The dangers of swimming your horses. - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 17 Old 07-24-2013, 06:21 PM
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Swimming in the ocean is not like swimming in a lake, however unless your horse is very well trained and you are an excellent rider, don't try it. Yes, I swim with my horse in the lake but I can ride circles around most peops.
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post #12 of 17 Old 07-24-2013, 09:13 PM
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How sad.

Yes, it is dangerous to take your horses swimming. However, I also take my horses swimming every summer, several times a year, actually... usually in creeks and ponds where they can touch bottom, but sometimes we hit spots where the horses actually have to swim. My horses love it.

However, things can go wrong just as easily. Just a few years ago, I took my gelding swimming in what we'd been told was a very safe lake... we got tangled up in boating cord and both went under, but we both came out of it unharmed and more scared than anything. I'm more cautious now, but I still take my horses swimming. It's a risk, yes, but it's one I choose to take and am very careful of where I take my horses swimming nowadays.
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post #13 of 17 Old 07-24-2013, 10:18 PM
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I take both my horses to the beach. They love it. Bo was trained on the beach when he raced in Broome. He is almost as comfortable in the ocean as he is in the paddock. If his water trough was big enough, I am sure he would take himself for a swim in it.

It's quite normal over here for the race horse trainers to take their horses down for some beach work followed by a swim to cool off. There are designated horse beaches that we go to, they are very sheltered and don't have undercurrents.
I swam competively for 10 years and can definatley hold my own in the water. Having been a surf life saver for 8 years, I can also read the ocean and I know how to minimise the risks to both myself and my boys.

I would never take a new horse to the beach by myself, I would never swim a horse before first assessing how comfortable and confident the horse was in the water, even on a stinking hot day.

There is a risk involved in everything, waking up in the morning, driving a car, putting your horse in a float to go to a competition, popping over a few jumps etc. I am not going to wrap my boys up in cotton wool over fear of what might happen and things I can't change, especially not when it is something they enjoy so much.
I take calculated risks and it is my job as a rider/owner to do as much as I humanly can to avoid putting myself and my horses in a bad situation... In saying that, tragedies do happen but provided I have done all I can to prevet one from happening I am fine with swimming horses.
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post #14 of 17 Old 07-24-2013, 10:29 PM
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As long as you know your horse and the water you are going into, swimming with your horse is one of the most enjoyable ways to cool both of you off on a hot summer day!

I've been horseback in the Pacific Ocean, many inland lakes and rivers and the Gulf of Mexico. One of my bucket list items is take a ride in the Atlantic Ocean before I go.

Years ago, we had a huge appy/draft X that would stand shoulder deep in the river with his butt towards the middle so we could climb up on his butt and jump off. He would stand there all day sticking his nose in the water blowing bubbles!
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post #15 of 17 Old 07-24-2013, 10:42 PM
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I took my horse swimming for the first time ever (both mine and his) last weekend- took it very slow because of that, but my guy took to it like a pro. It is good to know that he can/will swim without getting panicky. I wasn't a huge fan of the wet boots and breeches after myself though. Everything is dangerous and I can only imagine how much heartache that owner is going though over losing her horse like that, but that doesn't mean we can live in a padded cell.
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post #16 of 17 Old 07-25-2013, 02:52 PM
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We swim the horses in the lakes around here, but only the horses that we know are comfortable in the water. If it's a first timer, we don't 'make' them go out any further than they are comfortable with. On Memorial Day three of us were out for a ride, one friend was riding a horse that had not been on a trail in about six months. This friend decided that he wanted to go swimming...which we were not prepared for. So we dismounted, dropped the saddles, pulled off our boots and led the horses in (fully dressed) and when we were sure they were ok with being in the water, we climbed on and swam around for over an hour...the horses loved it...the humans had a great time, but ended up riding back soaking wet and barefoot...one of those fun, memorable days.
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post #17 of 17 Old 07-25-2013, 03:33 PM
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I saw this one on the BBC website this morning and thought how tragic it was
Apparently horses don't have a concept of 'steering' themselves if they become separated from the rider - as happened here - and they will just keep swimming in a straight line until they become exhausted and drown
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