How could swimming help my horse?

  • H&H blogger Simon Grieve heads to Moulton College in Northamptonshire to give his Burghley ride Cornacrew (Bozzie) his final swim ahead of this week’s four-star (3-6 September 2015).

    What is the appeal of taking your horse swimming?

    “We first brought Bozzie swimming here a few years ago. He was doing some fitness work for a three-day-event and we wanted to vary his work a little bit. He really enjoyed it and I do it a lot as part of his routine in the run up to a three-day now,” says Simon.

    “I find that it works him very well from a cardiovascular point of view — it gets his heart rate up and he really enjoys it, which is ideal.

    “Because he’s an older horse as well, it’s good for his joints not having to be pounding along on the gallops all the time. Obviously it doesn’t replace cantering, but it’s really beneficial for him.”

    Continued below…

    “Swimming isn’t for every horse,” says Moulton College’s equine centre manager Pippa Hatten. “They have to enjoy the actual technique of swimming and they have to want to go through the water in order for it to be of real benefit.

    “The programme is designed to give strength for endurance and stamina. Because of the nature of the horse being buoyant, you’re taking out that concussive force which roadwork and galloping will always bring to the table,” adds Pippa.

    “When there’s hard ground, people are always looking for other ways to get their horses fit. It’s been done for years and years in racing and now it’s getting more and more popular with the eventers.”

    Simon adds: “Bozzie is going to Burghley so this is his last swim. He’s doing 80 lengths, which is a fair amount. We want to get him to the peak of his fitness.”

    Follow the ups and downs of Burghley for Simon and Bozzie in his daily blogs throughout the event, and stay up to date with all the action via H&H Live and our daily online reports. The magazine’s 17-page special report will be on sale on 10 September.

    To find out more about the equine therapy centre at Moulton College visit: www.moulton.ac.uk/business/enterprise-at-moulton/equine-therapy

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