Rocky the Horse that Loves to Swim


My natural horsemanship journey with Rocky has truly become a journey of discovery. Our journey began with safety as my only goal because Rocky could be very dangerous around humans. Now that the safety issues are far behind us, Rocky and I can truly take time to enjoy our journey. I have been observing Rocky in the pasture with the other horses looking for ideas about some fun activities and games that we can enjoy together.

Over the last eight years, I have learned so much about Rocky while I was learning natural horsemanship. Yet, after all of this time, I am still amazed at the new things that I am discovering about Rocky. This summer, I discovered that Rocky loves to swim.

I had never seen Rocky swimming until this summer. Rocky has been to the lake many times and never attempted to get into the water and swim. We have participated in training camps where there were rivers and ponds, but Rocky has never shown any interest in walking in deep water or swimming.

The pond on our small North Texas ranch has stayed nearly dry with the extreme drought for the six years that we have lived here. Our family decided it was worth the investment in another pump to keep some water in the pond during the extended drought. After months of pumping, the pond was actually full of water to the delight of all of the ranch animals.

This summer, I have watched in amazement as Rocky walks down the pond bank into the water and slowly swims across the pond. When he climbs up the pond bank out of the water, he reaches his head high into the air and vigorously shakes his mane before calmly walking into the pasture. If I am outside, he often tips his head to look at me while he shakes his mane. I am probably anthropomorphizing his actions because it seems to be an invitation for me to join him.

I didn’t even know Rocky knew how to swim. Of course, I have seen horses swimming on TV and know that horses swim in the wild; but, I have been with Rocky for most of his life now and never seen him swim. Rocky’s new swimming activity made me realize that Rocky and I now have what it takes to embark as partners on a journey of discovery. I am going to make swimming with Rocky as one of our fun activity goals.

Does anyone have any advice about how I learn to swim with Rocky?

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