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Emergency Rescue Training, Because it Can Happen To YouSeptember 2019

Story by: Melissa McGilloway

The annual International Society for Equitation Science Conference has hosted by the University of Guelph this year and brought together researchers and industry professionals from all over the world to discuss how to continue to improve the lives of our equine companions. The conference kicked-off with a pre-conference large animal emergency rescue training workshop run by Equine Guelph and international experts in emergency rescue. The workshop started with an in-class theory session discussing both equine and human behaviour.

Understanding and predicting both equine and human behavior is essential and may be the difference between tragedy and a successful rescue.

Large Animal Emergency Rescue Training workshopNext was the hands-on portion of the workshop which included learning about and practicing different techniques on a 700 lbs horse mannequin. It became very apparent how quickly rescue situations can go awry. It is easy to become either distracted or too focused on one element of the rescue and therefore unable to evaluate the whole situation. At this point you are in danger in becoming someone that needs rescuing. This is why it is so important to work as a team. Even having someone to say “Hey, you’re getting too close to their legs, or get ready to get out of the way as soon as we move this etc.” It’s also important to have someone (or a small team) create a plan of action and make the plan known: do you have a plan for containment, transport, veterinary attention etc.

Creating a plan of action and practicing these plans BEFORE emergencies arise is even better; “Hope is not a plan” shares Gayle Ecker, Director of Equine Guelph. However, not everything can be planned for and plans can change, so it comes back down to “understanding equine and human behaviour and their effects on rescue situations” shares Dr. Rebecca Gimenez-Husted of Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue.

It takes a team; first responders, veterinarians, equine and animal handlers, and the helpful farmer down the road.

For more information on Large Animal Rescue Training check out Equine Guelph’s Horse Portal!

Equine Guelph is the horse owners' and care givers' Centre at the University of Guelph in Canada. It is a unique partnership dedicated to the health and well-being of horses, supported and overseen by equine industry groups. Equine Guelph is the epicentre for academia, industry and government - for the good of the equine industry as a whole.

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Photo Caption: Large Animal Rescue Training instructor shows student volunteer and workshop attendees proper restraint on down horse mannequin.