Top 10 things horse riders need to know about First Aid in the Field
Part of the joy of hunting is being given the chance to ride across beautiful countryside but in the case of an accident this can mean that medical assistance takes time to get to you. The big fences, tricky obstacles and speed you ride at all lend to the exhilarating fun, but also add a level of risk, and it’s unavoidable that many people each year will take a tumble from their mount out hunting.
Would you know what to do if another rider suffered a nasty fall? The care a casualty receives in the first few minutes after an incident is critical and will affect their chances of recovery, and hunting in remote country may mean that you have anything from 10 minutes to half an hour before the first responders reach the casualty. Having a qualified first aider on the scene will prove invaluable in managing the accident scene, preserving life and promoting recovery until emergency services arrive or the injured rider is taken to a hospital.
Any rider who has had a fall on the hunting field may have sustained spinal injuries and should be treated with great care, however failure to breathe properly will kill someone faster than anything else, so the decision of whether to move the casualty should depend on signs of life.
To deal with a first aid incident we follow the first aid ABC protocol
- Assess for danger: Check for danger, for example the risk of a loose horse trampling the casualty; this loose horse will need to be secured or held by a passer-by or fellow rider before the injured rider can be checked
- Alert Response: Talk to the rider and place your hands on their shoulders and gently apply pressure to seen if they are responsive or unconscious
- Airway: Ensure their away is not blocked, for example by the tongue. Tilting the head and lifting the chin will move the tongue. Leave their hat or helmet on unless sit is inferring with the casualty’s airway
- Breathing: Look and listen to see if the casualty is breathing. Check for up to 10 seconds
- Call 999/112 and ask for an ambulance giving them details of location and what’s happened and condition of the injured rider. You can use the App What3Words to give your location to the emergency services
- CPR: In an unconscious abnormal breathing rider. Read our blog on CPR
- Keep them still – Anyone with a suspected neck or back injury should be kept still – movement can cause more damage. It’s OK to leave someone on their back if they are conscious, as they can tell you if they’re going to be sick. But aim to minimise movement until help arrives by immobilising the head. Place your hands on either side of the head and keep talking to them, to reassure them and encourage them to stay still
- If the casualty is bleeding control the blood loss. Read our blog on managing blood loss
- If the casualty is unconscious place them in the recovery position
- Keep the casualty warm till help arrives
Are you or anyone you hunt with capable of doing CPR? If they aren’t breathing normally, they will need CPR – do you know how to carry it out? Would you know what to do if someone on the ground was kicked? How to stop a bleed? If the answer is no to any of the above, it’s time to organize a first aid course.
Medi-K will provide you with the skills, knowledge and confidence to assess the situation, deal with resuscitation, fainting, bleeding control, shock, riding hat and body protector removal, recovery position, head injuries, foreign objects, seizures and legalities. We offer on-site training for all our courses at your yard, for a maximum of 12 people. Training is tailored to your group’s needs, so you can rest assured that any hunting field scenario will be covered. Would it not be reassuring for your members to know that there is someone present at all times who can provide immediate and critical first aid to a rider who’s fallen off or become unwell?
To find out which first aid course is best for you check out our specific equestrian first aid webpage.
Medi-K and First Aid Training Co-operative have come together to run specialist equestrian specific first aid courses. For more information about our first aid courses please contact us.