Leading horses to water: The Canterbury swimming pool

  • Article by: KELLY PARSONS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 25, 2013 - 9:26 PM

The swimming pool looks just like any other put to use on a hot summer day. Put a 1,000-pound horse in it, however, and Don Bridge’s job is a bit different from the average pool supervisor.

At first glance, the 12-foot-deep swimming pool at Canterbury Park looks just like any other put to use on a hot summer day. Put a 1,000-pound horse in it, however, and Don Bridge’s job is a bit different from the average pool supervisor.

Canterbury Park has one of two on-site horse swimming pools in the nation, said Bridge, who has operated it for four years.

Bridge, 60, began galloping horses as soon as he could get a license at 16, and in 1969, he began working at a horse swimming pool in Colorado, one of the first he’d ever heard of. Swimming horses helps the animal take pressure off joints and tendons while still keeping their heart rates up.

Most horses, Bridge said, enjoy the cool break from the monotony of the track

“It’s a natural instinct for a horse to swim, but not all of them are good swimmers,” he said. “They’re like humans — good ones, and bad ones.”

Bridge went to school to become a certified pool operator in the state of Minnesota, and takes pride in his ability to keep the pool’s cleanliness up to human quality. Each horse is hosed down before it enters the pool, and Bridge’s wife and daughter help him lead the horses around the pool on ropes as they swim laps.

Earlier this summer while swimming a young horse for the first time, Bridge got his hand caught in the rambunctious animal’s rope, and it broke his finger.

“That’s the hazards of the game,” Bridge said. “It looks like an easy job, but it’s not really an easy job.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Toronto - LP: A. Loup 4 FINAL
Cleveland - WP: J. Outman 6
LA Angels - LP: H. Santiago 1 FINAL
Detroit - WP: R. Porcello 2
Atlanta - LP: G. Schlosser 3 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: J. Valverde 4
Seattle - LP: T. Wilhelmsen 2 FINAL
Miami - WP: M. Dunn 3
St. Louis - LP: S. Maness 2 FINAL
Washington - WP: R. Soriano 3
Milwaukee - WP: Z. Duke 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: J. Gomez 2
NY Yankees - WP: P. Claiborne 5 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: H. Bell 1
Minnesota - WP: P. Hughes 8 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: Y. Ventura 3
Cincinnati - WP: H. Bailey 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: C. Villanueva 2
Chicago WSox - WP: E. Johnson 16 FINAL
Texas - LP: R. Ross Jr. 2
Houston - LP: B. Peacock 1 FINAL
Oakland - WP: J. Chavez 4
Philadelphia - WP: J. Diekman 10 FINAL
Colorado - LP: M. Belisle 9
San Francisco - WP: T. Lincecum 4 FINAL
San Diego - LP: R. Erlin 3
Arizona - LP: J. Collmenter 1 FINAL
Los Angeles - WP: J. Wright 4
Baltimore - LP: B. Matusz 5 FINAL
Boston - WP: E. Mujica 6
Dallas 85 FINAL
San Antonio 90
Charlotte 88 FINAL
Miami 99
Washington 102 FINAL
Chicago 93
Portland 122 FINAL
Houston 120
Philadelphia 4 FINAL
NY Rangers 2
Detroit 1 FINAL
Boston 4
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Montreal 3
Los Angeles 2 FINAL
San Jose 7

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which quarterback is best in the NFL draft?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close