The hydrotherapy pool is one of the deepest of its kind in the north of England. It has a wide and gradual de-cline with non-slip slope to entice even the most reluctant horses into the crystal clear water which is maintained at room temperature.
"It's very important that horses swim in clean water and that they have an adequate depth of water beneath them," says
Jane Dewhurst. The 12-feet deep pool provides 10-feet of water for swimming which gives even the largest horses plenty of room to swim freely without coming into contact with the bottom of the pool.
Allowing horses to swim is
a proven aid to improving
a horse or pony's fitness.
"A horse or pony will always
benefit from swimming.
Although many owners only
consider swimming their
horses as part of a
programme, swimming is
beneficial to all horses
- even those that are 100% fit.
They actually love to swim, more owners are regularly swimming their horses as part of routine care and management," says Jane Dewhurst. One circuit of the pool is considered to provide the equivalent amount of exercise that would be achieved by cantering a horse over two furlongs. The hydrotherapy pool is being used by many owners- not just those who recognise how much pleasure their horses get from simply "taking a dip".
Owners and riders involved in serious equestrian sports including endurance riding, show jumping and horse trials are acknowledging the benefits of swimming as a means of building up stamina and an improving fitness.
Higher Spen Equestrian Services can formulate specific treatment programmes for race-horse breeders and trainers based on the full-range of health and fitness treatments on offer.
The programme can be used as part of pre-sale preparation or incorporated into pre-race fitness training. More showing owners incorporate swimming into their preparation. This benefits and improves general fitness, flexibility, muscle tone and circulation it is the safest exercise for horses recovering from bruised soles or other hoof-related injuries. Says Jane Dewhurst: "In-hand show horses can gain a lot from hydrotherapy; it greatly improves their top line, and tightens them underneath when used alongside conventional flatwork. It adds the muscle tone that gives a show horse or pony a real edge." Where swimming is recommended as part of injury rehabilitation, Higher Spen Equestrian Services liase closely with vets to follow a precise health recovery programme.