Beating The Heat And The Injuries

Published: July 22, 2011 03:49 pm EDT

With the mercury having skyrocketed over the past week, there have been many news stories about racing cancellations and horses doing whatever they can to cool off. Horseperson Ann Charlotte Kelly has been busy taking dips in PEI's Charlottetown Harbour, but they have nothing to do with the current heat wave


A video report by the CBC explains that Kelly has been swimming standardbreds since 1988.

"It's really good for their feet and their legs," she said. "If you watch a horse go in (the water) and he's got swelling in and around his front legs, or anywhere in his tendons, when they come out, there is no swelling."

The report explains that Kelly learned the technique from her grandfather, who preached the positive effects of taking equine for a swim.

"The horses that I have witnessed that have gone swimming really seem to enjoy it --- a lot of them will even dive into the water. They just love it," said Dr. Kathleen MacMillan, of the Atlantic Veterinary College. "We all like to go swimming, so why wouldn't they?"

"They're in my head and I'm in theirs," Kelly said. "I don't have to ask them; I don't have to speak. All I do is think, and they 'do.'"

And although Kelly has to ready the horses and cross a thoroughfare before treading water in the harbour with her vastly larger swimming partners, she only charges the horses' owners $10 a pop.

Kelly says that the swimming has as much a positive effect on her as it does the battle-tested steeds.

"It's very therapeutic. Saltwater is very therapeutic, and I think it is therapeutic for me, too."

(With files from CBC)

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