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Large Animal Rescue Refresher for Hamilton Mounted Police January 2020


Story by: Jackie Bellamy-Zions

Hamilton Mounted Police practice their large animal rescue skills with Rusti the rescue mannequin and the Equine Guelph teamAnyone who has taken a human first aid course has received a notice that they are due for a refresher. After taking an initial large animal rescue course with Equine Guelph, the Hamilton Mounted Police have been proactive enrolling their officers in a one-day hands-on retraining at Equine Guelph which took place January 9, 2020 at the University of Guelph.


Valuable lessons were reviewed and enhanced concerning the overall approach to instances involving large animals including best practices for large animal manipulation techniques such as forward and rear assists, sideways drags, and how to work safely in confined spaces. A brush up on knot and rope tying as well as emergency halters ensured participants were still in the loop.


A mystery scenario was set up in the barn for the Hamilton police to sleuth and then come up with an appropriate plan of action utilizing the skills of the team. Skills were also refreshed for taking vitals and performing a horse health check, along with understanding the risks of colic.


A big thank you goes to Dwayne Job at System Equine for lending a stock trailer for an activity involving a trailer rescue scenario.


“Proper use of specialized equipment and positioning of webbing around the body of the animal is so important to the positive outcome of lifting or dragging a large animal to safety,” says lead instructor Victor MacPherson. “The crew today are to be commended for their diligence in practicing and honing their skills.”



Over 450 people have attended training events including fire fighters, first responders, pre-service, law enforcement, animal control officers, veterinarians, veterinary technicians, emergency animal response teams, horse owners, livestock producers and associations.


“Several success stories highlight the need for this important training,” says Equine Guelph director, Gayle Ecker. The most recent one was this past summer in Fort Erie when a horse fell into a sink hole and was rescued with the assistance of racetrack personnel and first responders who had taken the Equine Guelph large animal rescue training. Twelve days after the successful rescue that horse won his race!


All large animal incidents regardless of cause or scope, present a risk of injury to responders. The way to improve the odds of a favorable and safe outcome for both animals and responders is through proper training of best practices and how to use rescue equipment. Equine Guelph’s program was implemented in 2014 and has continued to grow to expand its offerings to a varied group. If you are interested in helping to build this program or would like to discuss offering this program in your area or to your members, please contact Equine Guelph. It can be offered on a cost-recovery basis, or through sponsorship, to communities/individuals who would like to expand the reach of this training program.


Equine Guelph thanks the supporters, facilitators and participants of these important large animal emergency rescue workshops.


For more information or to bring a course to your location visit TheHorsePortal.ca and contact Dr. Susan Raymond at slraymon@uoguelph.ca .


Interested in emergency preparedness?
TheHorsePortal.ca online course: Fire and Emergency Preparedness starts Monday! Jan 20 - 27 Joining in will be two expert guest speakers:
- Dr. Rebecca (Gimenez) Husted, volunteer fire fighter and Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue expert,
- Julie Fiedler, Executive Officer, Horse SA who has been involved in working within the horse community through the recovery phase of the Cudlee Creek Fire (Adelaide Hills, South Australia).