Darcy has been having swimming lessons for a couple of years and is a strong swimmer, but she knows how scared Dave is of the water.
One weekend, she asks her parents if they can take Dave to the local swimming pool and help him learn how to swim. She knows how brave he can be, but is worried in case he ever falls into water and doesn’t know what to do.
The next weekend, the family pack up the car to go swimming.
There are three different pools at the centre – one for really good swimmers who enter swimming competitions, one for people who are good but need a bit of help from an instructor, and one for complete beginners like Dave.
Dave comes out of the changing room and hangs up his towel on the hook. He’s really nervous.
“Come on Dave,” says Darcy. “We’ll go slow so you can get used to the water.”
“I’m scared,” replies Dave. “What if I fall in the pool? I don’t know how to swim!”
“It’s OK,” says Darcy. “It’s really shallow here, so the water will only go up to your knees.”
Dave hovers his leg over the water, shaking with nerves. He slowly dips his hoof into the pool.
“That’s great Dave! Just three more hooves to go,” Darcy tries to encourage him.
Dave finally builds up the courage to put all four hooves in the water and realises it’s not so scary after all. He likes the way the water swishes around him as he walks around the little pool.
“Way to go, Dave!” Darcy’s parents cheer. “You’ll be diving off the boards in no time!”
“I think I’d like to get used to swimming first,” laughs Dave.
The family enjoy an afternoon of swimming and playing games in the pool. Dave is brave enough to get his belly wet, but he wants to wait until next time to go completely under water.
At the end of their session, they get out of the pool and wrap themselves up in their towels.
“Thank you for helping me to learn how to swim, Darcy,” says Dave. “I feel much more confident in the water now, but I’m still not going riding in the rain!”
Darcy laughs. “OK Dave, it’s a deal!”
Did you know that horses can swim for between five and ten minutes at a time? Swimming is often used to help horses recover from a leg or hoof injury, as they don’t need to put all of their weight on their legs.
Horses can also be scared of puddles, like Dave is! There is a country lane that we ride down that has puddles alternating on each side. If I let Dave’s reins go loose, he will weave his way around the puddles so he doesn’t have to walk in them!
It seems a bit silly to us, but horses don’t know how deep puddles are because they can’t see the bottom. For all they know, it could be ten metres deep and have a scary monster lurking in it! The best thing to do is let a horse investigate a puddle in their own time and encourage them to take one step at a time, to show them that puddles aren’t scary after all.
If you liked this story, you’ll love the Dave and Darcy series, which you can purchase here.
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