More than 1,000 traffic officers are to benefit from training on how to deal with loose horses on the roads.
The Horse Trust and the British Animal Rescue and Trauma Care Association (BARTA) are working together to educate the Highways England staff, who deal with some 120 horse-related incidents on motorways every year.
The Horse Trust has offered training to police officers since 2008, more recently working with BARTA and the Chief Fire Officers’ Association to develop a standard for equine-related training for fire and rescue services.
A spokesman for the partnership said: “Horses loose on road networks are a dangerous prospect, both for public safety and equine welfare.
“In collaboration with the Horse Trust, BARTA is developing bespoke courses to meet the needs of emergency responders, who encounter horses in their everyday activities, to enable a common approach and understanding.
“Responders can use this knowledge to calm the situation and control the scene in order to resolve it using the skills they have learned, coupled with resources and other agencies in place to support them.
“This training is a major step forward in organisational planning to resolve the challenges animals place on their staff and safeguard the public.”
The spokesman said the training would focus on the way horses react and behave under pressure.
BARTA director and co-founder Jim Green added: “Highways England officers deal with about 4,500 animal incidents on the motorway network each year and while horses form a relatively small element of their overall activity, the impact of a horse on the motorway is far-reaching.
“It is essential that responders understand how horses behave, particularly when stressed, as horses don’t think, they just react. We sincerely hope that all responders in every frontline agency will be able to tap into these resources in the future.”
Jeanette Allen, CEO of the Horse Trust said, “We work closely with the emergency services to support them in their vital role of rescuing and caring for horses in crisis situations, from a pony loose on a highway to a horse caught in a major incident.
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“These animals can be extremely dangerous to work with. They are often frightened and in many cases actions can be taken to lessen their trauma and to keep those attending them, and the public, safe.
“This new initiative to train Highways England is a fantastic opportunity to promote these skills to a wider group of people operating in equally difficult circumstances.”