CHARLESTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) – Members of the Maine Association for Search and Rescue took part in a unique horseback training exercise today in Charleston.
Bill Richey, an equestrian trainer for mounted police officers around the country, taught them and other horses how to maneuver tricky situations
"It's to teach horses and riders to not be afraid of what's in front of them. Sometimes it's referred to as a de-spooking clinic and some people call this an equine competence course,” Richey said.
The weekend-long training event at the East Ridge Stable in Charleston challenged horses and their riders with sirens, fire, smoke and a number of other obstacles.
"We prepare for the worst and we hope for the best," Melissa Lolman, President of Main Mounted Search and Rescue, said.
Part of the search and rescue team is even working to train new horses.
"I'm the only one here that doesn't have a certified horse, so I'm working with him getting him trained up to certify him next year. So I think after today he will do very well," Ashley Norman with Maine Mounted Search and Rescue said.
Despite the challenge and occasional fun, there is an important purpose to the training.
"It just builds on our relationship with our horses and that's what search and rescue is based on is no so much that your [horse] doesn't spook at something but your relationship with your horse that you can make it through that problem together," Lolman said.
It all helps the team to find and rescue Mainers all with the help of some special creatures.
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