Code 3 Associates and Colorado Trails Dude Ranch are at it again: Colorado Trails teamed up with the non-profit agency again recently to train first-responders in the art of technical equine rescue.

In Colorado, first-responders are frequently called in to help in situations that involve horses. Normally, their calls for help are for the rider, not the horse. However, the training Colorado Trails recently hosted for Code 3 Associates specializes in training firefighters, police and other first-responders to help the animal as well as the rider.

Timely Training

The summer of 2012 was the worst fire season on record in Colorado. At one point in June, more than 32,000 Colorado residents were forced to evacuate their homes. When the humans fled the flames, their animals also took shelter. Although cats and dogs are the first pets people think of when it comes to rescuing animals at risk, Colorado residents also own plenty of horses. In Colorado Springs, for example, horses found safety in the Norris Penrose Event Center.

What would have happened to horses who were caught in harm’s way? This question is one of the primary issues addressed by Code 3 Associates. Once everyone else has been evacuated from an area, it’s up to first-responders to deal with the animals left behind.

Rescue Training Exercises at Colorado Trails

Rescuing a frightened horse is nothing like rescuing a frightened Cocker Spaniel. For starters, helping a horse who has fallen get back on its feet is no easy matter. A horse can easily weigh close to half a ton. Code 3 teaches first-responders how to use gear they already have, such as webbing and pulleys, to help horses in distress.

First-responders also learn how to handle a loose, spooked horse. When horse owners and veterinarians aren’t available, it’s up to first-responders to get the horse back under control and help it to safety. Learning how to coax a horse out of a dangerous area is another skill Code 3 teaches to first-responders at Colorado Trails.

As Captain Cate Harding recently told the Durango Herald, the area around Durango has many ravines. Although many people like to go horseback riding in the area, she says, not all of them are skilled riders. That means a horse rescue is always a possibility. Thanks to the training at Colorado Trails, local first-responders now feel confident that they can help a horse in distress.