Too often it is said ‘I don’t have one that needs the water walker’ or ‘they (water walkers) are only good for sore or injured horses’.
Opinions vary we say.
We don’t dispute the premise that water walkers are an effective rehabilitation tool for injured horses, in fact we endorse it. Furthermore we strongly hold the view that it is not their primary function and would propose that fit and healthy horses get as much, if not more, benefit from using a water walker.
In simple terms a Water Walker is a form of weight training for horses. The resistance effect of walking in a large volume of water (100,000L +) is very similar to the resistance effect of a human lifting weights, building strength and power across the body. For horses, an equine water walker has the added benefit of cardiovascular exercise and the well documented benefits of hydrothearpy all at the same time.
Our water walker at Aquagait features four resistance pumps which allows us to provide increased resistance in a controlled manner whilst the horse exercises. With a variable speed of up to 7kph, at a high speed setting, horses easily get their heart rate in excess of 160bpm providing both high intensity strength conditioning and a very solid cardiovascular workout.
On any given day we have between 30 and 70 horses exercising on our water walker. A broad mix of thoroughbred, standardbred and sport horses. Only about 10% use it for injury rehabilitation. The rest are either in pre-training, having a freshen up or using it as part of a varied training regime.
Some of the best results we have achieved are with horses who need mental stimulation during a racing preparation without losing physcial condition.
So, if you have a horse that appreciates variety in its training regime or may need a quiet environment to commence its training preparation or that is 5 runs into a racing prep and needs something different, give a water walker a try!
Aquagait Equine Centre is proud to offer a variety of services to horses of all disciplines or breeds. We have extensive experience with thoroughbreds, standardbreds and sport performance horses. Our staff have over 100 years of experience and we live by the phrase ‘we care for horses’.