This medicine-chest is the actual one carried by famed African explorer Henry Stanley. It was lost for many years in the Aruwhimi Pigmy country. Click on photo to enlarge.
Long Rider Comments
|Long Rider Stan Perdue had a few problems with saddle-sores in the early days of his ride from Georgia to Arizona in 2005, and was sent a complimentary bottle of Nolvasan by its manufacturer, Wyeth. This is a disinfectant which claims to work against at least 60 different bacteria, fungi, yeasts and viruses. Stan tried the Nolvasan and saw dramatic results both in healing and in the hair returning, and was able to get back on the road very quickly.|
Consider a homeopathic first aid kit - it can be used on you and the horse - and whatever else you don't take, do take arnica. Stone bruises, kicks, bumps, falls and bruises - all respond well. Ruta was my other standby, for any suggestion of a strain or pull. Bear in mind that with Homeopathy, it's the frequency of the dose, not the size of the dose, that counts.
Dried fruit is a great pick-me-up if a horse is dehydrated, being full of natural electrolytes.
Aloe gel - brilliant for any skin conditions for you and the horse, and marvellous on a rope burn.
On my first trip up the California coast on Cacho insects were not a big problem. One bad mosquito night I tried the Avon Skin-So-Soft I had packed, and it did repel insects - for about 15 minutes, and then he was covered with sucking black females again, perhaps oddly attracted to his little-girl smell. In two different mountainous areas Cacho and I experienced bad biting flies (two different types) and they were unaffected by any type of repellant (I borrowed several kinds from people who were camping). In Cacho's case, though, it was no big deal; he has a typical, tough horse hide. Be sure to check sensitive areas like the belly and ears for parasitic hitchhikers. He did not suffer badly from the mosquitoes or biting flies, and other than being diligent about picking off the occasional tick, I could have gotten by with no insecticide.
Shawnee was another story. She's a pinto mustang with a lot of white on her, and she got terrible welts, even from gnat bites. Also, since we traveled through Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever areas then on to the east coast where Lyme disease and West Nile Virus are bigger problems, it was important to keep mosquitoes and ticks off her to prevent disease. Unfortunately, she also broke out in hives with every form of insecticide I tried. I picked thousands of ticks (if you wet down the fur they are easier to see), and tried to stay in sunny, windy areas, but mostly I just swatted and bit my nails and worried. My vet suggested keeping her wormed might provide a degree of protection, so I wormed about every month, as I ran across equestrians and vets with wormer to buy (many gave it to me).
Because of her pink skin, I made Shawnee a bonnet, but traveling east every morning, she also needed sunscreen over her eyes. If I didn't get it applied before 9:00 a.m. it would be too late and she'd have a sunburn I'd have to contend with for a few days. By the time I got to the buggy eastern end of my journey I frequently rode her with the fly mask on, which provided both insect protection and shade for her face. I just had to deal with the assumption that I rode a bind-folded horse - to amuse myself I occasionally told a fib about why I had to ride her blind-folded.
For myself, I wore long sleeves and a hat daily. I also learned, after spending my first trip with a peeling nose, to be very regularly about applying sunscreen to my own nose. On the first trip I didn't wear the gloves I had packed until my knuckles had become dry and painfully cracked, so on the second trip I was a good scout, wore them, and had no problems. I am very pale naturally, but with good clothing cover I only needed a little dab on my nose each day, and Shawnee just got a dab over each eye, so, if you are traveling in the U.S. or Europe you don't need to bring a Wall-mart-sized mega container. Just bring a small amount - you can buy more at a market or gas station if you need it. I did not use insecticide on myself, though I've been known to retreat into my insect-proof tent in the evening as the mosquitoes come out. Be sure to check thoroughly for ticks every night, and don't put on your shoes before checking to make sure no scorpions are hidden inside.
For both horses I used topical antiseptic from time to time. Inevitably the horse will get a scratch or a bite that needs attention, or you will. Again, for traveling in the U.S. you don't need to bring a huge amount, you can always buy more at gas stations. It really doesn't matter what kind, although don't get something like rubbing alcohol that will make your horse hate you. Both of my horses have sensitive eyes - one's an Appaloosa and the other has that pink skin around her eyes. So a tube of antiseptic eye ointment is a necessity for my horses.
I carried Imodium and Ibuprofen for me, but not bute or banamine for my horse. After too many days of damp camping in the rain, I wished I had packed Monostaadt, but a country rod worker saved me from dying of terminal itch. Ladies, make sure you bring it just in case, and pack plenty of tampons, because you can't always get them when you need them. Girlfriends suggested I go on the pill and just eliminate my cycle altogether, and it was tempting, but I like keeping my hormones natural so I handled it the old-fashioned way.
I got as many vaccinations for my horse and myself as possible, and I carried my horse's medical records with me.
A first-aid kit for yourself and the horses is
essential, as is the knowledge of how to use it. I always carry a
can of purple (antiseptic) spray in the saddlebag - close at hand.
Sulphur powder, suture needles, thread, and powdered penicillin are in the
medical kit in the pack-saddle. The powdered penicillin is good
because it does not have to be refrigerated. Either carry a small
bottle of sterile water or boil what is available. A preventive shot
of penicillin can avoid a lot of trauma caused by infection from a
wound. Sulphur powder, as well as being used on wounds, is handy for
sweaty backs at the end of a long day. If water is not available to
wash down the horses' backs, simply sprinkle sulphur powder over the area
in contact with the saddle, then next morning brush it off.
Saddle-sores are the constant worry of Long Riders. Washing down or
sprinkling with sulphur can avoid these.
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