Equine Emergency Preparedness and Large Animal Rescue Training: The Difference between Life and Death

Emergencies involving horses and other large animals can happen anytime, anywhere. Whether it’s an overturned trailer on the highway, a horse stuck in the mud or rescuing animals from a barn fire, learning how to prevent equine emergencies and being prepared should a disaster occur can mean the difference between life and death for both horses and humans.

Don’t let an emergency situation catch you off guard. Equine Guelph will be hosting an Emergency Preparedness workshop on Sept. 18, 2014, at the University of Guelph, Ontario, to help horse owners prepare for and handle emergency situations.

“When it comes to emergencies, many people have a tendency to think they know what they’re doing from what they’ve seen on TV or on YouTube, which has given people a false sense of security,” said Dr. Rebecca Gimenez, workshop instructor and president of Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue (TLAER) Inc., based in Georgia.

“Motion pictures and videos have profoundly influenced us on how horses are rescued from emergency situations, from the perspective of owner expectations for care, what appears to be the correct techniques, tactics and procedures, and most especially for concerns of animal welfare,” she said. “Even experienced horse people can make mistakes when trying to assist in a disaster. Our tendency to panic, which then scares the very horse we’re trying to help, or poor planning from the mindset of ‘it won’t happen to me,’ are just some of the key obstacles that will be addressed.”

During the one-day workshop, Gimenez, along with a number of other experts, will provide participants with practical techniques. Topics include: hazards on the property, emergency preparedness, fire prevention, trailer safety and horse behavior in stressful situations.

“It will change your perspective on how you keep your horses and prepare them and your facilities for future emergencies,” said Gimenez, who has taught TLAER across the United States and internationally.

Gimenez will also be lead instructor for the Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue Awareness and Operations Level Course hosted by Equine Guelph on Sept. 19-21, 2014, which takes place in Adjala-Tosorontio, Ontario. Offered for the first time in Ontario, this program is geared for first responders, law enforcement, animal control officers, veterinarians, vet technicians and emergency animal response teams. The three-day course will provide emergency response professionals with the knowledge and skills to effectively deal with emergency situations, both large and small.

“This is not a course about skinny horse rescue; it is on the road with a loose horse, it is responding to a barn fire with live horses, and it’s about human safety first,” Gimenez said. “If you get hurt, you can’t help your horse, as all the effort of the emergency services will be to help you while your horse waits. If the emergency responder gets injured, they will stop the horse rescue until the member is treated and sent to the hospital. It’s about practical considerations and behavioral understanding. Even experienced horsemen will learn tactics, techniques, and procedures that they have never considered.”

For further information or to register please visit www.equineguelph.ca/education/emergency.php.

Equine Guelph is the horse owners’ and care givers’ Centre at the University of Guelph. 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. For further information, visit www.EquineGuelph.ca.

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