Where I used to work we had a horse that had to be swum(?) He had decided to plow through a fence on night but didn't quite make it. IT seemed like he'd gotten over with his front leg then just pulled it backwards through the pole. Anyway he'd done massive damage to his shoulder and with a few weeks the muscle had started to atrify (die) he couldn't be ridden, for obvious reasons, but we had to keep him moveing to try and build up what muscle was left, so we used swim therapy.
It did work, and we got him to a point where we could take over with riding him. His shoulder never totally healed properly due to the extreme muscle loss but it got back to about 90% of original structure.
I should mention that this recovery happened over about 3 years. It was no simple injury. When this horse walked his whole shoulder buckled outwards as their was no living muscle to support the movement of the shoulder.
I have heard of simpler injuries healing very well though and simming in general is a fantastic conditioning exercise.
Could you use swimming as a means of exercise too, or is it best to use it as a means of recovering from an injury. I saw the video and think its awesome, and I would love to one day do that with my horse, just as like a fun thing to do.
Race horse trainers use swimming as exercise all the time. It is a great form of high energy, low impact training. I also know of performance stables that have it as part of their show horses training routine.
I use to swim my show horses a lot for muscle tone and as said before, minimal impact training. It served two purposes, 1. To help build muscle and 2. To cool us off on a hot day :)
My dad used swim therapy on one of our trotters that went through a barbed wire fence and tore his legs, chest and bottom of his stomach terribly. The vet wanted to put him down but he was kinda like a part of the family for us :) our trainer suggested swim therapy. Dad had one of those long pools put in. He figured it would be good for the injured horse and training for the others. I still believe its one of the main things that helped him get better. He never raced again but he was my trail horse for a while and then he went on to be a riding for the disabled horse.
I think there is a lot to be said for swim therapy :)
When I was little I use to get paid $2 to swim all my friends horses through our dam I made like $50 one summer lol. It is a really great aid for conditioning your horses especially if you can do it on the beach because walking in the sand is good for muscles too as long as you don't over do it