can horses swim

can horses swim

Yes, You Actually Can Swim with (Some) Horses!

Horses walk, trot, canter, gallop , jump, piaffe, and slide. But can they swim?

For a multitude of reasons, including therapy, moving to better food sources in the wild, and even having fun with their riders, horses may swim!

Equine Behavior: The Basics

Horses, in the wild are wanderers. They are always looking for better food sources, and sometimes that would involve crossing water.

Horses have a natural instinct to swim.

Horse in a lake

Photo Cred: Canva

Purposes of Swimming

For a number of reasons, horses swim. On a sweltering summer day, some horses wade into lakes or ponds to cool off. On a trail ride or in the outdoors, you could also encounter a horse swimming across a river.

Each summer, the Chincateague ponies swim from Assateague Island to Chincoteague Island in an effort to reduce the number of horses on Assateague.

More information about this custom may be found in the book Misty of Chincateauge, or you can visit the islands for the Pony Swim each summer!

The equestrian sector is also a big fan of swim treatment. It is a great way to get a horse back in shape after an injury without the extra stress of impact on their joints, tendons, and ligaments.

Equine Swimming Logistics

Horses are not naturally buoyant, which means they cannot just take a relaxing float in a lake. However, their big lungs do keep them afloat.

They must always be in motion in water to swim. They will constantly keep their heads above water since they are unable to breathe underneath.

Horses cannot swim under the water, but they are able to swim through varying depths on the surface! Here’s a great cool video Imagine what a horse seems to look like while swimming in deeper water.

A horse can move rapidly on land, but in water, they are less nimble and speedy. In reality, their water speed is barely 2.5 miles per hour on average. Despite the fact that horses have powerful legs and a muscular body, swimming requires a lot of physical effort from them.

For horses doing rehabilitation or to stay in shape in training, it is recommended that horses only be in the water between 10 and 20 minutes. Every horse is unique, of course.

Fun fact: Because saltwater has more salt than freshwater, horses float higher when they are in it.

Riding A Horse in the Water

I’ve got fantastic news if you’ve ever imagined cantering a horse down a beach before plunging into the water for a swim while mounted. possible, as long as you have the skills and information necessary to remain secure.

Horse and rider swimming

Photo Cred: Canva

Can horses swim with a rider?

Because you are theoretically lighter in water and float a little bit yourself, horses can bear the weight of a rider.

That said, it can be extremely dangerous to ride a horse in deep water as the chance of you “falling off” and getting struck by a horse’s leg is very high. This kind of damage entails a significant danger of unconsciousness and drowning.

Before you and your horse go swimming, keep the following in mind:

  • Could you swim? If the response is negative, then DO NOT pass go, DO NOT collect $200, and DO NOT take your horse swimming! Too much is at stake.
  • Make sure the water is safe; stay away from deadly blue-green algae, since blooms may happen in both still and flowing water.
  • Verify if horses are permitted in the body of water; some locations have signs posted prohibiting horses from entering the water or need permission.
  • Take it slow—never force or frighten a horse into water. Make sure your horse enjoys himself.
  • Never swim alone!

Pony and kid swimming

Photo Cred: Canva

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do horses like to swim in water?

A few do! Many horses like splashing about in the water and pawing at it. Even other horses could like swimming for pleasure.

Q: Can horses hold their breath underwater?

In the water, horses can’t hold their breath, therefore they have to always They must keep their heads above water to avoid drowning.

Q: Can horses swim faster than humans?

No, a horse can only swim 2.5 miles per hour, whereas the quickest swimmer averages 5 miles per hour.

Q: Can horses swim with someone on their back?

Under good conditions, horses may be able to swim with someone on their back. Check out this breathtaking footage of Grand Cayman’s swimming horses.

Parting Thoughts

Swimming with your horse is a great way to bond and have a new riding experience, just make sure you follow safety protocols and have a friend with you. Happy Seas the Day, I mean Happy Trails!

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