Christmas arrived early at the Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) with the delivery of a new trailer on 7 December.

The trailer, given on permanent loan by Redwings Horse Sanctuary, will be used to transport Randy the moveable horse.

The 15hh, 200kg palomino model horse is used to train firefighters across the country how to rescue horses in trouble.

Trainers overturning, horses stuck in ditches and rivers are all part of Randy’s training remit.

Fire service model horse

The horse also visits schools and gives demonstrations at events to help raise the profile of the fire service’s work.

His old trailer fell into disrepair this summer and was deemed unusable.

The NFRS receives no statutory funding for animal rescue work so launched a Facebook appeal to find a replacement.

“It is our pleasure to support the Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service by loaning our trailer for both their animal rescue demonstrations and training, and for the safe transportation of their trusty education horse Randy,” said Lynn Cutress, Redwings’ chief executive.

Randy is such an impressive and vital training tool, and as well as loaning our trailer we have also pledged a retirement home at the Sanctuary to Randy should he need it,” she added.

This year up to October the NFRS carried out 87 animal rescues, compared to 146 during the whole of the previous year.

fire service model horse

“Randy is the only mannequin we have,” said NFRS operational support officer Jennie Schamp, “so his regular and safe transportation across the county is incredibly important.”

Teams at Kings Lynn, Thetford, Carrow and Dereham train with Randy regularly to keep up their standards.

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Horse-handling courses provided by the behaviour team at Redwings this year helped give further practical training.

“Hands-on training, with real horses is so valuable for our teams,” said Perry Smith, NFRS technical services officer.

“Not only were we able to learn the basics of how to handle horses safely, but we learned how to understand their body language in unpredictable and changing situations to also ensure the safety of our firefighers.”