Equine Guelph’s Large Animal Rescue educational tools emerged out of storage for the first time since the pandemic started. A total of 30 Toronto Mounted Police officers were the keen participants in workshops taking place on November 3rd and 10th 2021 at the CNE grounds. The last hands-on workshop was for the Hamilton Mounted Police unit in January of 2020.

Rusti the mannequin horse has travelled all over Ontario for training workshops with over 450 police, fire fighters, veterinarians, first responders and horse owners. With the help of Rusti, large animal manipulation techniques such as forward assists, rear assists, how to free a cast horse and work safely in confined spaces can all be practiced. Learning how to assemble an emergency halter is also part of the curriculum. First responders gain essential skills and an introduction to horse behaviour, so they can work safely in emergency situations.

Sgt Kristopher McCarthy, Toronto Mounted Police on the value of Large Animal Rescue Training:


Sergeant Kristopher McCarthy of the Toronto Mounted Police shared, “I took this course in 2017 and brought some of the techniques back home to train the officers here at the unit but I do not think you get the true value of the training unless you are moving something comparable to a horse. To have Equine Guelph come to us with the tools, operations and expertise of the trainers was invaluable for our unit.”

A vehicle collision scenario and overturned trailer rescue was set up for the Toronto police to come up with an appropriate plan of action using Incident command, utilizing the skills of the team.

“Proper use of specialized equipment and positioning of webbing around the body of the animal is so important to the positive outcome of lifting or dragging a large animal to safety,” says lead instructor Victor MacPherson.

MacPherson has also been involved with livestock emergency response workshops through Livestock Emergency Response Workshops – Farm & Food Care – Ontario

All large animal incidents regardless of cause or scope, present a risk of injury to responders. The way to improve the odds of a favorable and safe outcome for both animals and responders is through proper training of best practices and how to use rescue equipment. Equine Guelph’s program was implemented in 2014 and has continued to grow to expand its offerings to a varied group. If you are interested in helping to build this program or would like to discuss offering this program in your area or to your members, please contact Equine Guelph. It can be offered on a cost-recovery basis, or through sponsorship, to communities/individuals who would like to expand the reach of this training program.

After the program is completed, training resources are available from Equine Guelph to serve as refresher notes.

For more information or to bring a course to your location visit TheHorsePortal.ca and contact Dr. Susan Raymond at [email protected] .