focus is on injuries most likely to be sustained when riding or being around horses. As well as improving your knowledge and skills, you will also gain a nationally recognised qualification. A one day course will result in an Emergency First Aid Certificate, while successfully completing the three-day course will equip you with the First Aid at Work, which is required for people employed in the horse industry and for some equine examinations. To find out more, visit: www.medi-k.co.uk or tel: (01299) 407097