Horse Rescue Blog

Santa Barbara Technical Response Team Responds To Large Victim Call-Out


On July 28, the Santa Barbara Humane Society (SBHS) responded to a call-out for a large victim rescue. The SBHS responding team members included technical large animal rescue specialist/instructor Tim Collins; Tucker Eurman; Mitch Jauchen; Michael Lovato; and Darci Mahon. The rescue was also aided by Santa Barbara County Sherriff’s Search and Rescue team member Linda Phillips. The victim was a 38-year-old gelding named Frank, who was stuck in the corner of a paddock built on a slope. Frank had been down for an extended period of time, and action needed to be taken quickly in order to save the horse’s life.

When veterinarian Dr. Bruce Kuesis arrived, he suggested that the horse be moved to an area free of any obstacles that could potentially cause a problem. This was accomplished using a 4:1 M/A system and custom-made equine harness manufactured by CMC Rescue for SBHS. The same equipment was then used to stabilize and assist the gelding in getting back on all fours, but Frank was unable to use his hind legs due to a lack of circulation from being down for hours. That’s when SBHS turned to the CMC Rescue Arizona Vortex multi-pod.

Because SBHS owns and trains with the Arizona Vortex, the team decided to use it to create an artificial high directional—specifically a rescue A-frame—including guy lines to the front and rear to anchor it in place. Using this set-up, the team was able to get Frank up on his legs while the harness supported his hind legs until his circulation began to return.

Horse Rescue Blog

Once Frank was on his feet, the team kept the rear support in place for a short time until blood flow was completely restored to his legs. They then gradually released the support and removed it. A quick-release shackle at the top of the support strap was in place in case the horse needed to be quickly separated from the support equipment.

Horse Rescue Blog

Horse Rescue Blog

Horse Rescue Blog

“Had we not had the Arizona Vortex it would have been extremely difficult to get this horse back on his feet, but fortunately it was a very happy ending,” said Collins. Today, Frank is completely recovered and living in a nearby area paddock more suitable for a horse of his stature.

About Santa Barbara Humane Society

One of the three oldest agencies in the state dedicated to animal welfare, the SBHS has provided service to the people and animal populations of Santa Barbara County since 1887.

SBHS sponsors a Technical Animal Response Team that trains weekly with different aspects of technical animal rescue, including high-angle rescue and trailering accidents. The CMC Rescue Arizona Vortex, custom equine harness, and rescue rope and equipment have become an integral part of the team’s equipment cache.

This fall, a Rope Tech III team member will go through the CMC Rescue Rope Tech III course as a refresher and the two Rope Tech I/II members will go through the course for the first time. This ongoing rescue training has proved to be invaluable to the team.

For more information about the Santa Barbara Humane Society, please visit

— Timothy B. Collins, Santa Barbara Humane Society