A Thoroughbred gelding has his fitness and the love of a groom to thank for saving his life. In Lady Bay, a scenic spot in Victoria, Australia, a group of racehorses were taken to the beach to swim behind a boat for two-three minutes of fitness training, but when one of the horses appeared to trip, his rider was plunged into the water and the horse continued on without him. With the barn crew on land watching, the horse did the unthinkable; instead of turning towards the beach, the spirited gelding continued out to the open sea.

Jordyn Billings (now Murphy) enjoying the water with another equine pal. (Jordyn Murphy Facebook photo)

According to Racing.com,  that’s when one of the stable employees, Jordyn Billings, jumped into action by commandeering a fishing boat and setting sail after the horse. “We jumped in a boat with a fisherman named Barry, he was a lovely bloke that was just putting his boat in to go fishing. The horse had reached the end of the breakwater by that point, probably 250m offshore and by the time we got out to him, he was another 50m or 60m past the breakwater where the waves were,” Billings tells the website. “It was a big enough swell for the boat to rock and the motor was upsetting the horse a little bit, so we had to do a couple of circles around him.”

Billings added that eventually they were able to steer close enough for her to fix a lead shank onto the horse, and then things got interesting. “I ended up taking a few layers off and jumping in with him,” she recounts. “I didn’t really think much of it, I was just thinking that if he was going to make it, we needed to get him back to shore as quick as possible.”

So the young woman and new mom sat in the saddle until they reached calmer waters and then she dismounted and swam back with the horse. “The whole time when I was swimming back in with him, I just made sure that he was breathing calmly and to his credit, he didn’t seem too stressed at all.”

All told, the horse was in the water close to 20 minutes. The horse’s trainer, Symon Wilde, admitted he wasn’t sure that the horse would have survived the ordeal had Billings not intervened. “The horse probably would have kept going and drowned,” he said. Fortunately for the horse, there was a quick-thinking human nearby ready to literally jump in and save him.

This is not the first time a Thoroughbred made the headlines Down Under; in 2016, a racehorse named Rebel Rover survived a two-kilometre swim out to sea after being spooked during a training session at a beach near Brisbane.

Here is a video about the popularity and benefits of training in the salt water at Lady Bay:

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