On Horses and Other Methods of People Searches

Just got done reading about the Whitewater Area Mounted Search Team and Rescue in Wisconsin, a volunteer group that uses horses to help find missing people. The group got started in August 2006, after an autistic child went missing in the area, and several local horse owners volunteered to help search on horseback.

The rider's best communication with his horse is body language; the horse recognizes a rider with confident body language as a leader. Equestrians are deeply intuitive and easily sense and react to a wide range of human emotions. It is a special advantage when the rescue team is trying to find people who are unable to communicate through speech, horses can pick up the waves of nonverbal communication humans would likely miss.

Horses offer advantages over other search methods; they can reach places foot patrols, cars and ATVs can't, and still move quickly. When mounted, riders get a better view of the area, and the horses can also help the people search for a missing person. A well-trained rescue horse can alert the rider when it senses something's amiss ahead; it may also draw a frightened child out of hiding.

Now, whenever there is a missing people search in a wooded terrain, the group is part of it. The volunteers devote a lot of time to training the horses. During the summer, they meet for weekly, all-day training sessions and mock searches. The horses are trained to search for toys in heavily wooded areas. The riders practice guiding the horses and spend time getting them used to unknown elements. They practice riding side-by-side, in the dark, in the water, and plowing through the woods.

That is awesome! I've always liked horses; they seem to belong to a more enlightened rank of animals. Love horses as I may though, I am glad to be living in a city, in a civilized environment where online resources are within my constant reach. Whenever I need to find people, I just need to enter their name and city/state into an online directory, and I have all the information I need to contact anyone I want to. Besides, where would I keep a horse around here?