Oct
29

Large Animal Rescue at Equidays NZ 2017

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It took four years of planning to feature Large Animal Rescue at New Zealand’s premier horse expo, Equidays NZ, but it was worth every second of the wait.

It was first mooted in 2013, nearly happened in 2015 then the organisers decided it would be a highlight of Equidays in 2017 and I’m so pleased I was able to control my impatience.

Over the three days of this mighty expo I delivered Large Animal Rescue presentations that covered what can go wrong and how quickly it happens; what to do and not do if a horse becomes trapped; the horrors of mud and unstable ground rescues, and how to handle incidents involving horse floats.

With the support of Massey University’s Veterinary Emergency Response Team (VERT), their mannequin and equipment, plus volunteers from the audience, we knocked spectators’ socks off with rescue scenarios in the demo pen, cutting arena and scary derby course.

Our enthusiastic audience represented all age groups and equine disciplines, and included Equidays staff and volunteers and even the on-duty paramedics! A delightful little boy bounced in his seat, gave me huge smiles and thumbs up when I showed positive mud rescue photos and videos. His frowns showed clearly how disappointed he was with any shots of rescuers doing incorrect or dangerous things. There’s nothing like getting them young and, when he grows up, I can see this captivating kid with a future as an actor or comedian, or possibly a Large Animal Rescue Specialist.

A number of horse owners who are also emergency responders introduced themselves and we were able to direct them to the right person for FENZ (Fire Emergency New Zealand) Large Animal Rescue training. Other spectators asked how they can work with VERT to establish a Large Animal Rescue response in their own parts of New Zealand. How good is that!

Feedback included:

  • “I am very keen to be part of this program in any way you see fit and offer my services whenever you need me. I truly believe how important this program is and the awareness that needs to be made.”
  • “I have waited years to meet you and listen to your presentations.”
  • “I was absolutely blown away with your passion and dedication to this important message.”
  • From one of the on-duty paramedics, “That was a brilliant demonstration. What you are doing is so very, very important.”

Thank you to Lynley Schollum, Equidays Event Executive who worked hard with me for four years to make this happen in 2017.

My thanks also to:

  • Hayley Squance, founder and head of Massey University Veterinary Emergency Response Team (VERT) who pulled together a small but well trained team of volunteers for the demos
  • Chris Riley, Professor of Equine Clinical Studies at Massey University and VERT volunteer who was our attending vet during the demos
  • Steve De Grey and Patrice Palleson-Putt, VERT volunteers who generously gave up their time to assist in the Equidays demos
  • Virginia Leighton-Jackson, our horse handler and my right hand
  • My sister Claire De Thierry who looked after me and looked after the stand while Virginia and I went off to play in the dirt

If you have never been to Equidays NZ, you’re missing something special. The setting is absolutely glorious, the facilities are excellent, the international talent is the best to be found anywhere and the atmosphere is so much better than at Big Brother Equitana over the ditch. This was my second visit to Equidays NZ and I hope it won’t be the last.

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With Virginia Leighton-Jackson waiting for Equidays NZ 2017 to begin. MR ED (Massey Rescue Emergency Dummy) models the new BARTA quick-release halter, which attracted a lot of attention.

With Virginia Leighton-Jackson waiting for Equidays NZ 2017 to begin. MR ED (Massey Rescue Emergency Dummy) models the new BARTA quick-release halter, which attracted a lot of attention.

In the cutting arena for our horse float rescue scenario are four VERT volunteers with helpers from the audience. Back row from left are two gentlemen whose names I didn't catch, with Patrice Palleson-Putt, Steve De Grey, Hayley Squance, Chris Riley and commentator, yours truly. Standing in front (with blue sleeves) is my lovely niece Andrea De Thierry with another two happy volunteers. Thank you all!

In the cutting arena for our horse float rescue scenario are four VERT volunteers with helpers from the audience. Back row from left are two gentlemen whose names I didn’t catch, with Patrice Palleson-Putt, Steve De Grey, Hayley Squance, Chris Riley and commentator, yours truly. Standing in front (with blue sleeves) is my lovely niece Andrea De Thierry with another two happy volunteers. Thank you all!

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My wonderful sister Claire De Thierry who had my back, looked after the stand while Virginia and I were busy with demos and talked knowledgably about the photos behind her and the BARTA quick-release halter.

My wonderful sister Claire De Thierry who had my back, looked after the stand while Virginia and I were busy with demos and talked knowledgably about the photos behind her and the BARTA quick-release halter.

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