Animal rescue expert slams poor design of some horseboxes

  • An equine horse rescue specialist has slammed some horsebox designs as flawed and dangerous.

    Following a spate of horse entrapments, watch manager, Anton Phillips, a technical and large animal rescue specialist for Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, said horseboxes which don’t properly separate the horse accommodation from the living area are a danger to horses.

    He said: “There are a lot of vans which have a serious design flaw in that the horse can gain access to the day area. Particularly if the horse is left alone they can try to gain access to that area and get stuck.”

    Mr Phillips was speaking after his third such rescue in recent weeks, having removed a 14hh coloured cob filly, called Blue Belle, from the day area of a van in Farley Lane, Slackstead near Braishfield, Hampshire.

    Hampshire Fire and Rescue were called by vet Alix Jackson of Stable Close Equine Vets in Winchester, who had to sedate the one-year-old twice in order to aid the firefighters.

    Mr Phillips said: “When we arrived we found that Blue Belle was already sedated so we were able to work around her. We placed hay bales in the living accommodation section and covered the top of the partition with rugs to make the transition back to the horse side as smooth as possible.

    “Blue Belle’s legs were also protected and when all was in place she was gently eased back to safety.”

    Mr Phillips, who is part of a dedicated four-person animal rescue specialist team, was trained in the US in how to handle large animal rescue.

    He said: “We handle 80 to 90 horse entrapments a year. Other counties don’t have our skills so we’re travelling further and further afield.”

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