Soldiers from the Household Cavalry and the King’s Troop, Royal Horse Artillery have spent the week with some of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service’s internationally recognised animal rescue specialists, Anton Phillips and recently retired Paul Rance.
Both regiments have more than 400 horses and full-time veterinarians, with the Household Cavalry’s soldiers and animals most recognised for their ceremonial duties during State and Royal occasions, as well as their public duties of guarding official royal residences.
Captain Charlie Onslow of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment said:
“Thank you to the expert teams from Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service and 3SFire for enabling this training to take place.
“As a Mounted Regiment we take health and safety extremely seriously, both for our personnel and our animals.
“Working as integrated teams with the emergency services has allowed learning for both sides and today’s training has given us the tools and the confidence to deal with a range of complex scenarios which will help us take the right actions should anything untoward take place in the future.”
Learning about the rescue skills and techniques our firefighters use at incidents, the troops have also been able to put their knowledge into practice with exercise scenarios and demonstrations using the Service’s range of realistic animal rescue mannequins.
HIWFRS and 3SFire animal rescue advisor, Anton Phillips said:
“The soldiers within both the Household Cavalry and King’s Troop, Royal Horse Artillery are professional horse people, their animals are working horses so it is important they are trained in all aspects of equine rescue.
“This week we’ve been able to deliver our animal rescue course, ensuring that both regiments are armed with the skills needed to perform rescues, should the need arise.
“We have made use of the appliance bay and training paddock at Lyndhurst Fire Station to ensure we could provide this important training to the soldiers that are commonly seen with their animals in front of Buckingham Palace, in a Covid-secure way.”
Anton began his career in Technical and Animal Rescue in 1995 initially teaching large animal handling at Sparsholt College, Winchester. In the early 2000’s he got a small team together to develop safe methods of large animal rescue. These have been accepted by veterinary universities around the world and continue to evolve.
Anton has delivered large animal rescue training across the globe and continues to work with London Fire Brigade on their animal rescue refresher courses.
The scenarios which the soldiers were faced with included recovering a cow and horse from a ditch using both manual and mechanical lifting and skidding methods, as well as extricating a horse mannequin from a trailer.
The course also incorporated guest speakers such as New Forest-based vet Alan Hough from Celtic Equine Veterinary Practice, who specialises in Equine Practice and Charlotte Gregory from Hampshire Trading Standards Animal Health Team.
The four-day course at the HIWFRS animal rescue base, Lyndhurst Fire Station, was arranged through training provider 3SFire, a Community Interest Company wholly owned by Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire Authority.