Aiken horse ambulance fully operational during Fall Steeplechase

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012

AIKEN, S.C. -- From guinea pigs to buffalo, Animal Control Officer Jeff Wilson has seen it all, but an event like Steeplechase keeps him on his feet.

"Horses, when they jump, if they land wrong, they'll fall. A lot of times, they get back up and continue on without the rider. Then, unfortunately, there's some that don't get up, and we either have to help them up or remove them from the track," Wilson said.

However, he says the City of Aiken is well equipped. He says Aiken Public Safety started its equine rescue back in 2000, but now they have a new ambulance that's fully operational.

"The City of Aiken is proud to say that they're the only municipality in the State of South Carolina that owns a large animal ambulance," Wilson said.

Besides the ambulance itself, there's a lot inside -- all the equipment to move a horse off the track and prevent the horse from further injury.

"It's not like it was 20 years ago, where if a horse has a broken bone, he's automatically euthanized. This is not the case, nowadays, with modern medicine. They can actually mend him. He might not be racing, but he's alive," Wilson said.

It's a resource used on the track, but it also rescues any horse off the track, too.

Wilson says that's why the trailer and equipment were donated by the local horse community.

“Because they know there's a need for it. Horses are like small children. They can get in trouble just as quick as anything else,” he said.

Wilson didn't have to rescue any horses Saturday during Fall Steeplechase.

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