Custom Swimming Pools For Horses: Three Distinct Needs
If you own a horse facility, you want to provide the best for your personal animals and your boarders' companions. To give the utmost to your horses, why not consider custom swimming pools, just for them? Here are three different types of pool that you could install, depending on your needs and the type of stable you own.
If you just want to provide a wonderful place for your horses to play and cool off, a slightly modified version of a regular pool will do the trick. Instead of stairs, you need a large graduated entry, since horses can go up stairs but have trouble going down them.
If your horses are comfortable going in deep water, you can extend the depth until it is over their heads. However, if they are more secure with their feet on the ground, design the deepest section to be about chest high. Also, rather than a traditional rectangular shape, consider making the pool square shaped, as this will make it easier for the horses to turn and reverse direction.
Therapy pools are becoming more popular, as equine aqua therapy is gaining ground as a treatment modality. This is a great option if your facility sees a lot of competitive, older, or rescue horses, especially off the track, where physical demands are high.
Since the goal of therapy pools is to rehabilitate injured horses and treat or prevent degenerative joint disease, the physical constraints of the equine patients should determine the design. Generally, this type of pool is long and thin, with a graduated entry. Water depth may be limited from knee high to chest high, as walking is usually the movement of choice, with swimming (more strenuous) being reserved for training (see below).
Safety for equine therapy pools should be of primary concern, and rubber matting, such as that used in commercial kitchens or boat decks, can be installed to prevent slipping. Side rails should be installed to thwart escaping, and a walkway should parallel the length of the pool for a trainer or vet to walk alongside the horse.
For athletically competitive horses, swimming is a fine training adjunct, building stamina and strength. Training pools for horses are usually circular or oval, with an island in the center, as well as a perimeter walkway for training personnel or veterinary staff. Like the other two types of equine pools, the entry should be graduated, but the water can progress much more quickly to swimming depth.
Finally, to keep your equine pool's filter from working overtime, make sure horses are groomed and their feet picked before allowing them in the pool, and minimize the amount of topical products on their coats (like fly spray or show sheen) that could come off in the water. Also, consider how you plan to purify the pool's water; while conventional chemicals can be used, cool salt water is more natural and offers an additional therapeutic bonus.