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HEART Equine Ambulance Staff Takes Large Animal Emergency Rescue Clinic

Hoedown for HEART Scheduled For February 9, 2007

Wellington, FL – January 15, 2007 – The Humane Equine Aid and Rapid Transport (HEART) Equine Ambulance staff is constantly working to improve their performance. The four main technicians, Janus Marquis, Andrea Stuehr, Craig Kellog and Maria Vitale recently attended a Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue, hosted by Southwest Ranches Volunteer Fire-Rescue in cooperation with the Broward County Extension Education Division, a collaborative partnership between Broward County and the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, and funding from the Ruth S. Goldman Trust.

Fortunately, it is a rare occurrence that horses are physically debilitated or die during show jumping competitions. Although accidents are few and far between, this loss strikes horrible fear in the equestrian community. Aside from the obvious heartbreak to the riders, the public observing the incident is forever impacted by how the care of the horse is handled. The staff members and Board of Directors of HEART strive to improve equine transport by educating themselves and others. Training sessions are just one way they stay current on techniques used to aid and transport injured horses.

The instructors were Dr. Tomas Gimenez, a professor at Clemson University, SC, and Rebecca M. Gimenez, Ph.D. in Animal Physiology and a Major in the US ARMY Signal Corps (MEDCOM, Ft. Bragg, NC). Gimenez teaches Endocrinology, Equine Theriogenology, and Equine Management. He provides certificate training courses to emergency responders nationwide and is actively involved in disaster animal preparedness. Rebecca Gimenez has been a large animal rescue instructor for 10 years and is a founding member of the Department of Homeland Security.

Marquis, Stuehr, Kellog and Vitale attended the training clinic with hopes of improving their response time, learning state-of-the-art techniques in large animal mobilization, and to practice working together under extraordinary circumstances. Topics covered were the basic principles of large animal rescue that technicians face regularly while transporting horses from competition, such as reading an animal’s body language, use of equipment, tying knots, using a sling, and the strength of rescue equipment. There were also many unusual topics covered, such as trailer accidents, euthanasia, and mud rescue.

Stuehr returned from the training sessions very enthusiastic and excited about what she had learned. “Most of the rescue training was focused more toward fire and police departments than equine rescue under normal conditions,” Stuehr explained. “We learned how to rescue large animals from floods, mud, ditches, fire and ice, as well as how to search and rescue large animals after trailer accidents, and how to use an Anderson sling for helicopter rescue,” she added. “Although we will hopefully never need theses skills, it is always good to expect the unexpected and to be prepared for as much as we can be. Dr. Tomas Gimenez used the word ‘incident’ in place of ‘accident’ because most situations are man-made and could have been avoided by using common sense and precautionary measures,” she said.

Stuehr said that she learned many interesting things about trailering including axels, brakes, wiring, floor bearings, latches and tires. “Everyone who ships horses commercially or privately should take this course,” she explained. “It was scary to see examples of my worst fears in shipping being actualized, but it is important that everyone is aware of the consequences of carelessness,” she said.

The group from HEART participated in a simulated night search and rescue at Tree Tops Park in Davie, FL, as part of their training. Dr. Gimenez hid his two horses in the bush and assigned Janus Marquis (HEART) as the incident commander. She quickly assigned Jim Hurst (Davie County Fire Department) as her safety officer. Marquis separated the team of police, fire rescue and equestrians into three groups to find the horses. With hard hats and flashlights they disappeared into the woods to begin the search, with Janus checking in on them every ten minutes. Once the horses were found, Ernesto Jillian (Davie County Fire-venom-EMS) mildly sedated the first horse led by Stuehr (HEART). The horse was safely and successfully bound and strapped by Vitale (HEART). His “leg injury” was tended to with bandages and a Kimsey splint. The horse was dragged onto the HEART sled manned by Craig Kellogg (HEART). It took 14 people to pull the 1100 pound horse to ambulatory transportation.

The HEART staff is passionate about the welfare of all horses, and appreciated the opportunity to participate in the training sessions. Along with all the members of the HEART Board of Directors and sponsors, it is their mission to make the transport of show horses as humane and successful as possible.

The HEART Equine Ambulance became a nonprofit organization in 2000. It has been run by Jill Parsons and nurtured along by a dedicated group of equestrians. The ambulance is funded by generous donations and fundraising events.

Please join us to celebrate and support the HEART Equine Ambulance at the 2007 HEART Hoedown. It is a casual and fun event full of horse enthusiasts who believe in the necessity of protecting equine athletes. There will be a fun packed, heel-stomping hoedown held at Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club in the Special Events Pavilion to raise money for the equine ambulance. With everything from a mechanical bull Calcutta to square dancing, the HEART Hoedown will offer fun for the entire family.

Fast Facts - HEART Hoedown Presented by Outback Steakhouse

When: Friday, February 9, 2007 7:00PM - 11:00 PM

What: Fundraiser for the Humane Equine Aid and Rapid Transport (HEART) Equine Ambulance, with cocktails, dinner, country western music and dancing

Event Chair: Caroline Moran

Dress: "Hoedown Country Casual"

Open seating tickets: $150/person

Premium tables of eight with sponsor benefits: $2,500 - $5,000 each

The Cause: Humane Equine Aid and Rapid Transport (HEART) Equine Ambulance has a state-of-the-art equine ambulance that allows HEART to respond to emergencies at events throughout the United States. Currently HEART provides services to some of the nation's top equestrian events.

Contact for tickets and sponsorship information:

HEART Equine Ambulance

PO Box 2661

Bonita Springs, FL 34133

Trish Zorn at (540) 948-3007 or Phelps Media Group at (561) 753-3389

HEART is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit and as such donations to HEART are tax-deductible as allowed by law. For more information about HEART see our website at http://www.equineambulance.com

PHOTO CREDIT: HEART Ambulance in action. Photo courtesy of HEART.


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