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Last Updated: Monday, 22 August 2005, 12:02 GMT 13:02 UK
Dobbin is a rescue thoroughbred
Dobbin, the life-sized rescue dummy
Dobbin, seen with a helper, is made of heavy-duty canvas
A Denbighshire firm which makes training dummies for rescue services is hoping it has a winner with Dobbin, the life-sized horse.

Ruth Lee Ltd, based at Corwen, supplies fire brigades, the RNLI and the MoD with all sizes of plastic people. It is now branching out into large animals.

It says Dobbin is ideal for mock-up situations in which rescue teams practise bringing animals to safety.

Dobbin is 14 hands high and modelled on a Halflinger horse called Aztec.

The firm, produces about 1,500 dummies a year from its factory in an old school building at Corwen and employs 15 people.

It makes a range of products for the emergency services, including a helicopter loading bag, and its equipment is used by civilian rescue services as well as fire crews at regional airports.

Dobbin, who costs around 1,000, was created after the London fire service requested a model which it could use to practise rescuing large animals.

But it was touch-and-go for a while whether the new model would be a horse or a cow.

Operations director Lawrence Lee said it was easier to go for horse when he realised his own wife's horse could provide the measurements.

Heavy duty canvas

"Aztec is used to being handled and that just gave the workshop manager something to go on.

"Dobbin is made out of heavy duty canvas, the same canvas we use to make the other dummies.

"You can separate him into two halves and his legs can come way separately, just so he can be transported

"Our models do get hammered, dropped out of third and fourth storey windows and things, so we know they will take a fair bit of abuse."

Dobbin, when fully assembled, weighs in at 40kg.




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