Photo: Search and Rescue riders practicing their riding skills.
If you’d like to be part of a mounted search-and rescue team, you’ll first need to do your homework. Here are the skills you’ll want to develop.
• Horse camping.
Gain experience in trailering your horse in the field.
• Trail-riding safety.
If you or your horse is injured you become a detriment. Your should keep yourself and your horse out of trouble so you remain safe and a active resource for the search team.
• In-saddle conditioning.
You don’t need to be a perfect rider, but you do need to be able to endure long hours while remaining alert and effective. Also, learn how to select safe, comfortable, protective clothing and gear.
Get together with like-minded riders like the ones in ETMSAR. Our broad range of resources increases the chances for success in a search and rescue call out.
Familiarize yourself with our latest communications and incident-command systems.
• Navigational skills.
Develop navigational expertise, including how to use a global positioning system(GPS), a compass, and a map in the field.
Take our courses in tracking and clue identification, and practice these skills in the field.
Cultivate Your Horse.
Search horses are cultivated and trained. Here are ways you can help your horse
become a good search partner.
• Select the right tack.
Avoid using a tie-down or heavy bridle that restricts movement. If you ride bitless, continue to do so. Your horse needs to be comfortable and allowed to move freely. Any type of saddle is fine, but a saddle is essential. You need to maintain a relaxed-but-secure seat, so if your horse reacts to something on the trail, you’ll be able to stay with him.
• Pack up.
Whether you’re on a training mission or a real search, pack all your gear, so your horse knows this isn’t simply a recreational outing. Your serious approach will cue your horse that this is serious business.
• Ride for miles.
Ride trails, ride fields, ride miles at the walk. Let your horse pick his footing.
East Texas Mounted Search and Rescue is always looking for new members in Leon, Brazos, Houston, Madison, and Anderson Counties either mounted, ground support or friends, all equally vital and important. For additional information call Andy Stewart at 903-536-3574 and don’t forget to visit their web site at www.etmsar.org.