If you own a horse it’s inevitable that at some point your horse will need to see his veterinarian. Whether your vet is out for a scheduled routine exam or an emergency call, there are a few things you can do to ensure your horse, your barn, and you yourself are prepared. After many years of horse ownership with a rather accident prone Thoroughbred, I have developed my own personal check list of ways to prepare.
Prepare your barn:
• Make sure the barn aisle is clear so there is space for your horse, your vet, and yourself. No one wants to be cramped in a small space with a large animal. Be wary of foot traffic by other horses and riders that can be distracting or even dangerous when the vet is around.
• Double check your lighting to ensure the work space is well lit. If your barn doesn’t have adequate lighting, an LED lantern and flashlights should be easily accessible and ready to go.
• Have access to clean water. If your only water source is difficult to access, you could fill a bucket of clean water and leave it off to the side.
• Know where the power outlets are in case your vet needs a power supply and have an extension cord ready if necessary.
Prepare your horse:
• For routine visits and checkups, make sure your horse is clean because he’s easier to examine when he’s not covered in dirt or mud. If your horse has any kind of injury, always ask your vet how to properly clean it (and if you should try to clean) an injury before the vet arrives.
• Keep your horse as relaxed as possible. A visit from the vet can be stressful, and a nervous horse is more difficult for the vet to treat.
• Have your horse’s medical history and records with you for reference.
• Arrive at the barn prior to your appointment time to prep your horse and the barn.
• Have any helpful equipment ready, such as lead ropes, a twitch, a stopwatch, a trash can, and the fresh water and extra lighting mentioned previously.
• An extra set of hands (a friend or barn mate) can be helpful and may help calm your nerves.
Other helpful tips
• Have your horse in the barn and ready for the vet before they arrive.
• If your vet requires payment the day of the visit, have your preferred payment method ready to go.
• Remember to thank your vet for coming out and for their help!