A couple of weekends ago my daughter and I were tooling around the hill country, snapping photos of scenes that caught our eye. From the highway, we could see there was a lot of activity going on at the stables at Hilltop Lakes so we drove over there.
To our pleased surprise, we discovered a training session underway for the newly organized East Texas Mounted Search and Rescue. A few gentlemen were standing about while their horses grazed. With typical Texas hospitality and friendliness, they greeted us and invited us to watch.
Training The Horses
The riders in the training exercise were lined up in a long row. The instructor was teaching them how to cover an area in a consistent manner, not missing anything nor having to backtrack. The riders and the horses learn. Even one stubborn horse who'd never learned to step to the side, according to his owner, managed to do that once the instructor set her mind to making him learn.
I've seen mounted search and rescue groups in news footage before so I understood the exercises they were putting the riders and horses through. They have to be able to pick their way through heavily-wooded areas, step to the side to open gates, etc. in their search for a missing child or a lost camper.
Sounds & Noise
Horses don't like sudden weird sounds or anything out of the ordinary actually. They're easy to spook so part of the training exercise was walking them over a big sheet of black plastic so they could get accustomed to the crackling sound. This de-sensitization continued when one of the Leon County Deputies drove up to do his part by turning on the emergency flashers and the siren. Horses really don't like that, but if they're to be a part of a rescue team, they'll be working with law enforcement so they must get used to that.
Want To Help
This group is primarily out of Leon County, but, according to Secretary/Treasurer Sherry Smith, who is also in charge of Communications & Publicity, they welcome riders from anywhere and everywhere. If you ride, they've got horses or you can bring your own. If you have some time on your hands, even if you don't ride, then they can use you.
Groups like the East Texas Mounted Search and Rescue provide a valuable assist to law enforcement so if you'd like to help by donating time and/or money, just email Sherry: lilrangercb at hotmail dot com. Ask to be put on the mailing list so you'll know when they're going to appear at a training session, parade or festival. You'll love watching them!