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Rescuing Large Animals in Missouri
& Hauling Gravel in Nevada
HTCAA & The Trail Journal Loves Vounteers!


Large Animal Rescue
Emergency Missouri Response
By Dee Schmidt

If your travels take you to or through Missouri or Illinois, the #1 best number to have, but hopefully never use, is 314-660-3510


It's a good idea to put MERS Large Animal Rescue in your phone as a "just in case." 


Established as a non-profit in 2006, the Missouri Emergency Response Service - Large Animal Rescue is a fee free technical emergency rescue service for all large animals in Missouri and Illinois (we work with the fledgling sister group TETHER in Illinois).  That's the long version of this...



So, what does that mean for you?




If you find yourself staring at your horse upside down in a ditch and you're saying, "What the heck do I do now?" the answer is to call MERS. 

If your miniature Zebu bull falls in a 10 foot deep hole and you are scratching your head and wondering how that happens, call MERS. We can tell you he rolled over while sleeping and woke up when he hit the bottom.  But, more importantly, we can get him out safely. 

Horse stuck in a loft?  Yep, had two of those rescues. 

Camel stuck in the mud?  Yep, two of those also. 

Livestock trailer full of breeding bulls flipped on its side and hanging over the side of an overpass in downtown St. Louis during morning rush hour?  Yep, been there, done that. 

Horse in a frozen pond?  Yep.  

Horse jumped in the middle of your brush/junk pile because there was a blade of green grass in there and can't get out?  You wouldn't believe how often that happens. 

Cattle floating away in the flood?  Well, we have way more experience in that than we should (move those cattle to high ground before the flooding please!)

Horse cast in a stall?  We can do that blindfolded... but won't to because that's just dangerous. 




With eleven years, a trailer full of pretty cool equipment, and over 300 rescues, it's hard to stump us.  We've also come to realize that if a situation is possible, there is a horse or cow that is willing to get into it.


We work state wide for large scale disaster,s but keep it at a 2.5 hour radius around St. Louis for the smaller rescues.  That covers a good portion of the major riding and camping areas in Missouri. 


If we can't get to you swiftly, we can work with your local emergency service providers or vet, to coach them through a safe rescue.  We're open 24/7/365 days a year for those in our area.


And if you're in the St. Louis area and you are interested in being a part of what we think is the best volunteer organization, that provides this particular type of service to the bi-state area (we'll never mind the fact that we're the only organization that does this work), please contact us! 


Those in Illinois can contact TETHER as well. 


Want to create your own group like ours?  We're happy to share our experience and path with you.


Emergency Line - 314.660.3510 / Volunteer with us - 314.660.3510
On Facebook - MERS Team /











The Gravel Haul
With a Pack String
By Pete Jensen


There is something special about leading a pack string… it’s the power, it’s the control, it’s a huge responsibility, and I have found it to be very addictive.



Stepping into a saddle has its own unique way to equalize most people.  Adding one, two or five stock animals behind you, and tying them all together gives you a whole new level of control and understanding.


Having a good mount to start with is a challenge in itself...


A mount that doesn't mind being run into, crowded or pulled on, or has the mind to help a bad situation get better.


A good pack string leader must trust you to tell them what is right or wrong.

At first thought, hauling gravel seems like a petty chore for most equine enthusiasts. 


It takes a well-rounded mount and rider to do this comfortably and safely. It can be more challenging, especially when you have volunteers who know very little about equines handling your strings’ cargo.


Having people around your mount and your pack stock, making quick and unintentional movements, can test just about any good rider and their stock.




Outside of Las Vegas, Nevada there is a unique place called Red Rock. It has a 13 mile scenic drive with fantastic trails and excellent rock climbing opportunities. It sees nearly 4 million visitors a year and the trails are very well used.

As with any popular trail system the trails need to be maintained. In this area Friends of Red Rock often look to The Bristlecone Chapter of the Back Country Horseman of Nevada to help them build, maintain and improve many of the trail systems.


Here in Southern Nevada BCHNV also help support the USFS, BLM and Friends of Nevada Wilderness as well as others in many of their projects.  In these photos we were there with BCH, helping Friends of Red Rock & BLM.



One of the biggest supports we can provide is simply moving materials or supplies, whether it's the crews gear, tools, food, and a lot of water here in the desert; and sometimes logs or gravel.


We are all volunteers… we get up early, work hard all day, get tired and dirty; and at the end of the project all the people and the stock are just flat wore out.

The satisfaction that comes from helping groups like these, in places we love to see and ride, will outweigh nearly all of the bumps and bruises from a long day.



It’s not as hard as it seems… If you consider yourself a equine enthusiast, I challenge you to try this: Start out with others and lead a horse or mule to see how it goes, than add a saddle or a pack and take a nice ride somewhere, take a lunch, or better yet take enough supplies and spend the night out on the trial. You might be surprised how well or how bad your mount does.



I have learned a lot from leading and packing, and I think it has made me a better all-around horseman.


Sometimes I can't believe how lucky I am to get to do things I enjoy, things that challenge me to better my equine skills, and to be around people that enjoy it too.

In these photos, in just three hours with six riders, we hauled just over 5 tons of gravel… What a great day.        


Happy Trails,

Pete Jensen





Peter is a plumbing and mechanical contractor, and owns a construction company. He belongs to BCHNV Bristlecone chapter in Las Vegas and is married to Sherry Jensen. Some call him a Muleman, Cowboy and Cowboy Poet. Pete says, “We have an Arab living out his days, (he deserves it), a Mustang and three Mules.” He’s an avid hunter, fisherman and general lover of the outdoors.

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