In the second instalment of The Gaitpost’s First Aid blog, Kay Patterson, from Medi-K Training, takes us through some vital Dos and Don’ts that we should all keep handy. However obvious some may seem, people often panic in an emergency situation.
1. Don’t move the casualty if you suspect a head or neck injury
2. Do leave their riding hat on
3. Don’t remove a body protector, unless it is impeding breathing. Breathing takes precedence over everything else.
4. 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.
5. Don’t use cotton wool to clean a wound
6. Do protect the casualty from further injury – for example, if they’ve had a fall on or near a busy road
7. Don’t let them eat or drink if you suspect broken bones, in case they need an operation.
8. Do go on a first aid course to improve your knowledge.
“Being around horses can be fun, but it’s also high-risk and you need to be prepared” says Kay. Her company, Medi-K Training, was set up for horse riders and all the paramedics who run the training are all equestrians themselves with first hand experience of the accidents that occur when out and about with our equine friends.
Often 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”, says Kay. “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.”