6 Sep 2011

Swimming with the seahorses: Stunning photos show horses stretching their legs

It didn’t take long for these horses to get into the swim of things – after being taken into the sea for a spot of exercise.
The powerful 1,000lb racehorses quickly found their sea legs before taking a dip with their trainers in preparation for their next race.
The stunning images were captured off the coast of Malta by photographer Kurt Arrigo, who couldn’t believe his eyes when he first spotted the unusual sight.
The racehorses are taken into the water for half-hour heavy paddling sessions, as the exercise helps build up and tone the animals’ leg muscles.
The herd swims majestically in tandem with the trainers before earning a well-deserved rest.
Mr Arrigo said: ‘I’d seen them take these particular horses swimming before and it was such an extraordinary unusual sight I asked the owner if I could come back and take some photos.
‘I said I wanted to shoot underwater which they didn’t think it would be a problem – although at first the bubbles from the scuba gear frightened the horses a bit.
‘When they settled down they just swam above me allowing me to work at different angles using the seascape, fish and different light to get the best shots.
‘It was one of the most thrilling shoots I have ever done watching them gracefully move through the water.’
Mr Arrigo, from Malta, has travelled across the globe shooting underwater wildlife from schools of hammerhead sharks off the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean to documenting underwater activity on the Great Barrier Reef.
But he said at times photographing the horses swimming was even more dangerous.
He added: ‘I had to calculate my depth and make sure they I wouldn’t get hit by one of the hooves.
‘It’s quite amazing as you can really hear the horse work out – apparently it’s quite hard work for them so they only do this for around half an hour.
‘I’ve not seen anything like it before, and not all horses can swim as some just don’t get it.’

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