Vets and support staff from across the UK joined forces to rescue a horse mannequin from a lake as part of the first ever course on equine emergency training for vets, delivered by Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.

Vets and support staff from across the UK joined forces to rescue a horse mannequin from a lake as part of what is claimed to be the first ever course on equine emergency training for vets, delivered by Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.

Hiab specialised craneAmong those attending the two-day training event were Writtle College staff members Heidi Janicke and Richard Cooke, who donned wetsuits, protective helmets and life jackets and used a Hiab specialised crane, strops and floating mats to rescue the life-sized horse model from a lake outside the rescue service’s HQ in Kelvedon.

The BEVA-approved course covered how to work effectively with animal rescue teams from the fire and rescue service at equine rescue incidents, and how to provide emergency care to rescued horses.

Equine clinicians skilled in emergency medicine showed how to triage, sedate and treat a horse from injuries sustained in trauma, such as falling in a ditch or being involved in a road traffic collision.

Dr Janicke, who teaches on the undergraduate and postgraduate equine courses at Writtle, said: “We hope we never are in a situation where we need to rescue our large animals at Writtle but this course has shown us what we need to do to ensure the fire and rescue service can safely rescue our animals, to minimise the distress of the animal and any danger to us.”

Dr Richard Cooke during training.The specialist animal rescue unit based in South Woodham Ferrers is called to attend more than 60 incidents involving large animals every year.

AR3 supervisor Scott Meekings, watch manager at South Woodham Ferrers, said: “When we get called out to an animal rescue it comes under our command procedures.

“The fire and rescue service will be in charge of all the health and safety within the incident grounds. We need to affect the rescue and work with vets as a team.

“This training builds up that team approach and shows vets what we are capable of and what we need them to do. The fire service will risk assess the animal in distress and ensure everyone is safely involved.”

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