Firefighters from the Isle of Wight have been recognised for their compassion and skills in rescuing horses.
The Island’s Animal Rescue Unit, based at Newport Fire Station, has been honoured with the British Horse Society’s Isle of Wight Equestrian Hero of the Year Award to mark outstanding contribution to the equestrian community.
Members of Green Watch were on hand to receive the certificate and trophy at a presentation.
Watch Manager Aidy Wellock said:
“We are delighted to have been recognised by the British Horse Society in this way.
“As firefighters, we are trained to deal with many kinds of rescues and in the rural community that we serve this often involves horses and livestock.
“We know that these rescues can be distressing for both horses and owners, which is why we always take time to explain what we are doing and try to keep the situation as calm as possible.”
BHS Isle of Wight Committee chairperson, Andrea Durham, said:
“The committee chose the Animal Rescue Unit for their 2020 Equestrian Hero Award in recognition of the invaluable contribution the unit makes to the safety of the Island’s horses.
“When a horse owner has to call for help, they and their horse will undoubtedly be having one of the worst days of their lives and be under a huge amount of stress, and time and again the team’s compassion and empathy, as well as their technical expertise, shines through in handling such situations.
“As an owner, it’s reassuring to know that they are based right here on the Island should we need them in an emergency.”
The presentation should have taken place last year but had to be postponed because of Covid-19.
Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service (HIWFRS) is well known for its animal rescue work. Our specialist advisors are trained in animal psychology, how to handle different species and how to react to an animal in distress.
Large animal rescue is recognised as one of the most dangerous activities a firefighter will be engaged in, and so specialised training and equipment is essential.