Now, I know what you’re thinking: Stephani, why shouldn’t I go out and buy one of those nifty pre-packaged first aid kits? Wouldn’t that be easier than making my own?
My answer to you is because they’re lame. Big kits are expensive and they’ve got a bunch of junk that you’ll never use, plus their huge price tag always leaves out a few very important products that no equine first aid kit is complete without. Better to DIY and get exactly what you want for a fraction of the price!
I spent a lot of time sussing out what things I did and didn’t need in my kit before I started shopping. When in doubt, I asked myself: is this something I would need immediately in an emergency, or would I have time to go to the store to pick it up? I went ahead and removed a couple of semi-expensive items (things like drawing salve and liniment gel) and focused on listing supplies I thought were critical, or that I knew I would use on a regular basis. Your mileage may vary, so plan accordingly!
Here’s a full breakdown of everything that ended up in my equine first aid kit:
Where did I find all of these things? Good question! Let’s break it down store by store.
Home Depot: $43
When I started brainstorming about what I wanted in an equine first aid kit, the first thing that came to my mind was portability. I wanted a kit that I could keep in my tack locker at the SEC, but that was easy to move to my car or into a horse trailer for shows, clinics, or other outings. With that in mind, the first thing I did was stop by Home Depot to pick up the compact, 26″ version of my favorite tack box:
I definitely spent more than I needed to in order to get exactly what I wanted. If you’re building an equine first aid kit on a budget, this might not be the box for you. You can save a ton of $$$ by picking up a cheap tote from Fred Meyer for $8 or ordering an empty EMT bag off of Amazon for $13.
Dollar Tree: $38
Prepare to be introduced to my secret money saving weapon: the dollar store! There are definitely a lot of things that you shouldn’t buy from a dollar store (like cheap pens; treat yo self to a G2 man!), but you’d be amazed at what you can pick up on the cheap from your local Dollar Tree. For example, did you know that a lot of dollar stores have a huge selection of first aid supplies?
The best thing about the dollar store is that you don’t have to worry about the cost of filling your basket up! I bought almost everything on the “HUMAN STUFF” part of my supply list at the dollar store, along with things like clean towels, safety scissors, ziploc bags, diapers, petroleum jelly, and epsom salt.
Pro tip: you can use Maxi Pads to wrap cuts and scrapes! They’re sterile and they won’t stick to the wound, and since you can find them at the dollar store they’re a cheap alternative to traditional non-stick pads.
I expected to find a lot of the leftover items on my list at WalMart, but I was sorely disappointed! I grabbed a couple of rolls of duct tape (including a red one to decorate my tub with!), a thermometer, a gallon jug of water, and some moleskin. You can probably skip this stop. 🙄
Riding Warehouse: $59
When it comes to items that are strictly equine-related, you’re always going to have to shell out some cash. $20 of this order was spent on ten rolls of vet wrap ($1.95 a pop). Another $15 chunk went towards a bottle of betadine. I also added a couple electrolyte syringes, a two gallon bucket, a cheap hoof pick, and a rope halter/lead line into my cart. Rope halters are the best for an emergency kit because they’ll fit any horse.
There’s a good chance that you can save some money by scrounging through your old tack for a couple of the items I ordered. No need to order brand new stuff when you can make do with what you have!
$11 of this order went towards a red 17″ duffle bag—I wanted a case to pack all of my “HUMAN STUFF” into to help keep my tub organized! Totally unnecessary expense. 😅
Amazon was my clean up shop; anything that I didn’t find at the other stores, I ordered. That included a 100 pack of antibacterial wipes, a four pack of irrigation syringes, five pairs of hand warmers (an investment for winter LOL), and a container of Wonder Dust (which, if you haven’t heard of it before, is used to stop bleeding and prevent proud flesh). Two day delivery FTW!
TOTAL COST: $196
This whole kit came out to just under $200. That doesn’t include the bute (which I already had on hand from a previous vet appointment) and the banamine (which I’m going to buy off of my vet the next time she’s around). Practice a little frugality and I bet you could get that down to ~$135.
The first thing I did once I had all of my things together was to break out the red duct tape and decorate my tub with a conspicuous set of red stripes and first aid symbols.
Then I packaged all of my “HUMAN STUFF” up into its designated duffle. I love having the human stuff in its own separate space! Putting things like ibuprofen, bandaids, and sunscreen in one bag means that I’ll always know where they are, plus I can take the whole thing out and carry it with me if I need to.
My Husky tub comes with a cute little tray. Once my human first aid kit was finished I spent some time picking out some of the most useful items in the first aid kit (things like vet wrap, Maxi Pads, wound cleaning wipes, and scissors) to put in the tray. With any luck 95% of the time I should be able to get what I need out of the tray instead of having to dig into the bigger supplies.
After that it was just a matter of shuffling everything around until it was sitting comfortably in my tub, ready for any potential emergencies that might arise. Here’s what the final product looks like:
Putting together an equine first aid kit has been a lot easier than I thought it would be! I plan to re-evaluate my kit a few months from now, but I think that this is a great start and I like that I’ve got everything I need on hand for when Raglan picks up cuts, scrapes, and other mysterious maladies. I definitely feel like I went a little overkill on supplies (I probably didn’t need to buy four packages of Maxi Pads LOL), but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. My overstuffed kit will get less stuffed with use, after all!
If you’ve been thinking about putting together a first aid kit, DO IT! The peace of mind it’ll give you is overwhelming. Even if you don’t have the $$$ to spend on a big kit, take a trip to the dollar store and pick up some of the necessities! After all, having a small first aid kit is better than having nothing at all. 😀