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Summer Fun! Swimming with Horses


So what do you think of the title of my blog? Does it make you instantly go into a panic? Or maybe gets you totally excited? Where does it take you? On the trails to the pond? To the beach? Back to summer camp? Or running for the indoor?!


Let’s all face it, the image of Alec galloping bareback on the Black on the edge of the ocean with his arms soaring like a bird will forever spark a flame in me to ride on the beach! If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie the Black Stallion, it’s a must!



Swimming with horses is one of the most exciting and enjoyable pleasures I have been fortunate enough to enjoy over the years. I have also had the opportunity to share that rare pleasure with many of my camp children as we conveniently had a pond right next to the stable. There is nothing better on a stifling hot day than skipping the ring work and getting in the water to cool down. It’s also very good exercise for both horse and rider.


If you decide to take the plunge and go swimming with your horse, I’ve got a few tips that I always find helpful to keep in mind. First, think about whether your horse actually will take part in your daydream of floating around the pond and becoming everyone’s personal diving board or thundering down the beach. I’ve personally only known very few horses that really were serious about not indulging in this fantasy and you usually know who they are right off the bat. It’s the horse that will not even indulge you with a puddle! Most others will be happy to jump right in or require the smallest bit of coaxing and then are pawing and splashing around in no time. Even if you or your horse aren’t brave enough to take the full plunge, it is still quite enjoyable to wade around closer to the shoreline. I love doing that during a long trail ride and the horses appreciate a nice drink and time to cool down.
If you’re thinking about taking the plunge, here a few other things I always keep in mind before I head for the water:

  • Be sure to contact your local Park and Recreations department to get a complete list of where and when you’re permitted to ride and swim with your horses.
  • ALWAYS have a buddy with you. The motion of a swimming horse is quite unusual and we all fall off (but that’s the fun part!) so you need to have someone on shore to catch your mount as they come out of the water. Luckily the resistance really slows them down, so they are pretty easy to grab to get back on and do it again!
  • Be careful not to get in front of your horse as they are swimming. It would be the equivalent of getting in front of a horse galloping on the ground and we would never do that!
    So what are you waiting for? Summer’s here! With a little thought and planning you and your best barn buddies will soon be cooling off equine style.

Have a great swim!

SmartPaker Stephanie


Posted in Stories & Adventures

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4 comments on “Summer Fun! Swimming with Horses
  1. Melody says:

    One of my favorite horse swimming memories is swimming with my friends and our horses in ‘our’ water hole of the Kern River and getting tail rides from my friends horse – he was great and very accommodating! LOVE the thrill of riding them while swimming! Makes me want to go back in time!

  2. Alex says:

    love it!!

  3. Ellen says:

    This sounds great except for the fact that some horses don’t swim. I’ve had several friends who gone swimming with their horses and the horses sunk like a rock and drown! None of the photographs in this article show a horse actually swimming. If you do this be very very careful be aware that some horses actually will not float and they’re also can be hidden rocks and boulders and down logs in waters that you haven’t investigated thoroughly.

  4. Kissandra Walker says:

    The 1st picture w/the little girl and a boat in the background: is she swimming just off the bank?? It looks like she is pretty deep in, but I am doubting it.
    Also, in order for horses to “swim” , should you only go where they can actually touch the bottom? I have also heard of horses drowning and I wouldn’t want to chance this just to be selfish and play in the water, but I want to do it as my horses love the water!

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