Sunday, June 12, 2011

Bruce and Bob: two fake horses on a mission | - International horse news

Bruce and Bob: two fake horses on a mission | - International horse news

June 13, 2011

Bruce the horse has arrived in Australia, with his career in rescue training fully mapped out.

During a training exercise, Bruce remains calm while he is lifted from a river.
Bruce is a 200-kilogram life-size horse mannequin, and he will be put to work to help train equine vets, emergency responders and RSPCA inspectors to safely rescue horses trapped in life-threatening situations.

He will soon be joined by Bob, a specialised floating mannequin to teach how to safely rescue horses from floodwaters - a training need highlighted by recent catastrophic floods in parts of Australia.

Many such experts are not routinely trained in the specialised techniques used to rescue horses and unwittingly can put their own lives and the horses at risk by using dangerous practices and harmful procedures.

Training in large animal emergency rescue techniques with a live horse can also be fraught with danger because of the reactive nature of the horse, particularly when it is being handled by trainees not used to horses who are unaware of how they react to humans' body language.

Bruce, who is owned by Equine Veterinarians Australia and will be stabled with the Hawkesbury State Emergency Service, removes that risk.

Bruce will allow trainees to learn at their own pace and doesn't react when they make mistakes or inadvertently "hurt" him.

Equine vets and emergency responders need this training because any horse trapped in mud, a sinkhole, septic tank, overturned float or any other similar predicament is dangerous.

Being prey animals, their first instinct when threatened or trapped is to run away, but if they can't flee they will fight - and they fight hard.

If owners are unable to help the horse to self-rescue, they should call for emergency help.

Emergency services have equipment that can be adapted to rescue large animals and they work within a tightly structured system that ensures the safety of all involved.

Bruce is available to any rescue organisation, club or group of horse owners or trainers wanting to learn the skills.

Apart from regular gigs training equine vets, Bruce's next big outing is in September when he will help demonstrate emergency rescue techniques during large animal emergency rescue training courses conducted by Dr Rebecca Gimenez from, in the US, and MaryAnne Leighton, of

Bruce will assist at two-day awareness courses for horse owners, equine and large animal vets, State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers and mounted rescue units, police, Fire and Rescue and RSPCA inspectors, and he will help Gimenez and Leighton present large animal rescue techniques at the RSPCA New South Wales annual conference.

He will also be the star attraction at a large animal emergency rescue trainers' workshop at Hawkesbury SES in New South Wales.

All attendees on all courses will receive a copy of the book, Equine Emergency Rescue - a horse owner's guide to Large Animal Rescue, the training manual for all Large Animal Emergency Rescue training courses in Australia.

Bruce was bought from ResQuip in Britain by Equine Veterinarians Australia through sponsorship from Troy and Provet VMS.

He arrived in May, in time to appear at the veterinary association's first ever large animal emergency rescue workshop at the Australian Veterinarians' Association annual conference in Adelaide.

In November, Bruce will be at Equitana Sydney. Interested horse owners will be able to catch with him at stand 107 in the Southee Pavilion where information will also be available on courses.

Bob will teach emergency responders how to safely tow a horse - backwards - in water.
Bob, the second training mannequin, has been ordered.

Sponsorship from MaryAnne Leighton of and Hawkesbury SES is being used to buy Bob, who is the world's first floating equine mannequin.

This year's devastating floods highlighted the need SES rescue boat crews to be trained how to safely rescue horses from floodwater, rivers and creeks and this will be Bob's full-time job.

While he looks identical to Bruce, he has buoyancy chambers that enable him to float just like a real horse and his lower legs are weighted to keep him upright in the water. While horses can swim they are not really designed for it.

They tire quickly and, while their bodies are reasonably buoyant, their heads are heavy, making it difficult for them to keep their nostrils above the surface to breathe.

Among other aquatic rescue techniques, Bob will teach rescuers the only safe way to tow a horse behind a boat - which is backwards, as shown in the photo. Bob will be in Australia in time to share duty with Bruce at the September training events.

Sandra Patterson, of, and Joanne Anderson, of Richmond, in New South Wales, are raising money to purchase additional specialised horse rescue equipment, including a Becker Sling and a closed-in horse float in which to transport Bruce, Bob and the equipment.

No comments:

Post a Comment