Last Updated on February 21, 2022 by Allison Price
The horse cautiously approaches the water. The horse puts his nose down and begins to investigate the water. He slowly wades into it. The horse is urged to go forward, into deeper water. It’s a wonderful day to take a dip. Do horses love to swim? Continue reading to find out more.
How do horses swim?
Horses are naturally good at swimming. Not all horses love swimming. Horses can move their legs in a similar way to when they swim. Horses should not hold their breath. Horses will therefore keep their noses and heads above water. Horses must not allow water to get in their ears. We discuss the anatomy and importance of covering horses’ ears .
Are Horses Afraid Of Water?
Horses do not see the world the same way as humans. You can find out more about HORSE VISION – A BREAKDOWN HOW HORSES VIEW THE WORLD. Horses can find water intimidating. Horses can overcome this fear with basic ground training and patience. Your horse must trust that you won’t put him in danger. There are many articles that will help you build a trusting, loving, and leadership relationship.
Ground Training before Water
Before you can introduce your horse into the water, there is some ground training. This is essential to ensure your safety.
- Move away from pressure – When you are swimming alongside your horse, it is important that your horse moves away from you and stays out of your bubble. This is to prevent the horse from accidentally being kicked while he swims. To push the horse away from you, place your hand on his shoulder.
- Response to the reins and pressure – Your horse will respond to your leg pressure and reins quickly if you’re riding it while it swims. As much as possible, you want to keep his head down. They need to be able to breathe and keep their heads above the water. Leg cues may be affected by water pressure. It all depends on how responsive your horse to pressure from the legs.
- Understanding Whoa – Your horse might bolt forward when it gains firm ground. It could be dangerous if your horse doesn’t respond to whoa if you aren’t ready.
Introducing Horses to Water
Begin slowly when you introduce a horse to the water. Be sure to check your surroundings for any dangerous objects before you start with shallow water. Let the horse go to the edge of the water and take a look around. After the horse has relaxed, take a few steps into the water. If the horse runs, you can ask for a couple more steps. Continue to take steps after the horse has calmed down. Once I saw a horse jump into the water and then run onto a dam made of beaver (yes, it was a dam made from beaver) to escape. It was an unforgettable experience. She was able to swim and cross creeks with ease after a lot of patience and perseverance.
Horses often paw at the water. Although there are many theories, no scientific explanations. Try to get your horse to move a few steps if they paw. Pawing often follows by lying down. This is bad for your horse and your tack.
A horse might panic if it reaches deep enough water to swim the first time. An experienced horse can lead the other horse. The experienced horse should be ridden and the other horse must follow. To ensure safety, make sure there’s enough space between the horses.
Swimming with Your Horse
You can swim with horses in two ways: on their backs or in the water together.
Horses who ride on the back of horses are more vulnerable. If you’re riding bareback, balance is important. It is important not to get sucked into the legs of your horse by falling next to him. Although riding with a saddle makes it easier, it is more difficult for the rider to maintain your tack. Water and leather do not get along well. Water can cause irreparable harm to leather. Remember to clean the girths and pads.
Swimming alongside the horse and letting the horse pull you is safer for the horse, but it can be more dangerous for you. The horse’s mane should be held by your withers. Keep your feet on the ground and keep your horse pulling you along. When the horse reaches a depth that they can touch, be ready to move quickly. Horses are likely to accelerate and possibly lurch from the water.
Why do horses swim?
Horses might swim for many reasons. Wild horses may need to cross rivers and creeks to reach the best grazing. A veterinarian may order water therapy for horses injured just like a doctor might do for humans.
There are also the Chincoteague ponies from Assateague Island. Marguerite Henry’s Misty from Chincoteague novels made these ponies famous. The Chincoteague Chamber of Commerce website states that this herd of wild horses are gathered and taken to Assateague Channel every year. Here’s what they had to say.
To the delight of people from all over the globe, our Pony Penning and Carnival have been held for 94 years. The “slack tide”, on the last Wednesday of July, is when the Chincoteague “Saltwater Cowboys,” transport wild Chincoteague ponies across the Assateague Channel to neighboring Chincoteague Island. The ponies then “parade” to carnival grounds, where they will be auctioned off their foals on the last Thursday in July. Friday will see the adult ponies return to Assateague Island, where they will continue their wild life for another year.
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!