First Responders are Gaining and Implementing Skills for Large Animal Emergency Rescue

The next stop for Equine Guelph’s Large Animal Emergency Rescue (LAER) training team will be Ashburn, Ontario on Sept 16 and 17, 2023.  The two-day operational level course, presented by Equine Guelph (University of Guelph), WindReach Farm and Scugog Fire Department, will be important training for emergency response teams that are called out to extricate large animals trapped in tricky situations.

In fact, just this past May, the Scugog fire department responded to a call where a horse had toppled into a well.  The team of first responders quickly came together with a successful action plan which implemented the use of special equipment.

Equine Guelph’s LAER program has been providing training of best practices, the use of rescue equipment and the incident command system since 2014.  The odds of a safe outcome for both first responders and the large animal at risk comes from understanding animal behaviour, mitigating risks and bringing in the necessary resources for a successful rescue.

The two-day operational level workshop is relevant across professions whether it be veterinarians, police, firefighters, animal welfare officers, horse caretakers or barn owners.  In the event of an emergency involving a large animal, preparedness has every opportunity to prevail if the first on the scene can remain calm, make the right calls to bring in help and work within the incident command system.

Topics include:  basic animal behaviour, animal handling techniques, animal restraint and confinement techniques, basic anatomy.  Large animal manipulation techniques such as forward and rear assists, sideways drags and cast horse rolls will be practiced with a 600 pound life size horse mannequin.  Confined space and trench rescue scenarios give participants a chance to practice techniques while learning about safe rescue protocol.

“It is such a pleasure and honour to have the opportunity to work with our training team of first responders.” says facilitator Dr. Susan Raymond.  “Our program continues to grow under the guidance of our lead trainer, Victor MacPherson. Each course offers a unique learning experience.”

The last LAER workshop on July 15, 2023, was organized by Tracey Abramovic, farm owner of Trinity Trotters in Burlington, Ontario.  “I just wanted to say a big thank you for running this amazing course; I loved it!” said participant Anna Chiasson.  “Lots of great information and hands on techniques.”

 Abramovic can’t wait to schedule the next LAER training course.  “I’m very proud of everyone that came out to learn and bring the horse community together. Fantastic, teamwork, everyone!  Thank you again for another informative course.”

 Spaces are limited for the next offering of Equine Guelph Large Animal Emergency Rescue hands-on Operational Level course at WindReach farm, Ashburn, Ontario.

Sept 16 & 17, 2023 From 8:30 am to 4pm

The cost is $295 CDN +hst and includes lunch (pending minimum registration)

Participants must be a minimum of 18 years of age.  First responders, pre-service, law enforcement, animal welfare officers, veterinarians, vet. technicians, emergency animal response teams, horse owners, livestock producers and associations are all encouraged to register today!

Equine Guelph’s LAER program continues to grow and 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 Susan Raymond at Equine Guelph. Courses 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.

Notes to Editor:
Equine Guelph is the horse owners’ and care givers’ Centre at the University of Guelph in Canada. It is a unique partnership dedicated to the health and well-being of horses, supported and overseen by equine industry groups. Equine Guelph is the epicentre for academia, industry and government – for the good of the equine industry as a whole. For further information, visit

Story by: Jackie Bellamy-Zions, Equine Guelph

Photos:  (images available upon request)

Photo Credit: Tracey Abramovic

 Photo Caption: The group of Large Animal Emergency Rescue workshop participants at Trinity Trotters pulled together learning techniques to extricate animals from tricky situations.

Web Link(s):

Story web link:

Other links:  

Registration Link:

Susan Raymond’s email:

Scugog fire department responded to a call where a horse had toppled into a well:

Media Contact:
Jackie Bellamy-Zions
Communications & Administration
Equine Guelph
50 McGilvray Street
Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1