Taking your horse swimming can be a great way to cool down while having fun at the same time. But swimming with your horse also brings with it potential dangers. These five tips can help you to safely take your horse swimming.
Wear a Helmet
It may seem silly to wear a helmet when you take your horse swimming – you’ll be in the water, after all. But wearing a helmet is a good idea, especially if your horse has never been swimming before. You never know just how your horse will react when you ask him to enter the water, and a helmet can help to protect your head in the event of a fall or a kick. Just don’t bring along your best show helmet; it may get wet.
Use Split Reins
Always use split reins when you take your horse into the water – even if you traditionally ride English. When horses enter the water there can be some thrashing and kicking, especially if they begin to swim. When you have traditional connected reins, it’s possible for a horse to catch a front leg in the reins, which can then pull his head underwater. Always opt for split reins to avoid this tragic possibility.
Listen to Your Horse
Pay attention to what your horse is telling you. Swimming and walking in water is tiring, so if your horse gets fatigued you’ll want to bring him out of the water before he gets too tired. It’s important to gradually condition your horse to working and swimming in the water and in sand, since it’s more tiring than riding in a standard arena is.
Provide Your Horse with Water
Be sure to bring along plenty of cool, fresh water for your horse to drink. Swimming is hard work, and your horse will probably appreciate some water after a ride. Don’t allow your horse to drink salt water, since it can actually dehydrate him further.
Go With Friends
It’s best to bring along friends whenever you take your horse down to the water. Not only is having friends along fun, but friends can help out in case anything goes wrong. Be sure that someone has a cell phone along, and put the cell phone in a sealed plastic bag to keep it from getting wet.
Have a great time taking your horse swimming!