ADVANTAGES of using HORSES in SAR
Height - Visibility around you is much greater then searchers on foot in fields, woods ext.
Speed - Horses walk slow but have longer strides. They don't tire out as quickly as foot searchers.
Quiet - They move through the woods quietly thereby giving the rider the ability to hear responses when calling out subjects' name.
Vision - Horses have very great night vision. Many searches occur at night.
Smell - Horses have a very keen sense of smell. Although their senses are very good and these senses would allow them to air sent much like the dogs, horses only know to use their keen sense of smell
for self preservation.
Hearing - A Horses' hearing is amazing. They can hear something coming way before we do. If a subject cannot speak and is moaning for help the horse is probably going to hear it before you do. It is very important that you are in tune with your horse.
Even though horses may use their senses for self preservation, a rider that is well in tune with their horse can identify when the horse is sensing something in its surroundings that is not right by reading the horse's body language.
How horses are used in Search and Rescue
- Hasty searches of Trails, Power lines, any travel aid.
- Grid searching of fields and other large areas.
- Horses are able to get into areas inaccessible to ATV's or vehicles
- Horses can be used to transport supplies to other searchers in the field
GOOD SEARCH HORSE QUALITY:
A search horse has to be able to work slowly in a controlled fashion. This means:
-Should work slowly on grid line, often in tall grass fields.
-Should work slowly while searching heavy wooded areas.
-Should be willing to stand for a short/long periods of time in brush/woods while clues are being checked out.
-Should be willing to stand for short/long periods of time while rider is clearing trail to get through.
Other SEARCH HORSE qualities:
-Be trusting in you.
-Be willing to do what you ask of him / her
-Work well at night with flash light (A MUST)
-Should not spook easily and get out of control
-Should be willing to separate from the group (always in pairs of at least 2)
-Should be capable of handling rough terrain (rocky areas / narrow trail edges)
-Get along with other horses (A MUST)