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Equine Emergency Rescue

a horse owner's guide to large animal rescue, by MaryAnne Leighton and Michelle Staples, Velvet Visions Press. Soft Cover, 2010 140pp, RRP $A29.95. ISBN: 978-0-646-54411-3.

December 11, 2010

"This book could save your horse's life!"

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.



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