Ready and Living Prepared: Horses (RALPH)
Trained to rescue large animals when emergencies strike, a volunteer is giving the gift of emergency preparedness in memory of her Quarter Horse, Ralph.
The pair logged more than 1,000 hours in the saddle, but Ralph was more than just Deen’s riding mount and friend. The gelding’s trusting, bombproof nature made him a perfect working horse and suitable for emergency training.
Ralph proved himself as an asset to the Louisiana State Animal Rescue Team (LSART). Training volunteer responders was painless when Ralph was involved due to his calm demeanor. Unlike other horses, he didn’t require sedation making him an ideal volunteer horse.
Ralph even helped train more than eighty vet students in full personal protective equipment (PPE) during a mock disaster drill. The gelding enabled a positive, stress-free learning experience for everyone involved.
Deen tells us she wanted to continue sharing Ralph’s legacy with others. “That is how the memory of your loved one lives on, like a cherished family recipe for happiness.”
And that’s how Ralph’s Responders was born. It features an animal responder bag containing tow straps, rope halters, leads and additional supplies needed in case of a horse emergency.
Two children’s activity books, created by Deen, are also available. They can be download for free online. She says the idea is to teach kids the importance of including pets in emergency planning.
“… I hope others will find joy in life with their horse, and hopefully avoid disaster with the education of Ralph’s Responders,” Deen says.
Deen donated three Ralph Responders, each valued at $600, to date. Two went to LSART and one went to Brazos Valley Equine Hospital in Texas.
Deen buried Ralph on her future ranch next to a crepe myrtle tree under his own headstone.
She says, “Ralph never was mine, but a gift from God on my own journey.”