TLAER Horse Recovering from Injury in Canada

A horse used to teach animal emergency rescue techniques to first responders is recovering after being injured during a training exercise in Canada earlier this month.

Torque recovering

Tourque recovering from his accident with Dr. Erica Koch (left) and Dr. Rebecca Gimenez of TLAER.


Torque performing an A-frame lift two weeks before his accident.

Rebecca Gimenez, PhD., primary instructor and president of Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue Inc. (TLAER), said that on July 6 Torque, a horse the organization uses to demonstrate rescue techniques to veterinarians and other first responders, was injured when he became entangled in equipment during a demonstration at the University of Prince Edward Island's Atlantic Veterinary College.

At the time of the incident, Torque was demonstrating an A-frame vertical lift operation for 75 students, 26 of whom were veterinarians or veterinary technicians, Gimenez said. A-frame equipment is a rope system used to lift horses, she said. During the demonstration, while only one of the front end overhead carabiners was attached, Torque panicked and ran forward, destabilizing the equipment by lifting one side of its base plate. The horse then made a 180-degree turn and ran the opposite direction under the rope system causing the opposite A-frame base to be lifted. Torque sustained a head injury when the entire A-frame fell, Gimenez said.

Gimenez said that the incident represents the first accidental injury to take place during a training session in TLAER's 17-year history. Torque is an experienced TLAER demonstration horse that has performed the A-frame exercise numerous times without incident. She credits Torque's panicked behavior for causing the incident, Gimenez said.

"No failures of equipment occurred," she said.

The horse was treated at the scene, then transported to the intensive care unit at the Atlantic Veterinary College Hospital, where his injuries were determined to be non-life-threatening, Gimenez said.

"He has a hole at the top of his head, but he's alive and has no neurologic deficits," Gimenez said.

On July 12,Atlantic Veterinary College Spokesperson Anna MacDonald said that Torque's condition continues to improve.

"He is eating and drinking normally and is being taken outside daily for exercise," MacDonald said. "He will be at the Atlantic Veterinary Teaching Hospital up to two more weeks."

Gimenez said that upon his release from the hospital the horse will be transferred to a nearby rehabilitation facility in Canada, then to Maine for additional rehabilitation before returning to Gimenez' home in Georgia.

While Torque recovers, Gimenez said that well-wishers have offered support to offset the horse's treatment and recovery expenses. Instead she is requesting contributions to an equipment fund established in Torque's name at Atlantic Veterinary College.

"The Torque Equipment Fund will allow the university veterinary school to purchase some of the TLAER equipment they want to build in their cache so that they can help more horses," Gimenez said.

Contributors can send donations to the Atlantic Veterinary College, care of Dr. Erica Koch, for the "TORQUE EQUIPMENT FUND," 550 University Ave, Charlottetown, PE C1A 4P3, Canada.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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