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Firefighters learn essential skills necessary for horse rescues

The Shea Center is giving more than 100 Southern California first responders hands-on experience with real horses.

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, Calif. — The Shea Center is hosting their second annual equine training for firefighters across Southern California, giving more than 100 first responders hands-on experience with real horses.

“They’re learning about horse behavior, they’re learning about how the equipment looks for a horse, they’re learning how horses react in situations,” said Dana Butler-Moburg, CEO of the Shea Center. “Having our firefighters understand the nature of the horses, how safe handling will keep them safe and then keeping the animals safe, these are really critical things that we want anybody to know, especially our first responders.” 

During the three-hour course, firefighters move around between four different training stations where they learn the basics of horse behavior, how to lead a horse in and out of a trailer, and how to buckle and secure a large animal harness for helicopter rescues. 

“Most of these firefighters are not comfortable with horses in the beginning, but by the end, they’re leading horses around,” said Danny Goodwin, Fire Captain with Orange County Fire Authority.  “We get very comfortable in a short amount of time.” 

The Shea Center is holding training sessions on March 27, 29, and 31, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. 

About 40 firefighters are expected to attend each session to expand their knowledge of horse rescue procedures and build horse-handling skills. 

WATCH RELATED: California ranks #1 in the nation for horse lovers (March 2023).


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