What do you do when your horse gets stuck in mud or floodwater, goes down in his float, falls down a cliff, into a ditch, sinkhole or septic tank, or you have an accident while you're towing?
Rescuing a trapped horse is incredibly dangerous, difficult and challenging. The horse's first instinct when threatened or trapped is to run away. If he can't run, he will fight - and fight hard. If your horse became trapped in any way, how confident are you that you could help him without injuring or killing him or putting your own life at risk?
The correct thing to do is call 111 for help, but many emergency services are not trained to rescue large animals. Whilst they do have the equipment they need, they don't know how dangerous a trapped horse can be, that specialised rescue techniques for horses exist or that the human rescue techniques of primary triage, first aid and medical support can be applied to horses. Their lack of training puts them, you and your horse at extreme risk of being injured or killed during an attempted rescue.
This is why Australian MaryAnne Leighton, together with US expert Michelle Staples, wrote Equine Emergency Rescue, a guide to the methods and tools necessary to successfully extricate a horse or other large animal from entrapment. The book demonstrates how to use simple nylon webbing straps, ropes and slings to secure, lift, shift or assist a mobile or immobile horse and how to evacuate horses from stable fires and floodwater. It shows how to safely use the large surface area and skeletal strength of the horse's torso to reduce tissue damage and trauma to his delicate structures, thus increasing the chance of a successful rescue.
"Because it will be many, many years before our emergency responders will be trained in Large Animal Rescue, I wrote Equine Emergency Rescue for NZ horse owners so that, if the worst happens, you can show them step-by-step instructions for any kind of rescue, reassure them that using these steps will increase their own safety and that of your horse, and prevent your horse from being strangled, dropped, drowned or dragged by ropes tied around his fragile neck and legs," Leighton says.
MaryAnne Leighton has had a lifelong love affair with horses and the written word - in that order. She is a horsewoman and established author, freelance writer, editor and proofreader. She writes biography and non-fiction and her extensive experience in the horse world allows her to write with authority for equine publications worldwide.
MaryAnne has had careers in public relations, marketing and horse stud management. She bred horses for 20 years - both her own national champions and for studs that ranged in size from two stallions and 200 mares to seven stallions and 400 mares. She has travelled extensively and, apart from horse-related themes, has written about subjects as diverse as the European Space Agency, the use of computer systems within an abattoir and the intensity of the darkness in the bowels of Mt Isa mine.
She was commissioned to write Living the Legend: the Ian Francis Story, the biography of one of the world's most accomplished horsemen that sells not only in Australia but through Clinton Anderson's Downunder Horsemanship in the USA.
MaryAnne's home has always been a sanctuary for aged, infirm and abandoned animals and her passion for the plight of horses that are injured or killed during rescue from entrapment lead her to collaborate with a US expert in Large Animal Rescue, Michelle Staples, to write Equine Emergency Rescue.