Can Horse Swim? Read This Before Getting Them In The Water!

Here you may have some interesting wonderings: Firstly, are horses afraid of water? Secondly, can horses swim?

And the answer is somehow yes.


Horses are afraid of water

It is a common problem for all horses. There is a reason why horses have a fear of water. The horse’s eyes are placed on two sides of the horse’s head to help them able to see broad-scope surroundings. However, this also prevents the ability to perceive details, so they tend to have little depth perception.

So, naturally, they are afraid of water because they are unaware of what is beneath it. The unknown watery depths make them feel a little vulnerable and increase their panic state.

Many horse owners find it difficult to bathe their animals. The horse doesn’t want to cooperate, leading to the human becoming wetter than the horse. The horse bath time is definitely a torture session.

Can horses swim without any difficulties?

Yes. But how?

The first experience the horse has with the water is the most important one because it will shape the horse’s feelings and reactions to water the next time.

horses swim

For example, when your horse has badly experienced with water, he will be scared and feel difficult to swim in the future. Whereas, if you give him a great time swimming, it is easier for your horse to continue swimming.

The watery fear of horses can be solved gradually by introducing them slowly to the water. It is better to help them adjust to the water than throw them immediately into the river or sea.

If you see your slow introductions to the water with your horses don’t work, you can try other ways. A common method is playing with other horses in the water to persuade them that it is a safe and fun environment.

Also, as horses are sociable kinds of animals, the fear will disappear when they see their fellow creatures in the water.

Interestingly, some domestic horses who have been surrounded by water since they were born will feel truly comfortable with swimming.

Why do horses need to swim?

There are a variety of reasons why horses need to swim.

Firstly, horse swimming is good exercise for your horse.

While swimming, they have a chance to move their body, especially their legs intensively. This helps strengthens their core muscles. If you let your horse swim regularly, their fitness can be improved considerably.

Also, horse swimming is often used when the horses have a recent or old injury. It is a beneficial exercise to enhance muscle growth and heal serious injuries.

How do horses swim?

Well, the way a horse swims is quite similar to the way a larger dog does.

As horses are big and heavy, the majority of their body will be underwater at all times. Only their heads are above water. This looks like they are paddling with their legs.

Actually, a horse will kick his way forward in the water. It looks like he is running underwater when you watch him.

Your role must be very proactive in the first several times as your horse will be quite awkward before getting acquainted with what he is doing.

So, how far can a horse swim?

If horses are not fit, they cannot be able to swim far. The distance and length of time they swim will depend on whether there is a rider on their back or not. Normally, after 10 minutes in the water, the swimming should be done if you do not want them to overdo it.

Can horses swim in the ocean?

horse swim in ocean

Yes, they can. Swimming with your horse in the ocean can be amazing, but you have to think carefully before deciding to do. Here is something for you to consider.

  • How deep is the water? Is there any even angle or a drop?
  • How is the seafloor? Can it hurt your horse’s legs while swimming?
  • Do not swim if the waves are large enough to wash over your horse’s head.
  • If the current is strong, it is better to stay on land or only tip your horse’s feet. This is also a way to refresh.
  • Be sure you and your horse are not disturbing the surroundings.
  • Only swim if there are no rules that prohibit horses to swim at that beach.
  • Be sure to remove all equipment that restricts the movement of your horse’s head.

For safety, you should go with a friend or more, in case anything was to happen. If you want to convince your horse to go, it will be more effective when he can follow another horse.

And, can a horse swim with a rider?

horse swim with rider

Riding a swimming horse can be pretty dangerous.

Firstly, it is hard to predict your horse’s movements. He can do either unexpected movements or quick moves. This makes the rider easy to fall.

Secondly, if you were to fall off your swimming horse, you might get kicked from the feet. This is really dangerous and no one wants to be in.

Lastly, when swimming, only the horse’s head is above the water. This means that the rider will also largely be submerged in the water. If the journey is long, I’m afraid you may find it not easy and comfortable at all.

But if you really want to ride your swimming horse, there are some things to be noticed.

  • Be sure that your weight is not pushing your horse down in the water. He cannot swim well if he is getting heavier.
  • Try not to pull the rein. If you need to hold on to something, you can grab your horse’s mane for support.
  • Always pay attention to your horse. Get him out of the water while he still has good energy levels. You can reward him with some snacks and rest in shape after finishes.

Last but not least, horse swimming is a great activity that helps you closer to your horse. If you can make your horses overcome their fear of water,  it means that they trust you unconditionally. Or, we can say that the bond between your animal and you is wonderful.

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