The ARL’s animal intervention welfare coordinator, Scott Wilson, says they received a $6,600 grant from American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to purchase equipment and go through the training.
“One of the common things you’ll see around the country is horses will get stuck in ponds, or they will get into a swimming pool and not be able to get back out. Or they’ll fall into a shallow well. So, a big part of the training will be utilizing a sling and A-frame to actually hoist the horse of these situations and back onto solid ground,” Wilson explains.
It might seem like you could offer the horse a carrot and coax them out of trouble. Wilson says it’s not that simple. He says this is done when the horse absolutely won’t come out on their own. Wilson says horses don’t do well on ramps or stairs and that’s how they can get stuck in a swimming pool.
Those trained for the ARL’s equine rescue team will have the skills to rescue horses and other large animals during disasters or emergencies. “It doesn’t happen very often,” Wilson says,”but the problem is horses are actually very fragile creatures sometimes. And when the need arises, it requires an immediate response. So — even if it only happens once every couple of years — having the equipment on hand like this and the training will give us the possibility of actually saving the horse’s life. While a delay of several hours waiting for something to be figured out could cost the horse’s life.”
The training also teachers the rescuers how to be safe. “Horses can be very unpredictable and when they get scared you’ve got over a thousand pounds of scared animal trying to get away. So, you’ve really have know what you are doing both with the horses and the equipment to minimize any sort of risk,” Wilson says. He says they hope to be able to help other agencies if they are ever faced with a horse rescue or the rescue of another large animal.