When we read stories about firefighters rescuing horses from dangerous situations, it’s not often that we stop to think about the logistics of how these rescues happen.
Earlier this year, crews from Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service took part in a specialist large animal training course and this video shows the various techniques practised by crews on the training course to carefully remove large animals from the perilous situations they find themselves in.
A horse became trapped in a ditch when her rider fell off out hacking
By using life-size dummy horse “Bullseye”, which is roughly the same weight as a horse of his size would be, the firefighters were able to realistically recreate certain scenarios.
These included crane-lifting a horse to safety, practising how to get ropes, nets and pulleys securely under a stranded equine and safe ways to pull a horse out of a steep-banked ditch and river.
They also practiced scenarios involving a rider trapped under a horse.
The four-day training course was held at Harper Adams University in Newport and Tong Park Farm, Telford, in March.
As well as practising horse rescues, officers also took part in scenarios that other farm animals — such as pigs and cattle — find themselves in.
The large animal specialist unit is based at Wellington Fire Station.
Watch manager Craig Jackson, who has been in the fire service for 11 years, said the training is “it is as realistic as it can be with a dummy horse”.
He added that they are receiving “more and more” large animal call outs.
“It is normally horses in ditches or cows in slurry pits or foals in slurry pits,” he said.
In the last year, H&H has reported on a number of horse rescues carried out by Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service.
These include a horse that was stuck on a gate, a pony that was stuck in a 5ft trench, a seven-month-old foal that was rescued from a slurry pit and a horse that became trapped in a ditch.