Twelve Back Country Horsemen and their mounts participated in an incredible weekend of learning Wilderness First Aid with the dynamics of dealing with all the horses on the trail.
A morning of lecture and practicing (how to put on a splint for example) before we were sent out on the trail to experience the real thing. Six very realistic scenarios were strategically placed along the trails. Some victims with broken legs, dislocated shoulders, broken backs, head injuries, the works, but all things we see in real life.
Some of the people playing victims developed unexpected acting talent which made the scenarios very real and scary at times.
Dealing with the victims and patching them up turned out to be the least of the problems. Finding a spot for a helicopter to land and making the spot visible with limited resources was a challenge. Getting the biggest man with an injured leg and dislocated shoulder on his horse wasn’t pretty, but can be done with the help of a few lead ropes. Staying calm when a victim is bucked off, breaks her leg and lands into an ice cold stream made for interesting dynamics. A trail needed to be cut out just to get to the mountain climber that was in a heap at the bottom of a rock face with multiple injuries. But the biggest challenge turned out to be dealing with the horses when you’re in a burned out area with no trees at all and no where to tie them up, especially when all hands are needed to help with the victim.
All in all, a great learning experience for all the participants. Throughout the course, participants went from standing stunned at an accident scene, to feeling confident to manage the situation until professional help arrives.