UMaine student plans seminar on horse safety

Posted Aug. 03, 2009, at 6:11 p.m.

ORONO, Maine — University of Maine pre-vet senior Lauren Mack sees a real problem arising when public safety officials are called out in horse emergencies and no one in the department is trained to handle horses.

In the last six months in the Bangor area, a racehorse got loose on Interstate-395 in Bangor, and horses have broken through fences and been found running loose on I-95.

In an attempt to assist and educate rescue personnel, Mack is coordinating a training course for first responders.

The course will be taught by Dr. Shea Porr, the superintendent of the Virginia Tech Mare Center in Middleburg, Va., and will be offered Saturday, Sept. 19, at the J.F. Witter Large Animal Research Center in Old Town.

Two sessions will be scheduled, the first from 8 a.m. to noon, and the second from 1 to 5 p.m. Participants will include area police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians who are often called out when there are horse emergency situations.

Participants will hear lectures on such topics as “What to do until the vet arrives” and “Horse handling techniques.” They also will be given experience handling, haltering and leading horses that are a part of the UMaine herd of retired Standardbred racehorses.

Each participant will be asked to pay a minimal fee, which will be used to send each participant home with a halter and lead rope for department use.

First responder personnel who are interested in knowing more about this seminar may e-mail Mack at Lauren.Mack@umit.maine.edu or call her at 860-992-8735.

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