The Equine Expert

What is an Equine Emergency Sheet and why should you have one?
By Tanja Schnuderl

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Whether you ride, own or take care of horses, you know one thing for sure: Horses will get sick or injured at some point. Whenever that happens, time is of the essence. Most conditions, like a colic for example, can take a turn for the worse within hours. This means that immediate action is critical to improve the horse’s condition as quickly as possible.

As a diligent barn manager you are most likely to be the first to discover an injury or notice symptoms of discomfort or sickness in a horse. Whether you are a barn manager at a large facility in the middle of a busy farm day or an anxious horse owner with a sick horse at home, injuries or sick horses are always a stressful situation for everyone involved. Having an equine emergency sheet for every horse that you are responsible for will give you easy access to all the information needed in case of emergency. It will also help you to keep a clear head and save valuable time. Here is an overview of all the data that your sheet should include:

  • A short overview of the horse (Name, Breed/Color, Sex, Age)
  • Owner information (Name, Phone, Email)
  • Veterinarian (Name, Phone, Emergency Phone)
  • A paragraph about what to do if the owner cannot be reached and authorization for the barn manager to contact the vet directly in case of emergency. (This can be crucial if the owner for example travels a lot or is regularly stuck in long business meetings)
  • Medical history (Relevant for the treating vet, e.g. previous colic surgery or medication allergies)
  • Insurance information (if and how the horse is insured, insurance company info & policy number)
  • Notes (for an emergency procedure based on the horse owner’s preference: should the barn manager call the owner or the vet first, who will inform the insurance, etc.)
  • Date & Signature

This list can be easily customized to your needs. If you run a small boarding farm or manage a large full-service equine facility, ideally you would want to discuss the equine emergency sheet with every new boarder and make notes for an emergency procedure. Keep in mind to update the information on the equine emergency sheet, so that the latest information is at your fingertips when needed. The filled-out document can be stored with each horse’s Coggins test, vaccine report and other medical records. When a serious, time-sensitive injury or sickness happens, you will have all the needed information ready and be prepared for the steps to take.

Tanja Schnuderl is a team member with The Equine Expert LLC, a multi-discipline equine expert witness and consulting firm with expert equestrians offering legal expert witness and consulting services in court cases and legal matters. Tanja is an expert on Barn Management and Horse Behavior. She is the Barn Manager for Moon Rising Farm just outside Washington DC and Principal of Sigma Equine LLC, an equine appraisal business. Tanja grew up in Germany and was a paralegal for many years. For more information on Tanja Schnuderl email,


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