A Nurse’s Guide to First Aid for Event Riders

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The trusty first-aid kit. Photo by Kevin Deacon/Creative Commons.

The trusty first-aid kit. While no eventing trailer seems complete without it, many have no desire to crack into theirs until disaster strikes. But knowing the contents, or better yet building your own, can ensure proper action when necessary. Most kits contain the same basics: gauze, Band-Aids, tweezers. But adding these not-frequently thought of items can take your kit to the next level.


This allergy pill turned night-time sleep aid may seem like an odd choice for the top of the list, but its uses are nearly endless. For one, who doesn’t need a little sedative to lull you to sleep despite the pre-show jitters? Bonus, the resulting next day hangover will make you incapable of feeling anxious, or anything other than drowsy realistically.

But more seriously, the antihistamine effects of this medication will help relieve the itching and swelling caused by pesky bug bites. It’s also pretty handy when the rogue Pony Clubber two trailers down decides to try a handful of their friend’s peanuts for the first time. Please note, Benadryl is not a substitute for an epinephrine injection. So if the phrases “throat tightness” or “tongue swelling” get tossed around, someone better call 911.


Hopefully pretty self-explanatory. This mild pain reliever is great for the stress-related headaches normally associated with scenarios such as: flat trailer tire, doing a face-plant in warm-up, injury-faking horses, pulled shoes, etc.

Pepto-Bismol/bismuth subsalicylate

So you ate some questionable crab cakes (not recommended) from the only food truck available at the grounds, and now can’t help but fantasize about amenities such as flushing toilets and running water with soap. But never fear, relief is a somewhat unpleasant swallow/chew away. Pepto comes conveniently in chewable tablet form, which is ideal for first-aid packs. If your own self-loathing compels you to enjoy warm, separated, chalky pink goo, feel free to buy the liquid form instead.

Instant heat/ice packs

These single-use packs are activated by bursting the bag inside and kneading the chemicals to create either a heat or cold pack nearly instantaneously. The heat packs are useful for muscle strain type injuries, while the cold packs are useful for achy, swollen joints. Additionally, the cold packs can be used when you’ve overdone yourself on blistering hot days. Simply place the cold pack along the carotid arteries on the side of the neck for near instant relief from heat exhaustion.

Bottled water

While guzzling air-temperature water isn’t ideal, it’s often still appreciated when it’s the only option. Save yourself the annoyance of being thirsty and waterless by packing a bottle or two in your kit.


This is a woman’s world after all (sorry guys). Inevitably you (or someone you know) will find yourself in your favorite white breeches when you get an unexpected visit from our most beloved Aunt.

Vet wrap

Yes, there is a human version. But it’s twice as expensive and only comes in one color, beige. And who would choose boring beige when purple zebra print is an option?

Amber Leone spent her formative years kicking and clucking her stubborn Appaloosa mare to near breakneck speeds, before taking a break from the horse world in her early teens to focus on school and boys. She rediscovered her obsession shortly following college, much to the dismay of her blind-sided husband.