Yesterday, my SO and I went for a rare mid-week ride on our horses after work, and stopped by the pond on the property. SO has gotten his horse in this pond a few times before, but it was just a quick in-and-out to make sure he will go where his nose is pointed.
Yesterday, he was being a bit of a turd, so we were determined not to leave until that horse would go in that pond without issue. He did eventually get to the point where he would go in without fuss (he discovered those pond grasses about a length out were way more tastier than the regular grass) and SO went to ride him a little bit further.
Turns out there was a bit of a deep spot in the pond, and Horse went for an unexpected swim. He came out of the water like a Russian Sub playing peek-a-boo, and was unharmed, head never went under, etc. (I really don't want this thread to turn into "OMG WHAT WERE YOU THINKING WHY WOULD YOU DOOOOO THAT?!" It was a freak incident. Not the point.)
What I am wondering is how do you introduce a horse to swimming, or is there really a way? We would love to go swimming in that pond (obviously not in that hole) or other places, but I don't want to traumatize (again) the poor critters.
What is the best way to safely introduce horses to actually swimming? Are all horses capable of the activity? Is it something horses know how to do instinctively? Is it ok to be on them while they are learning or should it be done by ponying from a more experienced horse? Should this be done with or without a saddle on? Does it ruin your boots?!!?!
I would love to hear your input and advice, and see your pictures and videos! Thank you so much!
(here is a picture of SO and Charlie in the pond at the end of last year, when it just started to get chilly. My horse is STILL convinced that alligators come from here, soo...)