Firefighters learn horse rescue techniques

BOWDOIN Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Firefighters from the Litchfield, Bowdoin and Bowdoinham fire departments are learning how to rescue large animals. They feel the training is really needed.

Vicki Schmidt has been training fire departments for the past year.

“You only need one or two people trained in animal behavior, in animal techniques, and they can communicate that to the rest of the fire department,” said Schmidt.

Firefighters learn how to use equipment already in their trucks to make harnesses for the horses that can help pull them to safety. They also learn how to keep horses calm during the rescue.

Click here to view video. If the link is inactive, please search the WCSH6 website.

Other agencies can learn the techniques from the book, A Horse Owners Guide to Large Animal Rescue, and the new CDRom, Horse Awareness and Safety. Available now at

See also the large animal rescue website It is designed to be used as an on-site resource for responders who do not understand horses and are unfamiliar with Large Animal Rescue (LAR) training.

Firefighters take FEMA horse rescue training using LUCKY (that's a wooden horse by the way
The Felton Volunteer Fire Department in California do training using a horse manikin named Lucky. He is life-sized – 15 hands tall – so that firefighters and rescue workers get a taste of really what it would be like to work with such a large animal.

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