*UPDATE: Please note these normal vital sign numbers are for the ADULT horse. I have only ever kept adult horses at home so that is my orientation. A comment from a reader made me remember that vital sign numbers are different for foals verses adults. Here is a link that includes a great infographic that shows both adult AND foal vital sign numbers for those who might benefit from that info: https://chimacumtack.com/blog/2020/04/07/tuesday-tip-your-horses-vitals/.
Even after almost twenty years of horse-keeping, I struggle to recall the numbers associated with normal horse vital signs. And I can guarantee that during an emergency, my recall will not get any better.
While I don’t take my horses’ vitals that often, I have found it useful to do so during instances where I am trying to decide whether or not to call the veterinarian. If my horse seems a little off, but their vital signs are within normal ranges, I might take a wait and see approach. But if I am able to identify an increased temperature or heart rate, for example, I am more apt to call the vet immediately.
My relaying abnormal vital-sign numbers to the veterinarian may give a better picture of my horse’s condition than my own vague “he just doesn’t seem like himself” description.
Since I have trouble keeping all the relevant vital sign numbers in my head, I like to store a print-out in my first aid kit. I’ve seen various versions over the years, but I have to say that I really like this one from feed manufacturer, Standlee, that is shown in the photo at the top of this post (photo taken from the Standlee website).
If you’d like your own copy, the chart is free to download at
All good information for any equestrian to have at the ready.