Going to a race with a horse, do not forget about safety!
In this article, I want to share tips that will allow you to enjoy a safe swim with your horse.
1. Learn about the features of the reservoir in which you plan to swim. This factor is perhaps the most important from the point of view of safety when swimming with a horse. If you do not know what awaits you, then draw to get injured and put the horse at risk. You should know about the features of the shore, bottom (whether there are holes under water, what the bottom is (silt, sand, rocky), about the properties of the current.
Keep in mind that soil can be deceiving. The mud along the water border at the river or lake may be too deep, and the horse may get scared and start to panic. In lakes and rivers under water, fallen trees, stones, hazardous household waste, parts of equipment, etc. can be found. Resist your own desire to explore dark unknown objects in the water.
2. Consider the nature of your horse and its relation to water.
If this is a horse’s first visit to the beach, let her get used to the place before pulling her into the water and asking for a swim. Even if your horse is in good physical shape, walking on water and swimming with a rider is a very energy-consuming job, so be careful how the horse behaves. If you are swimming at a depth, allow the horse to keep his head as comfortable as she is — there is no need to ask her to give way in the jaw or back of her head! If you go to the sea on a hot day, think in advance about how you will meet the horse’s water needs (she won’t be able to drink salt water).
3. Do not take chances! Always use caution. If you do not know how strong the current in the river is, if it seems to you that the river is deep or fast, it is better not to go there.
4. Do not swim alone! There may be situations in the water when you or your horse needs emergency assistance. Make sure the stable knows where you are heading and have an idea of the time you are supposed to return.
5. Check the ammunition! Do not enter the water if a horse is wearing a dowel, decoupling or martingale. If you start the horse in the hands, make sure that the halter or the armchair does not sag, and that the horse cannot enter into them with his foot and become entangled while in the water.
6. How to swim with a horse? Don’t go deep if you can’t swim. If you need to get down from a horse in depth, stay away from her hooves. If you jumped from a horse into the water, the safest place is at its side, do not swim to the horse in front.
7. Watch if the horse wants to sway or lie down in the water. This is one of the oldest tricks: when you ride astride a river and stop in shallow water, your horse begins to dig water and, before you understand what happened, falls abruptly and starts to swing with you in the saddle! To prevent this, do not let the horse dig in the water.
Anna O’Brien (source); translation by Valeria Smirnova.