Water horses enjoy morning swim at Turf Paradise

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by Catherine Holland

Video reports by Bruce Haffner, Fort McDowell Casino News Chopper

Posted on April 21, 2014 at 12:11 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 21 at 12:13 PM

PHOENIX -- Human runners are not the only racing athletes that need morning workouts.

During his Monday morning cruise in the Fort McDowell Casino News Chopper, Bruce Haffner saw a couple of horses taking part in an early morning swim.

"When we fly the Fort McDowell Casino News Chopper all over the Valley and look down, there are so many cool things we see," Haffner said. "This is what we found this morning from high above."

Trainers were walking two horses around the pool at Turf Paradise, which is located at 15th Avenue and Bell.

Swimming offers a great low-impact aerobic workout for humans and horses alike.

Not only does a dip in the pool break the monotony of daily track workouts, the nature of swimming also makes it great therapy for injured horses by allowing them to stretch and strengthen their muscles while alleviating impact to their legs.

Many trainers are firm believers in swimming as part of a racehorse's training regimen.

"Swimming for just 10 minutes in the pool is a vigorous workout," Amy Hollar, the local representative for the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association, told D'Arcy Egan of The Plain Dealer for a May 2012 article. "It does a very good job of increasing a horse's lung power, and helping to build a winner."

Turf Paradise owner Jerry Simms built the equine swimming pool in 2003 as part of his comprehensive renovation plan for the facility. The exercise pool is 30 feet by 60 feet and 12 feet deep.

According to the track's website, 2,200 horses are stabled at Turf Paradise during the racing season, which runs October-May.

Turf Paradise opened in January 1956.

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