Florida Vet Response Team Receives Horse Rescue Mannequin

To help further the cause of improving large-animal emergency rescue training, USRider has contributed significant donations to the University of Florida (UF) College of Veterinary Medicine over the years to support the college's large-animal rescue initiatives. USRider's latest donation was used toward the purchase of a Rescue Randy, a horse rescue mannequin, for the college's disaster response team, also known as VETS.

As a rescue mannequin, Randy will help advance Florida's large-animal technical rescue training to a new level by providing more realistic horse trailer accidents, sink holes, and other scenarios for the VETS team to encounter during training, increasing the breadth and complexity of the training. The mannequin will also allow the VETS team to reduce the use of live horses when training. This, in turn, will reduce risk of injury to both the horses and the students, as well as open new venues for training.

"Since Florida is prone to an array natural disasters, including hurricanes, tornadoes, tropical storms, floods and wildfires, we are extremely pleased to support the outreach aspect of UF's mission to reach out across the state and train the various responders," said Mark Cole, managing member for USRider. "We believe the UF team has already made tremendous progress in Florida, and we encourage other horse owners and organizations to support their efforts as well."

Through its Equestrian Motor Plan, USRider offers a nationwide, member-based roadside assistance program designed especially for equestrians (more information). Since its establishment in January 2002, the company has endeavored to raise awareness of the need for training in large-animal emergency rescue.

The VETS team is a core component of the statewide animal and agriculture disaster response team, SART, and is based at the UF College of Veterinary Medicine. The team is composed of college staff and faculty with an interest in disaster response. The team trains veterinary students, practitioners in the state reserve corps (Vet Corps), other SART partner agencies, mounted police units, and local fire departments in large-animal technical rescue across the state of Florida. The funding for team equipment and training has been provided by the donations and grants.

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