Last Updated on February 23, 2022 by Allison Price
You, like many riders, would love to swim with your horse. But make sure to do your research ahead of time so you can both stay safe.
Did you look at the calendar recently? It’s going by so fast! Are you getting everything you wanted this summer?Horses from the British Army’s Household Cavalry group leave London each summer for a few days and then head to the coast for summer camp. Captain Jack Campbell stated that some horses have never seen the sea before and this is for them a test in bravery and trust. They can also exercise in the sea, which is great for their muscles and a lot of fun! (photo (c), British Ministry of Defence
Do you have a bucket list item on your summer to go swimming with your horse? People seem to have it all: they live near an ocean beach that is horse friendly, or they have a river or pond nearby where they can safely swim. Some tell tales of daredevil adventures while on vacation abroad or on the trail. What about you?
You, like many riders, would love to swim with your horse. However, it is important to ensure that your horse is safe. Since you want swimming to be great fun and relaxing, do your homework ahead of time and ensure a Facebook-share-worthy adventure for all involved.
You can make your first time swimming with your horse a fun one by planning. Even if your experience with horses is good, each horse and every location you swim are different. Here’s a quick list.
1. Can you swim? Your horse may be able to swim, but so can you. If you aren’t a great swimmer, don’t take chances. In shallow water, you can still have a lot of fun.
2. Have you ever seen your horse swim before? Ask your former owners about any behavioral problems or negative experiences. Do you horse enjoy swimming, motorboats or other water distractions like waves? Introduce your horse slowly to the water, particularly the ocean with its breaking waves and shifting sand under his hooves.
3. Is the water safe to drink? Many ponds across the Northeast have been closed to animals and humans due to blue-green algae. Before you go, find out about any health issues in your area. Is it allowed to swim with horses? Horses are permitted in certain areas, but only during specific months. Permits or memberships may also be required. You won’t regret doing your research ahead of time. You should bring a shovel with you and clean up after your horse.Horses aren’t welcome everywhere. Check first! (John Halam photo)
4. Are you going with someone? Don’t go swimming alone with your horse. Repetition: Never go swimming alone with your horse.
5. How is the terrain similar to where you are going? Are the banks of the river steep? Is the pond’s edge rough? Consider your horse’s traction. Hoof boots will need to be removed. Keep all your gear and tack away from the water.
6. Is there a hackamore in your old hackamore? It’s possible to take your good bridle to the lake, but you should replace it with a synthetic one. You should leave your horse’s head free. If you are able to control your horse, a halter with some reins is a good option. For the rare occasion that something should go wrong, bring extra leadlines or reins along with a bridle. Consider what you will do when you get out of the water. What happens if your gear isn’t nearby? If you are trailering to swim, make sure you lock and close your trailer before you get in the water. Keep your car keys safe. Don’t carry your keys or your phone with you.
It’s not unusual for horses to need to roll after swimming. (Photo courtesy of the UK Ministry of Defence)
7. Why do horses paw water? They do, it’s just not known why. Your horse should be removed from the water before you allow it to come near your horse. Otherwise, your horse will paw at your tack. Similar reasoning: Why do horses swim after they have ridden? It is possible to stop him but it is not likely. If you must ride home, bring a brush.
8. What is that? It is most likely a leech (bloodsucker). They are common in still water. You should also be on the lookout for jellyfish in the ocean and snapping turtles at ponds. There are many other things. You are invading their world. Learn to recognize what is dangerous and what is not. You might find insects swooning over a horse that is wet, so make sure to bring insect repellant. Ticks love to live in woodsy areas and beach grass, so make sure you check your horse and yourself before you go. No matter how far you’ve been swimming, you should hose your horse well. You might be shocked at the difference in horse smell after a few hours. Rinse tails and manes thoroughly.
10. Can I ride your horse? People will be drawn to your horse if you are in public places, such as a park or beach. People will want to ride your horse, and they won’t hesitate to ask. Be careful. Keep people away from you. Be firm but friendly and remember to consider their safety first. Your friends can be of great assistance here.
Aquatic equitation is the half-way point. The best part about riding with your horse in the water is the bond you make. You can relax by taking care of the details. Ask other riders whether you should wear old tennis shoes or go completely barefoot. Pond bottoms can be very rocky and slimy.
Introduce water slowly to your horse if he is anxious. Do not stress or panic about the experience. If you are nervous, you might be able to try it out on an experienced horse before you take your horse to the water.
Whatever your situation, take a camera or a designated photographer and share your joy with us.
I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!