It is a dark and stormy night. You are driving home late from a show when you happen upon an accident. A gust of wind has blown a horsefloat over and it is lying on its side half on the road. What do you do? How can the horses be removed from the trailer safely?
Instead of standing there dumbstruck like everyone else at the scene and waiting until the emergency services arrive, there are steps that can be taken to ensure safety for all parties and survival of the horses. Save Your Horse gives you the steps to work through in many emergency situations, not just transportation disasters.
For example, when a horse is unable to be removed from a float or trailer in the normal way, someone needs to know the right way to put on a strap to pull him out and what sort of a mat will need to be placed under him. Chances are the rescue personnel (fire, police) know next to nothing about horses and other large animals. There is a picture in the book of a horse who was pulled out of a float, by the tail with a tractor. The tail was pulled out of its body, and the horse later died.
This book contains information that may save lives – rescuers and animals. If you, the horse owner, know what to expect of rescue personnel in an emergency you will be able to ensure the safety of your horse and the people around him. Nobody wants to see a horse injured badly (for example a broken leg) during a rescue operation.
Save Your Horse – A Horse Owner’s Guide to Large Animal Rescue
by Michelle Staples
Red Jeans Ink; Soft Cover, 160pp, RRP $US24.95
ISBN: 0978568508. Available from Red Jeans Ink.
Horses (and cattle) are large, heavy animals. When they are in an unfamiliar or scary situation they can panic, and flailing hooves (and the head) are extremely dangerous. Again, there are steps to take to ensure safety for all parties.
There are drawings and photographs throughout (the filly pictured on the cover, Aerial, takes part in rescue training demonstrations and allows herself to be floated in water, laid down, rolled over, and lifted with a crane – all without sedation.)
As well as covering floating accidents, extrication from holes, swamps, and steep slopes are also covered. You may be interested to know there are really only two styles of slings that can be used with a helicopter.
An extremely useful section is the horse trailer safety section; pros and cons of ramps and step-ups, straight and slant loaders, and more; how to tow safely, and essential items to have with you.
Can you make an emergency rope halter? What about making a decent knot?
There’s also a comprehensive section on horse handling – leading, tying up, communication, catching, how to get a downed horse on its feet, and how to keep one on the ground. Some basic first aid is covered – how to spot head injuries and shock, treating hypothermia and heatstroke, and the signs of dehydration.
This is an absolute must-read both for those involved in the rescue services, and for horse owners.
After a lifetime of studying OPH – Other People’s Horses – Michelle got her first horse in 1990. “Austin the Wonder Horse” – an Arabian breeding farm reject – launched her into the horse rescue field. Austin was followed by Sara, his sister, then Chief. Austin and Sara and a string of other “rejects” went on to new “forever homes” but Chief, now age 33, still lives with Michelle and her husband, Michael.
“Our horses are “pasture potatoes”, producing manure for the neighborhood gardens, as well as our own,” says Michelle with a smile.
Upon retiring in 1999, Michelle narrowed her field of rescue to Standardbreds (harness racing horses) and is still active in rescue.
To satisfy a love of learning and an interest in medicine, Michelle became an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) and a CPR instructor, as well as becoming involved in disaster preparedness in her community. This led to becoming a HAM Radio Operator, a CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) instructor, and to developing an Advanced CERT Workshop, a Pet First Aid class, and an Animal Disaster Plan for her county.
Michelle lives in the redwoods on the north coast of California with her husband, Michael, dog Jet (rescued Airedale), cats Rusty (rescued) and Suki (homegrown), a herd of chickens and three horses – Chief and two rescued Standardbreds, Hunter and Rory.
First published on Horsetalk.co.nz on December 22, 2006.