Half of the TLAER dynamic duo is Dr. Rebecca Gimenez. Rebecca's current curriculum vitae (CV) is available upon request or at LINKEDIN http://www.linkedin.com/in/rebeccagimenez
Rebecca Gimenez was born in central Florida (last century!) and had the wondrous privilege of being able to ride her horses just about as much as she wanted to within a 5 mile radius of her home from the time she was about12 years old. Back then it did not look like today. Swimming in the lakes, riding up and down dirt roads and sand hills, racing her friends on their horses, playing hide and go seek on horseback, learning to jump bareback - horses were her life. Those horses had minimal manners but they were ridden almost every day and usually at a rate of speed that they liked - FAST!
Occasionally she saw a horse or person get a minor injury - but she remained blissfully unaware of the tragedies between people and large animals that happened all around her. That was something that she only heard about in admonitions from her parents, or quiet whispers around school. And what do parents know when you are a teenager? (Apparently a lot - her mother rode one of those horses to the ripe old age of 34 (the horse) and 74 (the mother) in a halter with rope reins, and her father is a passionate natural horsemanship student as well. Her parents are in their late 70s still have cattle in Tennessee which they passionately pursue low stress handling techniques and more natural handling methods for successful management of their farm.)
Traumatically separated from horses while she attended college for a BS in Biology at Wofford in Spartanburg, SC (the wisest thing her parents could have ever done!) when she graduated she purchased her very own leopard appaloosa. Back then a horse that the entire barn was afraid of because he was a renowned runaway, refused to load in a trailer, hated vaccinations, dewormer and a hose, was horrifically barn sour, and had kicked both the farrier and the veterinarian - still brought about $600. She was delighted with her new mount - somehow managed to get him home - purchased some books and videos on natural horsemanship with Lyons then Parelli (when nobody knew those names in 1992) and sallied forth to learn from Mr. Brownstone. They did everything together, won ribbons, and amazed other riders with his feats of strength and agility. (Years later when he died in 2006 she had his hide tanned and he hangs on the wall in her house - to remind her of how much he taught her that she didn't know she needed to learn.) Years went by in which she purchased a magazine with a girlfriend called "Equine and Bovine MagazineTM" as editor and freelance writer; worked as a breeding manager at a large Walking horse farm; and continued to pursue her expanding equine knowledge thru various educational outlets, mentors, especially by practicing on students and friends. Also, she enjoyed her military career in the US Army Reserves, working thru the ranks, eventually getting deployed in 2006 to Kuwait and Iraq, and is currently serving in the Reserves with HQ, US SOUTHCOM in Miami, FL.
In 1994 she decided to pursue a graduate degree at Clemson University - where she met her future husband and partner in TLAER. Working at a 150 horse student research and teaching farm producing numerous foals each year, she was exposed for the first time to the horrific injuries, disease processes, and realities of emergencies that horses and their people could get themselves into. Over 4 years, she saw just about every worst case scenario that could happen (trapped recumbent, severe laminitis, colicing, death, euthanasia, nasty injuries and lacerations, dystocia, orphaned foals, hung in the fence, killed by lightning, stuck in a trailer, etc.) Dr. Tomas Gimenez was her advisor - they quickly realized that there were many things that they could teach each other about horse anatomy, physiology and behavior, as well as learning together about responding better to disaster and emergencies with large animals. When they realized that no one else seemed to have most of the information they sought, their research and development began in earnest. In 1997 Rebecca graduated with a PhD in animal physiology, and began a teaching career in Biology, Immunology and Microbiology at Anderson College. By 1999 they traveled out to meet the only other couple involved in teaching large animal rescue in California (John and Deb Fox) and learn from their successes.
Rebecca's contribution to TLAER TM has been her keen observation skills and interest in horse behavior - she enjoyed teaching her horses to do things that other people considered crazy or difficult - like lying down, coming on command to their name, being calm about being mobbed by people, getting tied up with webbing and ropes to be lifted off the ground with no sedation, and standing still for difficult procedures such as vaccination, deworming, etc. It wasn't long until she was featuring the use of live animals for many of the demonstrations - students learn on some wooden and plastic mannequins, then move outside to put them into practical use with live animals, including horses and two trained llamas, Dexter and Levo.
She has continued to gather ideas, techniques and procedures that firefighters and veterinarians all over the world were employing to various levels of success- then showcase the variety of tactics available to students in their courses, and share her knowledge with anyone who stands still long enough to listen. Although divorced in 2008, Tomas and Rebecca maintained their business partnership in TLAER, Inc. and together they teach courses and work together to push, prod and pull these concepts into greater understanding for owners, students, emergency responders, and practitioners. They realized that this was a lot bigger than them - and they work to push it forward with a very small but hardworking contingent of assistant instructors who believe in what they are trying to do. In 2013, Tomas retired and since then Rebecca has worked hard to move TLAER into a global interest - traveling to Australia and Tasmania, Europe and South America as well as all over North America to spread the "word" about TLAER ideas. She brings in numerous assistant instructors and subject matter experts to her training events – which are well known to be lively, entertaining and challenging.
Rebecca is an active speaker at various venues from international to local, her passion for the subject is impossible to miss. She distributes information to interested people related to these issues via her constant TLAER FB page postings, freelance articles, radio and television interviews; contributes to numerous discussions on blogs, and posts her opinions on a myriad of newspaper and television reports of TLAER rescues (successful and not). She has contributed several chapters to veterinary textbooks on the subjects of large animal rescue and trailer extrication. In 2006 thru 2008 - to put these TTPs (tactics, techniques, procedures) and SOPs (standard operating procedures) into the hands of more people, she wrote 14 chapters and edited the other six chapter's authors to produce the first textbook on the subject with Tomas and Kimberly May of the AVMA. "TECHNICAL LARGE ANIMAL EMERGENCY RESCUE."
Today, Rebecca happily fills her schedule with speaking engagements, TLAER trainings, and working and playing with her horses on a farm that she purchased in Macon, GA. She has moved the use of mannequin horses into the mainstream - starting to import them to the USA in 2010 and promoting their use worldwide to get better quality realistic training in situations that are very dangerous to emplace live animals (although her trained team of horses still does many demonstrations and pic poses).
At 6'2" and large framed, she is not shy to be the more vocal face of Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue, Inc. She fervently hopes that by the time she retires that large animals will be provided more consistent and safe methods of technical rescue and extrication than they are currently - and that the days of jerking a horse out of an overturned trailer or a cow out of a bog by its tail or head will be nothing but a horrific memory.
TLAER Founder and Professor Emeritus Dr. Tomas Gimenez -
Retired 1 January 2013 - (the FOUNDER and FORWARD THINKING BRAINS behind TLAER)
In 1993, Dr. Tomas Gimenez was enjoying teaching endocrinology, theriogenology and doing equine research in horse reproduction and nutrition at Clemson University in Clemson, SC. But he had seen what happened to GA, SC and NC when hurricanes hit the state, and was concerned about the minimal level of disaster preparedness of most horse and cattle owners that he knew personally. Very few took the threat seriously, and even fewer had evacuation plans for their a nimals and family. That year, he attended the second International Conference on Large Animal Rescue in California – which was the brainchild of Dr. Richard Mansmann. The few people around the world who were interested in this specialty area were there including disaster planners, responders and emergency field animal rescuers. He had found a group of people who took it seriously, and when he returned he began learning and asking questions around his home state to determine the level of communication, response infrastructure and disaster planning for large animals. He found there to be minimal resources and coordination – similar to many other areas of the nation.
By 1995, Dr. Gimenez was working with the visionary Dr. Venaye Reece at the State Veterinarian's office in SC to offer small workshops and speaking about preparedness for veterinarians, plus offering some of the information that he had collected from around the world as to methods for technical emergency rescue. Much of that information was wivestales, recklessly employed, or had rarely been tested in real incidents, and thus Dr. Gimenez enlisted the assistance of some of his students at Clemson to research workable, simple and reliable methods of manipulation of large animals. (A few years later, he would marry Dr. Rebecca Bott, who was interested primarily in the behavioral responses of horses and taught their famed demonstration animals to lie down, to allow themselves to be lifted, and to cooperate for many simulated rescue training events as well as research for better equipment and techniques.)
In 1997, they were asked to put on a 1 day training event in Monk's Corner, SC with the Charleston Area Rescue Squad and Cpt. Shawn Jones; after a morning orientation via powerpoint lecture, the hands-on training events that day included overturning and cutting up a horse trailer, lifting a horse in an Anderson Sling, basic manipulation of a recumbent horse, and evaluation of various appliances that could be used on large animals. Training in Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue was born! Of special note was a fundamental change in perspective: the fire service's involvement and needs for this information began to drive the evolution of new ideas and procedures to intertwine with existing Incident Command System architecture and fit with FEMA's animal rescue doctrine. By 1999, when the Gimenez's traveled to California to meet Cpt John and Debra Fox of Felton Fire District and the West Coast experts in Large Animal Rescue, they were convinced that reaching the emergency responders who actually answered the 911 calls and saw these incidents on a regular basis was crucial.
In the early days, the course was 1, then quickly 2, days of awareness level information with minimal hands on and a few demonstrations. By 2003, there was enough material for a 3 day course to be offered at the operational level for a limited number of hands-on participants, and of course there were always many auditors observing. Mud rescue of live horses, overturn and stabilization of a full size trailer, a night Search and Rescue operation capped with strapping a live (sedated) horse to a Rescue Glide, manipulation of live recumbent horses and use of a floatation device on a live animal became de rigueur for the course. USRider, Inc. became the philanthropic partner for the training events, sponsoring numerous courses, training events, educational material and supporting research into TLAER / LAR via their Leg Up Fund, and via curriculum offerings at Eastern Kentucky University. Veterinary schools began to ask for training for their students and faculty members, people of numerous professional disciplines (fire, heavy rescue, EMS, veterinarians, animal control, etc.) were starting to recognize this specialty area of rescue for what it was: dangerous, difficult, and challenging.
Dr. Tomas Gimenez's contributions to the field are innumerable, but in particular there are pieces of equipment (Nicopolous Needle, Becker Vertical Lift Web Sling, Equine Floatation Device, Carabiner Extender Poles, Schwartz Air / Water Mud Injectors, etc.) that he researched and designed with many collaborators (and is too humble to accept naming some of them after himself). He has kept the local welding shop very busy with various generations of improvements of the equipment.
Early on he saw the value of new methodologies and techniques (Widener Forward Assist configuration, Hampshire Slip sideways drag, Becker Sling, etc.) and promoted their use after doing the research on their personal LIVE ANIMALS to prove that they worked better than previous generations of equipment. He customized the A-Frame proposed by Norco Fire Rescue to allow vertical lift of large animals; improved the design of several pieces of equipment used for these large patients (modified the early Rescue Glide, improved the Santa Barbara and Becker Slings, adopted and improved the fire hose floatation device proposed by Lexington Fire, supported the use of rope / webbing anchors and mechanical advantage for moving large animal victims, and promulgated the use of shoring and extrication techniques for confined space, trench, and motor vehicle accidents with large animals.
In 2006, Tomas designed a Mud Rescue Simulation Horse. "KEYLOR" was made to simulate the weight of a horse in the abdomen and body, about 660 pounds when filled with water. The neck and head simulate the balance point on a real horse (about 10% of the weight of the horse – so an additional 60 pounds or so when filled with water). Tomas used parts that were easily accessible at the local hardware stores – and added a mop for a tail!
Another of Tomas's innovations is the Wideman configuration. In this variation of a forward assist - similar to a Swiss Seat on a human – the webbing runs from the thoracic inlet over the withers and back down to the front of the horse, where it is looped over itself. The Hampshire Slip sideways drag configuration is also an improvement now in use.
For more information on these animal rescue resources go to TLAER http://www.tlaer.org/
Or join the FACEBOOK Group with over 8 thousand like minded folks at https://www.facebook.com/groups/tlaer/
We are fortunate to have trained demonstration animals that we use to provide realistic hands-on training to students of our courses. Most of these animals have been raised from birth using the imprinting methods of Dr. Robert Miller, and desensitization / familiarization methods espoused by Ray Hunt, Tom and Bill Dorrance and taught through John Lyons Perfect Horse and Parelli Natural Horsemanship methods. If owned from birth, they attend and participate in their first public training at about 6 months of age... and from then on are a rotating part of the demonstration team.
Those demonstration animals that have not been owned since birth but have been either purchased or rescued are introduced slowly to the training course in order to build confidence and not instill fear. The same natural horsemanship methods are used to familiarize the animals with the equipment and techniques used throughout the course so that they can participate in the trainings with focus and without panic or fear. We believe that animals like to have a job, especially when they learn to be very good at it – and in many cases they get to “win” against the students in some of the scenarios. They show their calm demeanors and sometimes sassy responses that they are participating, not being forced to perform. The relationship with our animals is first and foremost and will not be jeopardized for the sake of a single training demonstration.
The question most often asked regarding the demonstration animals....
Many people ask if the animals ever get injured or scared while participating in training demonstrations under helicopters, tied down on a Glide, showing a splint complete with a mulage (fake) injury, jumping into the water, lying down for webbing and rope manipulations, or even while acting scared while running loose for the containment portion of the training. We know that these demonstrations can be dangerous if the animals panics, but we always discuss safety zones and proper reaction to the situation with students before the evolution.
Through natural horsemanship methods, the demonstration animals are trained to confidently accept all the people (both experienced and inexperienced with large animals), night time practical exercises, loud noises, equipment that is placed on them and the environment they are placed in. Many times they are allowed to run loose during the hands-on practical sessions, and consistently choose to approach and interact with the people on location. They are trained to lie down on command and allow us to touch them with ropes and webbing. Training animals to act as demonstrators for Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue trainings starts with imprinting at birth, and continues with everyday training and handling. There are numerous excellent natural horsemanship teachers and clinicians (Pat Parelli, John Lyons, Linda Tellington-Jones, On Target Training, etc.) available to animal owners. All of these animal/ people training techniques and methods emphasize positive responses, encourage the building of an inter-species communication system, and utilize low stress and minimal force when training the animal.
We have found that application of these techniques is useful in preparing the animals for the introduction of unusual requests such as asking the animal to allow us to lay them down in front of crowds of students, perform vertical lifts and other rescue maneuvers without sedation, and allowing various webbing configurations to be placed on their bodies. The only time that chemical restraint is used is to increase their safety when demonstrating the more complex techniques, such as the Rescue Glide. Mostly, the demonstration animals are spoiled throughout the trainings by both the instructors and the students with their own form of "sedation" which consists of lots of TREATS!! Without the cooperation of these animals, most of the photographs and contributions to TLAER knowledge presented would not have been possible. The authors and instructors consider these animals to be their close family members and value the close relationship and bond they have created over time.
In 2012 – we had our first accident in training. Torque panicked while performing the A-Frame demonstration, and ended up getting hit on the head by falling equipment. The equipment did not fail, Torque pulled it at an angle that it was not designed for. Fortunately, he was at the Atlantic Veterinary School in PEI, Canada and was immediately treated for the injury and survived with no neurologic or musculo-skeletal deficits. He went right back to training in September 2012. Dr. Erica Koch (http://www.horsejournals.com/dealing-equine-emergencies) and the team at AVC deserve full credit for saving his life and function.
AERIAL PAINTED PANTS –
AERIAL was a neglect starvation case that we salvaged in 2003, one of several TLAER demonstration horses we did not raise ourselves. She has found her calling in this unusual “job” of TLAER. From a meager foal suffering with severe malnutrition to a gorgeous registered American Indian (Paint) Horse, her beautiful blue eyes and medicine hat coloring belie her diva attitude and strong opinion that humans are made to be horse scratching posts and provide treats like a PEZ dispenser! She can rear on command, lays down, climbs up on obstacles, and generally endeavors to entreat (pun intended) students to pet and scratch her, then give her lots of treats. She certified within only 1 year to complete all of the demonstrations in the TLAER, Inc. program in 2004.
One of the most reliable TLAER demonstration horses, Aerial is willing to accept amazing requests to perform (in the dark, in the rain, underneath a helicopter, etc.) and has literally travelled the country from Texas to Maine to South Florida over the years. (See example story at http://hamptonroads.com/2011/05/photos-how-do-you-help-horse-trouble)
“Famous in her own mind”, she has been highlighted and featured in numerous articles in magazines, photographs in newspapers/ TV news (Example at http://www.equisearch.com/horses_care/technical-large-animal-rescue-training-at-eastern-kentucky-university/), and is even featured on the cover of “Save Your Horse”, by Michelle Staples, an introduction book about large animal rescue for horse owners. She appears twice in an oil painting commissioned by US RIDER about Large Animal Rescue.
Aerial is so opinionated she has had her own online opinion column on subjects of concern to her equine mind (channeled thru a human penpal) at http://www.equinerescuesc.org/information-aerial.html Aerial has a GOLD STAR for her star status, and can be found in a pasture in GRAY, GA and will sign autographs by appointment only.
TORQUE - A victim of neglect and was salvaged in 2007 by Palmetto Equine Awareness and Rescue for Equines, Inc. (PEARL) in South Carolina. It is estimated he was born in 2003-2004, and even though he is the shortest of the herd at 15 hands, he is an Appaloosa and has fought his way up to being Number 2 in the pasture! After rehabilitation by PEARL volunteers, Rebecca adopted him and paid for his abdominal crypt orchid surgery at UGA Vet School, (after which he promptly coliced) so he became the most expensive $1 horse she’s ever had. Torque came to live with the others in Pendleton, South Carolina, in October, 2007 because he knew how to lie down on command – probably as a coping response to intense abuse by another stallion that was in his paddock when he was starving to death.
His training has been a long and slow process as he has tremendous mental and emotional issues that he has had to deal with as a result of his past abuse by people and possibly horses. He is very willing and through natural horsemanship methods he has regained much of his confidence and has made great strides with his training. He went to his very first public training in New York in July, 2008 where he calmly laid down on command, interacted with students, and showed them how sweet he really is by standing still for the Anderson Sling to be emplaced. He is currently being ridden and advancing in his training, and was certified as a TLAER demonstration horse in 2009. Now he is a STAR!
For years he has been one of the most commonly requested trainers for the courses – because he was so interested in people and what we are doing. He commonly is allowed to be at liberty around the students because he obviously enjoys interacting with them. A writer (Pam Kaster) from Mississippi is currently working on a children’s book focusing on his amazing story for future publication. In 2012 he panicked during a demonstration (http://www.thehorse.com/articles/29402/tlaer-horse-recovering-from-injury-in-canada) and was injured in Canada. Although immediately treated successfully, we had to leave him in Canada for a few weeks to fully recover, and to complete the paperwork to bring him back into the USA. HUGE THANKS to DaVinci Equine Transport and Michelle Melaragno for helping to transport him home safely.
Torque was on sabbatical for two months, upon evaluation of when and whether he was mentally prepared to return to TLAER training in Sept 2012 he was ready to go back to demos. When at home, he provides rides to students and friends at Rebecca’s home in GRAY, GA and is entrusted with her friends when riding.
LLEVO - RETIRED to Tomas' pasture in Clemson, SC.
LLEVO is a gelded white Llama who is much more friendly than Dexter, but can still express his opinion and make it difficult for the students to catch him or put the appliances on for a vertical lift. He was probably born in 1998 or 1999. We were fortunate to find him in New Jersey in 2008 and have since hauled him to numerous TLAER courses to give Dexter a break from training events as Dexter got older.
Llamas are amazingly expressive, intelligent, and vocal – as the students soon learn. This llama will actually come to you for a hosing when it is hot, or for the spray bottle if the flies are bad! And he will hum if he is nervous or worried about where his herd mates are.
LLevo is now certified at the senior level for vertical lift, containment, and handling. He enjoys being around the students but would prefer that people not touch him. He ALWAYS looks sexy in photographs – although many times he looks totally offended that anyone would consider restraint of a llama! And he rarely spits on people – but horses are considered fair game if they get too close inside his personal space. Llevo lives at Dr. Tomas Gimenez' home in South Carolina as a pasture buddy to the aging star demo llama "Dexter".
ANGEL was born in 2000 and started as a demonstration animal in 2002. These days she rarely goes to TLAER training events as she is a riding horse primarily, but in the past she has done many training events and featured in numerous articles, photographs and publications including the Disaster chapter of the book “Equine Emergencies” by Orsini and Divers.
Standing approximately 16 hands, Angel is a black walking horse mare, registered as a National Walking Horse. She is related to all of the other National Walking Horses in the TLAER program by being the product of the same sire. Angel is at her best when being laid down for the applicable TLAER demonstrations.
While at home in Georgia with Rebecca and friends, she is strongly opinionated about being the boss mare in the pasture. In her normal life, Angel is an awesome trail and foxhunting horse and comes when she is called by name. She is most excellent as a Parelli Natural Horsemanship demonstrator as well, she excels in liberty work.
Born in 2003, ELECKTRA is a blue roan National Walking Horse mare. She made her training debut later that year (7 months old) at the Kentucky Horse Park, was certified in 2005 and started being trail ridden for the first time in 2007. She is related to all of the other National Walking Horses in the TLAER program by being the product of the same sire.
She is well known for showing students that a nice quiet friendly horse can go ballistic when provoked when she gets her chance to be lead and handled for the applicable training practicals – she knows this is the only time that she can “act” like an idiot! She is extremely friendly and enjoys having her tail and belly scratched more than anything else.
Elecktra resides in Maryland with Nicole Ehrentraut on a lease, in her other life outside of TLAER she is an accomplished trail horse and enjoys spending time with her pasture mates playing in the pond or mostly just EATING.
In 1998, on a spring day where the weather forecast issued a “tornado warning”, a black National Walking Horse with a snip on his nose was born. TORNADO, as he was fittingly named, is a gelding and the smallest of the national walking horse herd at 15.3 hands. He has been a versatile addition to the training course and can be used as a demonstration animal in all aspects of the TLAER course, gaining TLAER certification in 2002. He is related to all of the other National Walking Horses in the TLAER program by being the product of the same sire.
He has several good tricks to share with students (picks up sticks, loads in trailers without a halter and lead, comes on command, and is playing on Level III Parelli Savvy Natural Horsemanship, which means Rebecca sometimes rides him without a bridle or halter and he performs most ground skills at liberty. Tornado spends his off time trail riding, being a lesson horse for new and old riders who are not very confident, and grazing in the pasture in Gray, Georgia.
Born in 2005, her dam is "Double Take" (below). She is a sorrel and white Tobiano and is double registered as Spotted Saddle Horse and Tennessee Walking Horse. Exhibiting a strong independent behavior at birth, Dally was trained by Rebecca and her owner, Tori Miller using Robert Miller and Parelli imprinting methods. Within a couple of days she was being taught to lay down and showed no resistance or fear, which prepared her for her future as a TLAER Demo Horse. She is currently working on Level II Parelli Natural Horsemanship methods and being developed under saddle.
Dally resides at 4Hooves Farm near Fayetteville, North Carolina. Dally participated in her first TLAER training October 2008 in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she laid down on command, was lifted in the Becker Sling, and participated in the containment exercise. Since then she has participated in several TLAER training events, including being lifted in the Anderson Sling.
DOUBLE TAKE -
Owned by Justin McLeod and Tori Miller, DOUBLE TAKE was born in 1994 and is a registered Tennessee Walking Horse. At 15.3 hands, she is a mare of substantial size with a heart bigger than she is. Double Take's life experiences prior to arriving at 4Hooves Farm were both good and bad as she was passed down through several owners. Since 1999, Tori had the opportunity to handle and ride Double Take – back then she was the ultimate trail horse, and a quality broodmare.
Life changes quickly for horses – in 2008 she was sold to a third person and eventually ended up in a holding pen at a local horse auction facility where she was purchased by a fourth person. A week later, she was purchased by Tori and Justin as a different horse – she arrived with emotional issues due to her past experiences.
Currently advancing to Level II through Parelli Natural Horsemanship training, a positive relationship was developed based on trust and confidence. Double Take will live out the rest of her years near Fayetteville, North Carolina, participating in TLAER and being an all-around trail horse. Double Take participated in her first TLAER training in Virginia Beach in May 2009 with her daughter “Dally", and was perfectly mannered for the manipulations, for the floatation device, and loved the people giving her treats!
In 2002 on a PMU ranch in Canada, a Percheron/Morgan/Paint cross mare, MAGGIE, was born. Weaned at about 3 months of age she was shipped to her new owner in Maine. As a 5 year old, she was donated to a therapeutic riding facility but proved to be too green for the program. Since her departure from the therapeutic riding program, she has found a new lease on life and love at a home with Michelle Melaragno. Maggie has progressed nicely with Natural Horsemanship techniques and loves to “step up” onto ANYTHING.
She is considering a full time modeling career, having now been featured in a book and several magazine articles about TLAER! She has assisted as a demo horse in several TLAER courses in the Northeast. Although she preferred working with her mini-partner Pippin (see below memorial), she has finally accepted Zephyr as a stand-in. Maggie resides in a pasture in Maine with her mini-me, MJ.
Laredo, born in 1996, is a 16.2 hand off-the-track, dark bay Thoroughbred gelding salvaged by Tori Miller and Justin McLeod in 2006. With a fairly unknown history, Laredo showed some emotional scars but since following the Parelli Natural Horsemanship methods, Laredo has gained confidence and shown immense improvement physically, mentally and emotionally and is advancing through Level I and Level II ground skills. Laredo has been ridden and appears to have had some previous lower level dressage or hunter jumper training he won a blue ribbon in his very first show!
Living near Fayetteville, North Carolina, he will live out his life with a future in TLAER training demonstration and on the trail. Laredo participated in his first TLAER training in October 2008 in Raleigh, North Carolina.
LEVI - As a two year old, LEVI, a Spotted Saddle Horse, was one of many horses rescued from a farm that was under investigation for equine cruelty in NC. At that time Levi was severely malnourished, underweight, wild, and was still nursing from his emaciated dam. Though untouched since birth and fearful of humans upon being rescued, Levi is now an extremely confident, curious, playful and well-mannered horse. He is owned by Don Miller. He lives at 4Hooves Farm and participated in his first TLAER Training Course in May 2010 in Middleburg, Virginia.
GEORGIE PORGIE was the first certified TLAER training horse, a Quarter horse born at Clemson University in 1995 and unfortunately orphaned his first day of life when his momma died of a torn uterus. Although retired from TLAER now, in 1996 he made his debut for the first 1 day OPERATIONS TLAER program in Monk’s Corner, SC with the Charleston Area Rescue Squad. He was the first horse that Rebecca trained to lie down for manipulations, to allow an Anderson Sling to be placed upon him, and to generally be patient with the students approaching him with appliances to place on his body.
Georgie was needed more as a faithful riding horse for Rebecca’s father, who in 2000 lost his beautiful riding mare, so he now lives in Clifton, Tennessee.
KARMA has always been one of the most reliable of our TLAER demonstration animals. He has been participating in our seminars since he was born in 1999, and started his unusual career early – he was the second TLAER certified demonstration horse in 2000. Standing at approximately 16.1 hands, Karma is a strawberry roan National Walking Horse gelding. He is related to all of the other National Walking Horses in the TLAER program by being the product of the same sire.
Karma is calm, interactive with students, and willing to get on any trailer, anywhere, anytime (after all – there might be FOOD on there!) He has travelled to California, Maine, and South Florida and at least 21 states in between. He has a special sheet that sports the patches of numerous fire departments and other units that we have trained over the years.
Karma is unique to the TLAER course as he is the only demonstration animal that has been lifted several times under a helicopter in an Anderson Sling during various courses over the years. In July 2008 at Ivy Rock Farm, Karma officially received his “flight wings” from Ralph Demasi of the US Army for 6 successful slingload demonstrations in GA (1), SC (1), CA (2) and LA (2). When not participating in TLAER courses or trail riding, Karma spends his time at home with Tomas in a Pendleton, South Carolina pasture. Tomas obtained his Level 1 Parelli certification with Karma in 2005.
"I was very impressed at the way your horses behaved under the pressure we put them through, I said that Karma should get an Air Assault Badge for his work with helicopters. I know he cannot qualify for an Airborne Badge because he does not jump from the same." Ralph Demasi, US Army at a TLAER course in 2008 - Ivy Rock Farm, New York
Although KARMA is still young and strong, Tomas has made the decision in 2013 to retire, and Karma with him to concentrate on trail riding closer to home with his horses.
SANCHO was born in 1993. Currently residing in Pendleton, South Carolina and towering above the herd at 16.3 hands, this black National Walking Horse gelding was the first to wear the Anderson Sling in our early photographs and demonstrations and was certified as a TLAER demonstration horse in 2000. He is related to all of the other National Walking Horses in the TLAER program by being the product of the same sire.
A true gentle giant, Sancho enjoys jumping and trail riding when not ingesting a multitude of treats at a TLAER course – where he will do a body cavity search if he smells treats in your pockets. Sancho’s training originally began utilizing the John Lyon’s training methods, over the years he has been introduced to Parelli Natural Horsemanship methods and has become the most advanced trail riding horse in the herd.
Tomas has made the difficult decision to retire Sancho from TLAER demonstrations in 2013 and concentrate on trail riding closer to home with his horses.
OVER THE RAINBOW BRIDGE –
"PIPPIN" was the smallest of the TLAER Demo Horses and the first miniature; she touched the hearts and lives of so many during her years with Michelle Melaragno. Michelle salvaged her from a severe neglect situation in 2008 and brought her home in a station wagon. Sharing a pasture in Auburn, Maine with Zephyr and Maggie, she loved her life. At first Pippin was very untrusting of people, slowly with natural horsemanship techniques and a lot of TLC, Pippin learned to do advanced online skills and tricks that were useful for TLAER, like standing on objects, rearing on command, and jumping up on obstacles. She coliced severely in 2010, and with Michelle holding her head in her lap, Pippin crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. Run free in greener pastures our friend, until we see you again.
DEXTER is of unknown breeding, but we know he is a 400 pound white Llama with an attitude! Originally we got him in 1998 because he was hard to catch, but we soon realized he was an extremely intelligent and cunning animal who was simply evading his captors by utilizing his natural instincts. As a result of his evasiveness, Dexter is considered to be TLAER’s “Senior Containment Instructor”. http://richmondregister.com/archive/x1448806383 He does NOT like water. We have found him to be a versatile asset with the training courses as he plays many roles during the course, including being vertically lifted and stuck in the mud.
In all the years of training events, Dexter NEVER spit on a single human – although he will spit at horses in a MINUTE if they get too close. He managed to look offended in every picture where he is being lifted or contained, this species is amazingly expressive in their demeanor. He makes all the students laugh when he lays his ears back….
It is estimated he was born around 1990, so he is at least 23 years old – perhaps older – and llamas are generally considered to only live about 20 years. Dexter now lives with the rest of Tomas’ herd at the farm in Pendleton, South Carolina where even though he is equivalent to a 100 year old human, he still has no problem bossing the horses around in the paddock and getting the best place to roll in the dust. Dexter has well earned his retirement and completed his last training event in 2011.
INTRODUCTION TO TLAER at http://www.horsenation.com/2015/04/03/friday-standing-ovation-technical-large-animal-emergency-rescue/ This is a SUPER story about TLAER and what it is - and what it ISN'T. Thank you to sponsor and HORSE NATION for their help getting the word out.