Horse drowns in Black Canyon Lake while owner was teaching it to swim

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HEBER, Ariz. -- A horse drowned in Black Canyon Lake outside of Heber, Ariz., while its owner was teaching it how to swim.

The owner of the horse, Robert Baum, told Navajo County sheriff's deputies that he is an experienced rider and has taught many horses to swim.

Baum said he was teaching a horse to swim Sunday afternoon and it had made two successful crossings of the lake, according to a news release from the Navajo County Sheriff's Office.

While attempting a third crossing, Baum said the horse acted hesitant. Rather than forcing the horse to cross the lake, he turned the horse around and headed back to shore. During the return, the horse slipped under the water and drowned, according to the report.

Baum believes the reins may have broken and led to the drowning.

The next day, Baum contracted with a local dive team to recover the horse. The horse still had on all of its riding equipment and there was damage to the reins.

The reports will be forwarded to the Navajo County Attorney's Office for review.