The Kimzey Ambulance was co-developed by UC Davis director of the Center for Equine Health, Dr. Greg Ferraro. Dr. Ferraro worked with the late John Kimzey of Kimzey Welding Works Inc. in Woodland during the late 70s in the course of his tenure as a racetrack veterinarian. The joint project was spurred by the breakdown of racehorse Ruffian in 1975. Two key features of the specialized ambulance are a hydraulic system that lowers the door to the ground and a winch that pulls a stretchered horse into the vehicle; a movable padded wall within the ambulance stabilizes standing horses. Other features include a high ceiling and skylight to decrease a horses fear of walking into a dark, enclosed space, while side exits allow easy egress for the horse and quick access for handlers. The ambulance is also fitted with a water tank to cool the horse, oxygen tanks and other medical necessities. Today, the Kimzey Ambulance is standard at almost every major race track in the U.S. and even some overseas; only about 25 of these $80,000 ambulances have been manufactured by Kimzey since 1979. Dr. Ferraro estimates that the Kimzey Ambulance and Kimzey Splints have cut equine mortality rates by 25%.
The specialized Kimzey ambulance was used to transport the racehorse Barbaro from Pimlico after he was injured in the 2006 running of the Preakness. Other UC Davis devices used to assist in this horse rescue and rehabilitation include the Anderson Sling, the Kimzey Splint and Kimzey's large-animal surgery table, developed in consultation with UC Davis Vet Med Teaching Hospital professor emeritus J.D. Wheat.