A busy day for Max as he is ‘rescued’ from a series of dangerous situations

  • Max the life-sized equine mannequin has been put to work for the first time – in aid of future horses and ponies who need rescuing.

    H&H reported in March that the Mare and Foal Sanctuary had “rehomed” fully articulated Max, who was bought thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign. The purpose was to train emergency teams in rescuing horses from dangerous situations, such as ditches, cliffs and mud, and lorries and trailers.

    “The mannequin was engineered by specialist UK company Resquip and is a life-like model with realistic joint articulation and muscle definition,” a spokesman for the charity said.

    The sanctuary worked with the British Animal Rescue & Trauma Care Association (BARTA) to offer what it is hoped was the first in a series of collaborative training days. Representatives of the sanctuary, Tor Equine, and Kernow Farm & Equine Vets “rescued” Max from a range of scenarios, coached by Nicky Housby-Skeggs, vet director at The Horse Trust, and Ady Knight, a fireman experienced in large animal rescue.

    Mare and Foal Sanctuary head of equine welfare Syra Bowden said: “The first training session was an opportunity for members of the sanctuary’s welfare outreach and advice team and local vets to learn basic rescue techniques. We feel it was a big success because it gave us the chance to practise potentially life-saving manoeuvres in a safe environment.

    “Rescues involving large animals like horses and ponies are dangerous and can result in the death of the equine and injury to rescue team members, so it’s important for us to rehearse practical, realistic scenarios and to share that knowledge. Max had a busy day, being used for sliding, pulling and rolling techniques after getting himself stuck in the stocks and then the trailer.

    “We’re so grateful to our supporters for funding this kit and are certain their generosity will help to save equine lives. We plan to work more with BARTA and to invite other emergency teams from across the southwest to benefit from this training. Many category 1 responders have very little experience of working with equines, so we are keen to share our professional knowledge for the best outcome in critical rescue situations.”

    The charity thanked all those who collaborated on the training, and “who are committed to sharing the highest standards of equine welfare and education”.

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