Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Large Animal Emergencies and Horse Rescue Training

A friend of mine traveled several hours to attend a Large Animal Emergency and Rescue (LAER) clinic conducted by Vicki Schmidt, a Maine State Fire Instructor II and firefighter for Buckfield Fire Department. She is also the owner and manager of Troika Drafts, a 100 acre working draft horse farm in western Maine.The training was conducted in in the Silver City, New Mexico which is mountainous and wooded and is always facing a fire threat. 

Getting prepared for horse or other larger animal emergencies such as evacuation from wild fires or floods, horses stuck in things like culverts or trees, or (God forbid) trailer accidents is a good idea.

The LAER clinic was billed as preparing emergency responders and animal owners together, helping each understand the others roles and responsibilities.

Most Rescue Preparedness Training for horse owners revolves around the concept the horse and owner being "Rescue Ready".

Some of the traits that "Rescue Ready" horse would have includes: • Leads equally well from both sides • Stands quietly while tied and blindfolded • Allows straps to be draped over, under, around and between their legs • Allows wraps freely on their legs • Accepts the sound of duct tape, etc • Is not afraid of the light of a flashlight • Is trusting of humans/strangers

The "Rescue Ready" owner should think about the following steps to be ready for an emergency: • Pre-programmed In-Case-Of-Emergency names and numbers in their cell phones • Emergency info posted near phones • Arranges for emergency care of horses • Stays calm in the event of an emergency • Knows their horses ambient vital signs • Respects the authority and responsibility of local responders • Knows knots and safety protocol • Trains their horse to be rescue ready. • Keeps halters handy and other safety items

Large Animal and Horse Rescue Organizations:

Vicki Schmidt, Large Animal Rescue Training program

Arizona Equine Rescue Organization

Clemson University Cooperative Extension

Horse Rescue Resources:

Equine Emergency Rescue - A Horse Owners Guide to Large Animal Rescue. A guide to the methods and tools necessary to successfully extricate a horse or other large animal from entrapment using low-tech, low-risk options that are safer, easier and quicker than extreme techniques. Available from Indie Book Authors.


  1. A book tailored to North American horse owners is Save Your Horse! A Horse Owner's Guide to Large Animal Rescue. You can find it on the large animal rescue website, Check out the website and sign up for the free monthly newsletter all about LAR!

  2. Thank you for this nice blog. I hope your friend found the training helpful and worthwhile : )