Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Large Animal Rescue Course

Last weekend I participated in a large animal rescue course. It was hosted by Metchosin Firehall. There were firefights from Metchosin, Sooke and some members of the Metchosin Emergency Operations Center. The instructor was Jennifer Woods a pretty amazing lady I might add. She's worked with Temple Grandin and she sets up emergency response programs for large animals, pretty much all over the world.

Saturday was all classroom, it was a lot of information to take in. Lots of theory, pictures and video. I felt a bit overwhelmed at the end of the day but it was totally worth it.

Sunday was practical and HO boy was it a day!

We started out at Perry Bay Sheep Farm learning to handle (herd) sheep. I had no idea the little buggers were so fast! Nor did I know they jumped like they do! We were split into teams of 3 to try and herd and separate sheep, not an easy task!

We went to another farm to look at alpaca's and goats, sorry I didn't get pictures from that farm. Alpaca's have always made me a bit nervous, they move a bit odd and the whole "spitting at you when angry" thing just grosses me out! The goats were adorable!

Then we moved on to trailers, we looked at a straight haul and two angle hauls and it really made me think about my trailers and how easy or hard they'd be to remove an animal from in an accident.

Then onto horse handling.

First they wanted to learn to catch loose horses, I really thought my guys would just mill about making it easy for everyone. I don't know if it was the weather or what but they TOOK OFF and gave everyone a small challenge to catch them.

Then we did some knot tying, blindfolds and strapping systems. Who'd have thought a bra would make an awesome blindfold!

They wanted to try strapping and lifting a horse and I figured if they could do that with anyone it'd be Indy and he handled it really well. The backhoe couldn't get high enough to actually lift him but they got to work through how to attach strapping and the process of it all. I was really impressed with how they handled it, I stayed out of the way as it wouldn't be me strapping and lifting! It'd be a fire crew so they needed to work through it, and I think they did a great job. I was impressed with their skill and how concerned they were for Indy. Indy wasn't concerned at all and spent most of it asleep with one back leg resting. We had one spooky moment when the straps got dropped but everyone handled it really well and Indy settled down immediately and they strapped him up again!

All in all a pretty cool way to spend a weekend. I want to thank the firehall for letting me attend the course.


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