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Can horses swim?

This is a discussion on Can horses swim? within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • Can a horse swim with two people on it's back?
  • Can horses drown in a pond

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    03-24-2012, 03:43 PM
  #11
Super Moderator
As sais, yes they can swim rather like a dog does so their back drops right down quite low, so, I always slip off their backs and hold onto their mane and float over /alongside them.
I wouldn't intentionally take a horse swimming whilst it was wearing its tack.
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    03-24-2012, 03:44 PM
  #12
Green Broke
Its fun, I love swimming with horses. Its about the only time you will catch me bareback...lol.
Like some have said before, you kind have to feel them out on how well they swim and how deep to go. I rode a horse that would bounce off the bottom instead paddling. Which was fun to ride, but he would get scared easily if he got out too far. Had to pay close attention to how deep the water was.
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    03-24-2012, 05:18 PM
  #13
uii
Foal
Horses can swim very well indeed. But if you're on her back, take her somewhere that goes up to her chest, so she's swimming, but can reach the bottom. That way, she won't tire out from swimming too hard, and won't slip from being too close to the slippery edge.
     
    03-24-2012, 05:37 PM
  #14
Banned
I had a pony mare that loved to swim and after you turned her out on a warm day would swim out into the pond in her paddock and swim around for the pleasure of it. Her name was Esther Williams. It was a vile show name, and no on who hadn't seen her swim got it.

As smrobs said above, if you're swimming a few strides across the deepest part of a creek, it's okay to stay astride. Much long the that, you're better off slipping off and holding on the mane and letting them tow you.
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    03-24-2012, 07:07 PM
  #15
Trained
You bet they can swim! This is me & my horse last fall.

=
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    03-24-2012, 09:50 PM
  #16
Foal
Most horses will swim quite well, HOWEVER some are just sinkers and that's why at racetracks you have to have a rope around the tail of the horse to encourage them to swim and keep them from dropping their backend. Not all horses need tails, but for a horse that's new or just plain lazy they do.

I would be cautious going to swim your horse for the first time, maybe just have a halter and leadrope and swim beside your horse in the shallower waters to see how your horse copes.

Just be careful and trust your gut insticts!
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    03-24-2012, 10:10 PM
  #17
Super Moderator
Be careful!!

NOT ALL HORSES CAN SWIM!

The brother of a very dear friend of ours drowned with his horse is farm pond in Springer, OK about 15 years ago. He was 'cowboying' full time on the ranch and chased a coyote out into a pond where he took refuge. He did not have a gun so was going to rope the coyote like he had done before. Both went down in 12 feet of water right in front of the ranch owner who said he never felt so helpless in his life.

When we first heard about it, we thought maybe they had a tie-down on the horse, but that was not the case. The horse just did not swim.

We swam Arabians in the Lasma Arabian Ranch pool back in the 70s when we trained Arabians. Gene LaCroix almost lost a National Champion mare, *Gdania, in their pool. She could not swim. If a dozen people had not been around to pull her up and out of the pool, she would have drowned.

Another horse and rider drowned in the Red River a few years ago. The guy was crossing the river to bring back a cow that had crossed and both he and his horse drowned.

So, while MOST horses can swim, they all can't I swam my horses a lot as a kid, but I would not do it now. So be careful.

Always remember that no horse can swim with any kind of a tie-down on.
     
    03-24-2012, 10:20 PM
  #18
Trained
I personally would not chose a 30' deep lake to try it. We have a lake where it is fairly shallow for about 20' and then suddenly drops off. I know of one horse who absolutely panicked when the ground disappeared beneath his feet. Definitely expose your horse to water in a safe lake with fairly shallow water before putting him in a situation where he has to swim.
     
    03-24-2012, 10:52 PM
  #19
Started
The Chincoteague ponies make it across Assateague Channel yearly; it's 200 yards across, & it takes the ponies about 4 minutes to navigate it. There are youngsters in the herd who make it across, also.

Thus, you'd figure that any reasonably fit horse, or even youngster, would be able to do the same.
     
    03-25-2012, 04:22 PM
  #20
Foal
My horses are awesome swimmers. :)
Just gotta lay down and hold on to the saddle horn in the water (like have them pull you instead of you riding him while he's swimming) because it makes it easier for them to swim.
I would totally swim with specs all the time if he liked it! Lol but he doesn't really enjoy it
     

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