BC Search and Rescue Association
Princeton Ground Search and Rescue (PGSAR) has added four-legged comrades to the team! The PGSAR Mounted Team, currently the only one in British Columbia, is ready and capable.
After over two years of preparation and training, spearheaded by PGSAR President/Manager Paul Fyfe, a team of certified equines and riders are ready to expand their search abilities into various terrains. Princeton’s SAR team adds this new tool to their repertoire, which already includes ATVs, UTVs, snowmobiles, snowshoes, backcountry skis, swift water/ice rescue rafts, as well as medical gear.
Beginning in 2018, Paul initiated laying the groundwork necessary to start building a Mounted Search Team. In 2020, PGSAR was excited to welcome respected trainer, Marion Weisskopff of MW Sport Horses, into their search and rescue family. The Mounted Team had an ideal leader and certifier. The team worked hard to establish a set of rigorous certification requirements for riders and equines.
Mounted members must first be fully GSAR certified to apply for the Mounted Team and be able to demonstrate exceptional control of their horses. Over 60 specific tasks, mounted and unmounted, must be mastered. Riders need their equine partners to be confident and strong, tolerate traffic, crowds, sirens, flashing lights, and much more. They need to be able to “stop on a dime” or step carefully around potential evidence. After many hours of intensive practice, both individually and as a team, five GSAR members with their seven equines, including their first mule, make up the initial Mounted Team: Anita Kleinschrot, Debbie Powell, Mandy Blais, Margot Galozo, and Marion Weisskopff. They look forward to being able to add new members soon!
PGSAR Mounted Team is ready for service — Giddyup Team!
FUN FACT: Horses have an incredible ability to scent and can bring unique traits to a search. But like any other discipline, it requires serious training time. Horses differ from sniffer dogs in scent detection. Most differences are due to each species’ evolutionary predispositions. One is a predator, while the other is prey. A distinct advantage horses have is being able to reach from the ground level, to 2 metres (7 feet) or more, above the ground.
For more information visit bcsara.com.