Munch-N-Done had the pleasure of auditing a clinic put on by Terry Nowaki in Ames, Iowa on a beautiful weekend in July, 2017. I do admit, I was skeptical going into this. Doing tradeshows throughout the Midwest, however, we had come across a few Search and Rescue volunteers who had participated in these clinics, and the reviews were always over the top. 100% positive feedback, and everyone we spoke with always ended their clinics by rebooking Terry for another one. That speaks volumes.
Friday was classroom, and we watched an in formative PowerPoint on the whole concept of using horses to actually search people out using their sense of smell. Having studied the wild horse herds of the Da kotas, Terry watched horses doing this naturally. He then watched his domestic horses for the same body languages, and yes, they were actually doing it as well. The challenge has been for Terry to teach and train the average horse owner and Search and Rescue volunteer in reading and understanding the myriad of subtle hints your horses are giving to you in the field, all the time.
Saturday and Sunday we spent in the field. Numerous search areas were set up on plots of several acres to areas much larger. The group Terry was working with this particular weekend is a brand new fledgling Search and Rescue group, and Terrys ability to explain himself, start with the bare basics, and explain somewhat foreign concepts in an easily understood manner make him a very enjoyable clinician to learn from.
Over the course of the weekend, the riders came away with the nucleus of what it will take to keep their horses in training for Scented Search and Rescue operations. They all came away with a much more through under standing of their horses’ body language, and quite impressively, they learned to trust their horses instincts.
Terry is used to dealing with skeptics. By the end of Saturdays field exercises, there was not a one of us that remained in that category. He set up numerous searches, and when we questioned the potential of flukes, he set up a new search that made it impossible to doubt the horses abilities. There absolutely IS something to this. Mounted Search and Rescue is dead serious business, and honing your skills in the field can obviously be the difference between someone’s life or death. To see a rider detect their horses signals upon catching a scent, to see that rider literally allow their horse a free head, reins completely loose, and see the horse snake their way across a field directly to a hidden person is absolutely as exhilarating as watching a well trained, tuned up hunting dog doing their magic.
Terry is as cowboy as they come. He hails from MN, and has been involved with horses his whole life. He raises cattle, his family competes in rodeo, and Terry also trains horses and more importantly, their riders. He ropes, and our whole group enjoyed an impromptu roping lesson Saturday night. He is not above reciting perfect cowboy poetry at absolutely the right moments.
His passion is sharing his knowledge to groups wanting to hone the skills of their Search and Rescue groups. This truly is the gold standard of Mounted Search and Rescue. After seeing it live and in action, he is on to something! If you are serious about finding lost citizens in your working Search and Rescue Group, we highly recommend setting up a clinic with Terry Nowaki. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org