Can Horses Swim
Horses are usually good swimmers, and they enjoy swimming in cold water during the hot summer months. Horses with fear of water may be afraid of getting into the pool at first, needing a bit of encouragement. Over the years, swimming with horses has been developed as a way of treating and training traumatized or injured horses at rehabilitation centers.
How Do Horses Swim
Horses keep their head above water and propel forward by paddling with their legs as if trotting on land. Since they struggle to hold their breath, horses never submerge their head in the water, to keep themselves from drowning. Initially, a horse might move around awkwardly in the water and would probably need your guidance.
Video: Wild Horses Swimming
Helping Your Horse to Swim
Swimming is a good form of exercise that not just stretches your horse’s muscles and improves endurance but also provides mental stimulation if it has been traumatized by pain or injury.
If your horse has no previous experience of swimming and is afraid of getting into the water, make sure that the water level is not deeper than one or two feet during the first few swimming sessions. It should gradually get more confident over time.
If swimming with your horse, always stay ahead of its withers so that it does not accidentally kick you. Riding a swimming horse can be dangerous because it may do unexpected quick movements in water which can cause you to fall off and get kicked by the horse’s moving hooves.
Video: Horse Swimming Training in a Pool
- A horse swimming for 10 minutes expends approximately the same amount of energy as it does when cantering for several miles.
- There are various horse swimming events and races held in the US every year, like the Chincoteague Pony Penning.