They splash, dive and play like little kids in the water.
Horses enjoy the refreshment, especially in the hot periods of the summer.
Riders offer them this great fun and ride to lakes or rivers.
Undoubtedly riders have a lot of fun with their horses in the refreshing water. But nevertheless: water always offers danger and riders must not forget the risks. Easily there may be problems: a horse is not used to water and has a panic attack or a rider enters an area of too deep water. That is why we offer you some tips for your perfect summer:
Even if horses are not as sensitive as humans riders must be careful while showering his or her horse after a long and straining ride. Like humans horses can have circulatory problems. That is why it is important that riders do not forget a “cool down” after riding the horse: this means that the horse walks the last ten minutes before it gets its refreshing shower. After a long and exhausting ride the horse needs some time to regulate its breathing. If the horse has a regular and normal breath the rider may approach with a water hose.
The rider starts with the hind legs. Then he slowly moves towards the front side of the horse. At first he showers the horse on the right, then on the left side. It is important to work in this order because the heart of the horse is on its left side. At first the rider only showers the hooves and then slowly goes up towards the breast, neck and back of the horse. You can observe if your horse enjoys the shower: if he does not push his back away from the cold water he obviously relaxes.
Tip: some horses like to drink from the water hose. Just put the hose carefully in front of the horses’ snout and see if the horse approaches to the water. Do not try this out if you know that your horse easily becomes a panic attack.
Even if this does not deal with water: when it is hot horses enjoy a sand bath as much a cold shower! Especially after a shower horses enjoy this sand bath. Naturally afterwards they are quite dirty but the dust repels the nasty flies and keeps the horses´ body cool.
Additionally obviously a sand bath makes them feel comfortable because the sand has the same function as a peeling.
Enjoy the river
If you have a river near your stable your horse will be really thankful if you visit it in summer times. You can ride into it so that the legs of your horse become cooled down. In addition to this the dried out hooves become watered.
If it is the first time that your horse enters into water the rider must take some time and be very patient. If a horse once had a bad experience with water it may be hard work to get this panic out of him again. Often it may help if you enter the river together with other horses: if another member of his herd enters the dangerous water your horse may easily follow him. In general it is really helpful if your horse is used to water: imagine that you are on a great horseback riding with other riders and your groups needs to cross a flat stream – it may be a big problem if your horse gets a panic attack or resists not to cross the stream.
In normal cases and if the rider is calm and patient every horse enters into water. Due to this it will not help if you force your horse to go in there. The rider can easily show his horse what he wants him to do: just put on some rubber boots and go into the water. You can guide your horse with a long rope but always stay calm and patient. Sometimes it may also help if you turn the head of the horse into another direction so that he cannot see that he enters the water. In some cases horses forget the danger of the water and just walk through it.
If the rider does not want to enter into the water on his own he can use a lunge. The rider stays next to the river and the horse has enough space to walk into the water. This will only work out if the horse accepts the lunge and if he reacts to the riders’ voice. If he does not the horse will get tangled up in the lunge or he will pull his rider into the water.
In any case the rider has to be careful: some horses really love water and suddenly they totally lay in it. If your horse does so even if the rider is still sitting on the horses back the rider must quickly jump off the horse – it can be really dangerous if he lies underneath the horse. Nevertheless usually riders may notice if horses plan to “take a bath” because before they do so they normally increase their splashing.
Swimming with a horse
Many riders have a dream: swimming with his or her own horse. But like every dream you have to work for it because some conditions have to be fulfilled if you want to go swimming with your horse but without any injuries. The rider needs to practice that he easily stays on the horses back even without a saddle. Additionally the rider and the horse totally need to trust each other- and this may take some time. Generally the rider must inspect the lake before he plans a swim with his horse. It may become a dangerous situation if the ground of the lake suddenly becomes deep or if the tummy of the horse touches a hard stone. A flat area with a hard ground is a good starting point for entering into the water. In opposite to this horses often get a panic attack if the ground is muddy and slobbery. If the rider has inspected the conditions of the water and the ground he only needs to put on his swimsuit and the swimming can start.
A lot of horses love to swim: some enjoy splashing, some like to roll their body in a flat area of the lake and other horses even go diving. In any case the rider who is sitting on the back of the horse needs to be careful. Generally it is the best way if the rider does not try to influence the behavior of the horse – normally the horse knows on his own what will be the best for him. The rider should only watch out that the horse does not dive his head into the water: if a horse gets water in its ears it can lose its sense of balance. This can be really dangerous – just imagine that the horse is in the middle of the lake!
The rider must know that horses cannot take any care of his or her rider on his back. The only thing they can do is that they wildly kick with their legs and try not to drown. If the rider slips off the horses back he must quickly swim away from the horse: the legs may easily hit the body of the rider and this can cause dangerous injuries.
In general the rider always needs to think about the risks and dangers if he enters into the water with his horse. Additionally the rider needs patience and trust – and then the great refreshment can just begin. If there is no lake or river near the stable riders can plan a holiday with his or her horse. The rider and the horse can visit another stable with a lake or river just on its site. The rider can inform himself: in some areas it is even possible to enter into the ocean!
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—All statements without guarantee—