Can Horses Swim?
Updated: May 5
Horses can do a lot of things. They can walk, they can run, they can race, they can play—many of them can even solve puzzles! Horses are very smart and capable creatures in many ways, but we find a lot of people who come to the stables are very surprised to learn that horses can swim!
Horses are actually quite good swimmers. Just like dogs, some horses like the water more than others do, but they are all natural swimmers and can cross bodies of water if necessary. Below, we will learn a bit about why horses are such good swimmers and why you can often find horses splashing about in the heat of the summer.
Why Horses are Good Swimmers
For horses, swimming is an instinctual process. Because herds of wild horses will roam over major swaths of land, it is sometimes necessary for them to swim to get to better food sources and to escape dangers.
As long as the horse is able to keep moving forward, its body will stay afloat and it will instinctively raise its head out of the water for access to oxygen. Under the surface, horses’ legs move in a similar fashion to dogs’ to keep them moving.
Why Some Horses Do Not Like Swimming
Just like dogs and other mammals, some horses will love to swim, while others will be far more hesitant. Horses have quite poor depth perception, so wading into unfamiliar waters can be a frightening experience.
However, there are some horses that love swimming and will gladly romp, play and splash to cool off in the heat—so it is really down to their personal preference!
Are There Benefits to Swimming for Horses?
Horse training has come a long way in recent years, and experts are learning that swimming can be quite a beneficial part of a horse’s training regimen! Just as it is for humans, swimming is a great, low-impact aerobic activity that can help their cardiovascular capabilities without straining the joints.
Additionally, if horses have leg or tendon injuries, swimming can be a great tool in a horse’s rehabilitation journey.
If you are interested in seeing horses in action, schedule a horseback ride at Sombrero Stables to discover why Forbes calls us "One of America's 5 Greatest Places to Ride Horses in America!" ! We offer trail rides all season long.
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