backcountry horse emergency kit

How to Create a Horse Emergency Kit for the Backcountry

Heading into the backcountry with your horse? The right supplies from Murdoch’s will help ensure the safety of you and your horse.

Prior to heading into the backcountry with a horse, it is important to prepare for an emergency. They happen, even to horses. When veterinary care is beyond reach, a well-equipped horse emergency kit can address the most common injury or illness affecting your horse. Murdoch’s teamed up with Chelsea Harmer (@parallel45farm) to put together a checklist of items from Murdoch’s to keep in your emergency kit.

In the kit described here, certain medicinal items are temperature sensitive and require a temperature-controlled environment. Placing the items in insulated horse saddle bags will help avoid the rapid temperature swings that can adversely affect the efficacy of medicinal products.

Let’s take a look at a checklist of these medicinal products as well as other items to assemble in a good horse emergency kit.


Emergency Kit Checklist:

  • Probios — This gel is given in small doses whenever a horse is taken out of its normal eating routine. In the backcountry, far from its home pasture or stable, your horse is likely to be exposed to plants that are foreign to its diet. Probios helps your horse maintain a healthy digestive system. In the backcountry, dose your horses daily or, if you cannot pack a daily supply of Probios, dose your horse if its stools begin to appear looser than normal.
  • Bute-Less Paste — This product provides your horse digestive pain relief as well as overall pain relief, if needed. From inflammation to a large wound, Bute-Less is helpful to comfort your horse through an injury. If the injury requires getting the horse to safety and a vet, Bute-Less can help the horse fight the pain during the journey out of the backcountry.
  • Electrolyte Paste — This paste is handy when traveling during the hot summer months. Just like people, horses need electrolytes to stay hydrated in hot and dry weather. If your horse isn’t drinking enough or seems lethargic, electrolyte paste gives it the extra boost it need to get back to normal.
  • Betadine and Vetericyn are both great first-aid options for cleaning cuts and abrasions prior to applying bandages.
  • BandagingVet wrap, gauze, and adhesive tape are all for bandaging wounds
  • Rectal Thermometer — If you suspect something is off with your horse, check its temperature. A horse’s body temperature is typically between 99 and 101.5 degrees. However, check your horse’s temperature multiple times before heading into the backcountry trip. Knowing the normal temperature for your horse will help you diagnose whether your horse is spiking a fever.
  • Syringes — A syringe has a number of uses in the backcountry. A common use is to flush wounds before applying an antibiotic and bandages.
  • Latex Gloves — When providing first aid to a horse with an open wound, wear latex gloves to protect both yourself and the horse.
  • Hoof Pick — This is one of the most-used items in a horse first-aid kit. When traveling across a variety of terrain, it is not uncommon for a horse to get a stone wedged in a hoof. To prevent lameness, it is recommended to pick a horse’s hooves, using a hoof pick at the beginning and end of every day while in the backcountry.
  • Fly SprayFly spray helps deter both flies and mosquitoes, offering a first line of defense against the misery of buzzing and biting pests when they’re out in full force.