Published: 07 Feb 2020 | Last Updated: 07 Feb 2020 16:04:24

The Animal Care Trust, with the support of the Simon Gibson Charitable Trust, has acquired an equine rescue mannequin to improve the wellbeing and safety for horses involved in emergency incidents.

Equine rescue mannequin

A £7,940 grant was awarded to the Royal Veterinary College’s Equine Hospital in 2019 for an equine rescue mannequin - affectionately known as Muffin. The rescue mannequin is a vital piece of training equipment that enables vets to be effective responders to incidents involving large animals alongside the emergency services.

The UK Fire and Rescue Service responds to at least 5,000 incidents involving large animals each year. In Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Essex, most large animal incidents involve horses, including horse transporters involved in road traffic collisions, horses hit by traffic and horses trapped in mud, rivers and ditches. These incidents require veterinary attendance to improve the safety of rescue personnel and the welfare of the animal casualty.

A course for Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service was run with the aim of providing training in animal handling and psychology. Many who attended had very little experience in animal handling, and the training course was an essential step in improving understanding in the safety and welfare of horses involved in emergency incidents. The equine rescue mannequin played a pivotal role in demonstrating techniques and exercises replicating real-life situations.

Mike Hewetson, Senior Lecturer in Equine Medicine, said: “The mannequin is proving to be a valuable piece of equipment for training RVC staff and students as well as the Fire and Rescue Service in equine rescue.

“The equine mannequin allows us to provide a thorough knowledge of the techniques that should be used by the Fire and Rescue Service to move horses in need of rescue. It is paramount for equine veterinarians that will be called to an incident to manage the veterinary care of the animals during the rescue.

“Additionally, it means we can improve the management of recumbent horses, which is common in an equine hospital, and deliver specialist training in the correct techniques to move a horse safely where it is essential for both the safety of the personnel involved and the welfare of the animal.”

The Equine Hospital plans to build on the success of the equine mannequin so far, with a particular emphasis on managing hospitalised horses that are recumbent and require assistance using these rescue techniques. The team also plans to provide RVC students with an insight into how veterinarians can support the resolution of an incident involving animals by operating safely as part of a trained animal rescue team within a designated risk area.



Thanks to your help we are able to improve the treatment and care of animals through clinical practices, education and research at the Royal Veterinary College. Please donate to our ongoing work and make a difference to the thousands of pets and animals cared for each year.




Top of page