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  1. #1
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    Feb. 28, 2001
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    Default Mounted Search and Rescue

    A2, I saw you mentioned this on another thread so thought it best to start a new one...

    What can anyone tell me about this? I looked up MSR on the net and we have a local chapter that actually has training this month.

    It sounds interesting and giving back to the community so it caught my eye.

    Tell me anything you can.



  2. #2
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    Sep. 25, 2005
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    It's a LOT of fun but responsibility too. We've been called out to round up cows off the freeway that got loose, track down a mare that dumped her rider and was loose in a state park for 2 days, and then more routine events. I worked a Poison concert - basically we showed cars where to park, did basic security (kids making out in cars, smoking pot, etc...). We have worked brat frys and other public events.

    Our horses have to be certified and the chapter holds a certification day once a year. Your horse has to do various things like pony another horse, be ponyed, tie up to a tree and left, drag a tire, a bag full of cans, go across water, be able to gallop, leave the group and return without any drama, do basic lateral movement and back up, have excellent ground manners and basic riding skills - all 3 gaits. They have to be able to stand patiently and wait without dancing around, work in very close proximity to strange horses and people on the ground, handle loud noises like the megaphone, the 2-way radios, car horns, sirens, and so forth. We also did work with our life flight helicopter. You have to maintain your horse under control while the chopper lands very close by. You have to be able to cross roads and ditches, take a rain slicker off an on while mounted, swing it over your head, get mail out of a mailbox......

    We have work days where there are lots of obstacles set up and your horse crosses bridges, goes beneath tarps, walks and trots over tarps, does small jumps and weaves through cones. We also get together at a farm with an awesome pond we can swim in and cross.

    One member of our group does cowboy mounted shooting so we all go into the woods and he shoots off his horse and all the other horses have to be maintained under control.

    The local police department and emergency personnel meet us at some of the work days and work with the horses with the megaphones and sirens. They have to be fine with motorcycles and ATVs as well.

    A big part of the training and practice is the proper way to search a field. The leaders go out and hide clues (usually socks or articles of clothing) in an un-mowed hay field. All the horses line up 10 feet apart. The riders on each end have long stakes with orange flags on the top. The designated leader yells SEARCH! and everyone walks straight forward at a slow pace. You look to your left and right searching the ground for clues. If a clue is found, it's marked with a flag. When you get to the opposite end of the field (or section of woods), the entire line turns and moves over one position. When everyone is lined up, the leader yells SEARCH! again and you start walking back the other way. This is a very effective way to find clues to where a missing person (or animal) might be.

    You have to be able to carry a large gear bag loaded with supplies on the back of your horse too.

    We've also done work where the leaders have hidden a life-sized human doll in a parcel of woods and we have to find the "person." If your horse steps on the person you're in big trouble. LOL. The person will be hidden beneath leaves and sticks.

    They will also lay the doll in the arena and the horses have to work all around it without stepping on it or bumping it.

    We do lots of drill team type exercises, passing shoulder to shoulder, doing serpentines, two horses are walking and one canters in between them, that sort of thing.

    The group is strictly voluntary and you have to be able to leave your place of employment if needed. Your horse needs to be able to sit in a pasture for months at a time, and be pulled out and ready to go with no tune up, or training. Or if your horse isn't like that, you need to keep him worked accordingly so he's ready to go.

    I was not an active member for 2010 because I had so many things going on, but Sweets is ready to be certified so this year I am going to get her certified and be ready to go again. I used Blondie before but she really doesn't like it. She HATES people petting or touching her and when you work public events you have lots of kids running up to pet the pretty pony.

    I posted this on the other thread but http://vmv-01.tripod.com/photos.htm there's some photos of some of our work days and events. Sweets and Blondie are on that page. It's not a great website. I promise the group is a lot more professional than the site!

    Oh - we also have volunteers who don't ride horses but are ground personnel.



  3. #3
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    Default

    Wow...how interesting!

    We are by no means qualified to consider something like that (at this point) but man would I love to do that one day.

    Thanks for the detailed list of expectations-that can give me something to file in my head and work towards.



  4. #4
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    As far as I know, all groups hold the work days and invite anybody to come and work their horses. We have a lot of people show up who aren't ready to be certified. People even bring their foals! I plan to take Le'Sorna to a couple work days if her leg heals up fine. It's an awesome experience for everybody - certified or not.

    The only thing is that the rules are no stallions and no outright dangerous behavior like kicking. But spooky, untrained, all that is fine. Just so long as everybody stays safe while riding and working the horses.



  5. #5
    volunteer mounted patrol Guest

    Default Kentucky MSAR

    If you are in Kentucky and are interested in Mounted Search and Rescue, new volunteers are always welcome with the Buffalo Trace Mounted Patrol.
    Horses and riders are certified separately and then together as a team. Like all mounted patrols, most of the deployments are community based.
    Teams train in different counties and then come together for larger events.
    www.BuffaloTraceMountedPatrol.com
    or find them on facebook



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct. 24, 2007
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    WNC
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    I do this also.. In fact we get invited to Mardi Gras every year to train w the mounted Police and then we get deputized and go down and work the streets for crowd control.

    We do put in our hours for training and our horses are pretty much used to EVERYTHING..

    Because of all this training we got asked to bring horses for Judges to ride at a Hunt Test for the AKC (Pointing breeds).. Our horses have never done this before, but we knew they would be OK with the birds being flushed, shot guns being shot and dogs running all around. They were perfect and we now have a standing gig

    So IMO it boils down you and your horse as a team and how you handle situations. You want your horse to look to you for guidance when you get into a sticky situation.
    All horses can go barefoot, but not all owners can - words of wisdom!



  7. #7
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    Jul. 14, 2008
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    Carrollton, Ga
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    LMH I did my first training today in Carrollton. West Georgia is just starting one and we are going to have different trainings every month. Today we learned how to find locations using a compass on horseback. The motto of our club is "do what you can". They realize that everyone has different time issues as well as training level of horses. We will be working with a mounted police squad in the future to train our horses around police cars, helicopters, etc...

    Were are you located?



  8. #8
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    I am in Canton GA.

    That just sounds like entirely too much fun!



  9. #9
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    It was a lot of fun and a great learning experience for my horse and I. If you are interested, the next training is March 19th at McIntosh Reserve in Carrollton.



  10. #10
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    Oct. 28, 2007
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    NY
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    Now if we could just train horses to sniff out humans like the dogs do, you'd be set. Do you think they have the 1. mindset 2. noses to do that ?



  11. #11
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    Mar. 26, 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chall View Post
    Now if we could just train horses to sniff out humans like the dogs do, you'd be set. Do you think they have the 1. mindset 2. noses to do that ?
    I always thought horses didn't have as good a sense of smell as dogs, but I did have a horse who could retrace his steps on the trail by what I can only assume to be following his own smell. We would go out on a trail, and when I decided it was time to head back, I'd turn him around and give him his head, and he would put his nose right down to the ground and walk all the way back that way, stopping occasionally to sniff the ground, just like a dog. He could do it on a completely strange-to-him trail, and even if it wasn't the shortest way back, he'd still retrace his steps exactly.
    RIP Victor... I'll miss you, you big galumph.



  12. #12
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    Mar. 18, 2005
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    Default

    Also searching corn fields you do the same thing as the hay field only you search the corn field against the row's so you can look right and left down each row.



  13. #13
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    Oct. 1, 2005
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    Sandy, Utah
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    Default

    In these parts, search and rescue applies to looking for missing humans. Often search and recovery. NOT rounding up cattle or missing horses or doing mounted patrol at events. Quite different, and NOT search and rescue. NOT in the category of fun. Very serious work, and very rewarding if only, often, to provide closure to a family.

    Sure, we get called to ask to go on other errands as described, and it is useful service, but this is NOT search and rescue.

    Edited to add, anybody who thought about bringing a foal to search for a missing human would be summarily dismissed from participating. But I would say bringing a foal to 'any' working event is a ridiculous concept.



  14. #14
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    Jan. 27, 2007
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    BigHorseLittleHorse, funny about your horse retracing his tracks. My first horse use to sniff the trail and track other horses in this manner. If I thought my riding buddy was out on the trail somewhere I'd just give my horse his head and off we would go hound dog style.



  15. #15
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    Nov. 7, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beverley View Post
    Edited to add, anybody who thought about bringing a foal to search for a missing human would be summarily dismissed from participating. But I would say bringing a foal to 'any' working event is a ridiculous concept.
    I interpreted "work day" in that post to mean more "training event" rather than an actual call out to do a specific job. I.e. somewhere where there are volunteers present and possibly a 'fake' trail set up or other training assistance provided, like fake crowds, someone shooting off a weapon, whatever is appropriate for the situations that group may be called to participate in.

    If that's the case, then provided there's some sort of arrangement suitable for the young horses to be kept safe then it doesn't seem too unreasonable for them to come along to get some exposure to things in general as preparation for later being an active part of the group.

    That said, I would not think it would be appropriate on either a real job (because you shouldn't be thinking about where your foal is while you're looking for a missing person) or a training session meant to act as a "real life scenario" drill - where, again, you should be behaving exactly as you would in the event of a real call out.

    (I used to know someone who did search and rescue with her dogs, and she'd do something similar with younger pups who were too young to start training - they'd go to the training meetings, and spend some time socializing/getting exposure to different things that might be present at an actual call out, and then when it was time for her to do specific scent work practice or something of that nature with her older dogs, the younger ones would go back in their crates with volunteers staying with the cars to keep an eye on things. But if they were doing a fake 'search' in the woods rather than a simpler training exercise, then the pups would stay home.)



  16. #16
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    Jan. 1, 2011
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    I find this thread very interesting. The idea of bringing a foal (even if it is a weanling or a yearling) to even a training day, is one I would have mixed ideas about.
    on one hand (yeas) it would be good for the foal to experince something new, be socialized with other people and horses, it could desentiize them to allot of new sounds etc.

    on the other hand(nays) having your foal there would take away from you mind on the training at hand (you missing that clue becuase you were thinking about your foal), what happesn if the foal gets loose and you can guess the next step, what if an another horse tries to give your foal a lesson in matters.



  17. #17
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    Nov. 7, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kentucky View Post
    I find this thread very interesting. The idea of bringing a foal (even if it is a weanling or a yearling) to even a training day, is one I would have mixed ideas about.
    on one hand (yeas) it would be good for the foal to experince something new, be socialized with other people and horses, it could desentiize them to allot of new sounds etc.

    on the other hand(nays) having your foal there would take away from you mind on the training at hand (you missing that clue becuase you were thinking about your foal), what happesn if the foal gets loose and you can guess the next step, what if an another horse tries to give your foal a lesson in matters.
    I think there are benefits, but it would have to be something the group planned for. Not necessarily as a foal/young horse day (because can you imagine the chaos if there were a bunch of young ones there at once?) but have it laid out that on days when they were planning to do X or Y, it was okay to bring a foal/young horse for the exposure, with prior permission. (To make sure there weren't too many young horses at once.)

    So for example a relatively casual desensitization day or a day intended to provide newbies with an idea of what the group does would be a day okay for a couple of young horses to possibly be there also, but a day for practicing out in the woods tracking or looking for clues would not be.

    I'd also probably (if I was running said group) say that each young horse had to have a dedicated handler whose job that day was to stay with that horse. Now, they may be able to do other activities - if the foal is back in the trailer for safe keeping then someone could set up a table nearby for handing out information packets on a newbie day, for example - but the rule would be one horse per person. (There may be specific training tasks where you'd make an exception, but overall, that'd be the rule. One horse, one person old enough and competent enough to be responsible for it.)

    Because as you say, there are obvious benefits, but someone turning up with a young horse randomly could totally throw off the planned training.

    If that could be set up effectively, you'd sort of get the best of both worlds as you'd have young horses coming up through the group who, by the time they're old enough to participate properly, are probably not going to find most of the distractions a big deal, so they'll be ready to go into 'work mode' more readily.



  18. #18
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    I've seen plenty of foals at our training days and have never seen one problem associated with them. If the group is doing something more "intense" that may not be appropriate for a foal to be in the midst of, then the owner of the foal just simply hand grazes the baby or grooms, or stands off to the side and waits that one out. But leave it to coth to over-dramatize it. No surprise there.



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beverley View Post
    In these parts, search and rescue applies to looking for missing humans. Often search and recovery. NOT rounding up cattle or missing horses or doing mounted patrol at events. Quite different, and NOT search and rescue. NOT in the category of fun. Very serious work, and very rewarding if only, often, to provide closure to a family.

    Sure, we get called to ask to go on other errands as described, and it is useful service, but this is NOT search and rescue.

    Edited to add, anybody who thought about bringing a foal to search for a missing human would be summarily dismissed from participating. But I would say bringing a foal to 'any' working event is a ridiculous concept.
    Well yippy skippy for you. Great thing I don't live in "your parts".

    Our group is trained in CPR, and works with our sherrif's department to receive training on how to respond to HUMAN related events as well. We are taught how to search for traces of human clothing, body parts, and other signs of a missing person. I don't know how many HUMAN related events our group has responded to prior to my joining, but there hasn't been any that I am aware of in the last couple of years.

    Our group doesn't just sit around for years waiting for someone to go missing. They do other events and provide public services not related to searching for and recovering bodies - living or deceased. But if those services were to be required, the group is trained.

    And no S&R is not the same as Mounted Patrol, which is a profession. S&R is a non-professional volunteer group.



  20. #20
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    May. 26, 2001
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    Mid Midwest
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    Our group is trained similar to Auventeras. We know search and rescue, CPR, crowd control etc. Our unit has been called out on three cases in the last 10 years of missing persons, none were found during our search hours but all were found deceased. Our horses have been exposed to cadavar scent. Some horses react spooky to it, some don't seem to notice and others latch onto it like a scent hound and follow it.

    Foals are not allowed at official events like searches, crowd control, parades but they can be brought to training days. We have people in our unit with young horses who bring them to work days to desensitize. They can go through the obstacles only after they have gone through them with their patrol horse and are not interferring with another member and their horse.

    Stallions are also not allowed. We certify our horses yearly with a trail obstacle course. Most of our events are crowd control and car parking.



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