The Benefits of Equine Swimming

Being an Ascot based business, there is always an excitement in the air when Royal Ascot comes to town. This year is no different with the likes of Animal Kingdom gracing the famous Berkshire racetrack.

One particular aspect of horse racing / training that we, here at Ascot Pools, find particularly interesting is the use of Equine swimming pools. Horse Trainers look to Hydrotherapy to help an injured horse rehabilitate or to freshen up the training regime.

Traditionally when a horse gets injured, it is consigned to box rest for it’s recovery. In the same vein as humans use hydrotherapy, time in the pool allows the horse to continue to be active, keeping up its stamina, whilst also ensuring that the injury is not aggravated. The water provides buoyancy which relieves pressures on joints, bones and ligaments.

It is also worth noting that horses enjoy spending time in the pool, and provided they are guided at the start to familiarise a technique, they tend to welcome the change from the regularly training regime.

Top racing trainers such as JonJo ONeill have Equine Pools within their training compounds and whilst we haven’t built one before, we would certainly relish the challenge of constructed one for a client.

Outdoor Swimming Pools – Top Considerations

Can you imagine getting home from work in the middle of the summer and having a nice outdoor pool waiting to greet you? You could get changed and have a refreshing swim before enjoying an evening barbecue. What more could you ask for?

Of course before you can do this you need to invest in a pool in the first place. To this end there are plenty of considerations to bear in mind, so here we help you get the answers you’ll need.

Design, size and shape

It all starts with designing your pool area. Consider the size of your garden too – you may not be able to accommodate a huge pool.

Don’t get caught up thinking about a rectangular pool either – a curvy one might suit your garden better and may be easier to accommodate.

Location

The pool may look lovely in one area but completely out of place in another. Sketch out the available space you have and consider whether the shape and size of pool you want would look better in one place than another. You don’t want it too close to the rear of your home, but you won’t want it too far away either.

Remember you’ll very likely want other facilities, and decorations around your pool, so allow space for these. For instance you should consider room for plant pots, garden furniture , or sun loungers or even a BBQ area.

This creates a social area focused around your pool where friends and family can unwind or sunbathe while not swimming, and a place to sit and relax when the evening draws in.

Safety

Safety is extremely important when it comes to an outdoor pool. It may seem as if you’re going too far, but it is always ideal to have a lifesaver ring close to the edge of the pool in case it should ever be required.

It is also vital to keep a regular eye on the condition of your pool. Something small such as a cracked tile may not seem like a big deal, but in reality a nasty cut or injury can result from it. Monitor the condition of your pool on a regular basis and get someone in to perform any repairs as soon as you identify they need doing.

Make sure the area around your pool is kept clean and tidy too. Even though you may not use your pool during the autumn, you may still have the need to walk around it. Slippery leaves could result in an accident.

Cleanliness and hygiene

Make sure you have room to store a pool cover at one end that can be rolled over the top of the pool during the colder months of the year. This will keep your pool cleaner because it will prevent any leaves or other items falling into the water. Ensure the pump is kept in good condition and use the required chemicals at the right intervals to keep the water clean and hygienic too.

Once you know how to create and maintain the pool you want, you’ll be able to enjoy it on a regular basis.

image via flickr

Guest post: shrubbery and flower choices around your swimming pool

Ascot Pools are happy to present a guest post from Allysun Tilsley, an experienced home and garden writer for Beverley Outdoor Furniture.

Having a swimming pool in your garden seems a fantasy to many, but if you are lucky enough to have one, or are planning on having one installed then you need to ensure you make the most of it. Along with maintaining the upkeep of your swimming pool, there are some other things you can do to make it the best feature you possibly can. Here are some great ideas for shrubbery and flower choices around your swimming pool.

Shrubs are an essential component within any garden. Whether they’re evergreen or deciduous -they provide an ever changing framework and backdrop against which everything else is seen.

Evergreen shrubs provide colour and foliage all year round. Here are a few of my favourites to compliment a pool.

  • Mahonia – a gorgeous shrub that flowers well from November to February
  • Cotoneaster
  • Viburnum
  • Photinia Red Robin – all of these tree shrubs are perfect for spring flowering, especially around April and May.

Mahonia

These four shrubs will give you a great contrast in colour. You will also have shrubs flowering to perfection at different times of the year. This gives the perfect all-year round look to your garden and swimming pool.

If we think about any gorgeous looking garden, the flowers that are within it set the basis for its perfect summery, and homely, feel. If you are looking to add value to your home, a swimming pool may be a good improvement to make to your home and garden. Along with this, the look and upkeep of your garden increases the likeliness of selling your home. Keep in mind that swimming pool maintenance will keep your pool looking its best, all year round, whether you intend to sell your home or to create your personal haven.

The installation of plants around your pool softens the look; adds privacy and creates a soothing retreat or hideout. It is important when buying or adding plants around the pool that you try to select hardy plants. The environment around the pool can be very damaging to some plants. This is due to the fact that the water reflects off the hot sun and the chemicals or salt in the pool water can have a detrimental effect on them.

It is important to select plants that can not only tolerate the sun, but do not have roots that may also damage the pool, and will have a limited amount of debris. This reduces the chances of your water being contaminated. Although you want the surrounding area of your pool to look the part, you do not want to put your pools upkeep at risk either.

3 of the best hardy plants for around the pool

Evergreen Vines –  a highly popular plant for swimming pool owners. One of its best points is that it will stay green all year long. It will also allow you to add privacy to your pool if you train them on trellises. English ivy is a hardy and attractive vine. Although plants such as Jasmine and Honeysuckle are beautiful and fragrant, they do attract bees, which will be a problem for people enjoying the pool in the summer months. If you were thinking about using Trumpet Vines, again they are beautiful and do attract butterflies, but it is important to mention that they cannot survive in growing areas with freezing temperatures.

Zinnias

Zinnias – if you need to add some colour around the pool, zinnias may be the perfect option. These vibrant coloured flowers come in a wide range of sizes and colours. They can withstand hot sun and poor soil. Two more advantages of zinnias’ are that they grow easily from seed and do not drop their leaves or flowers. You will have to remove spent blooms in order to encourage reblooming, but it also means you have the advantage of not having a continuous ‘tidy up job’ on your hands.

Crotons – crotons are a tropical foliage plant. Their colourful leaves display beautifully all year round. They also produce no mess or fruit in any season. The croton is one of the best flowers for contemplating hot temperatures; however, many varieties are frost sensitive and you may want to keep these flowers in containers to allow this plant to be moved indoors during the winter months.

Top Tip – When thinking of the shrubbery and flower choices around your swimming pool it is important to think about purchasing plants that will not just blossom in the summer months. Even if your pool will not be in use much during the winter, you still want it to look the part for when you have any guests round. Therefore, try to pick not only good looking plants but ones that can survive the dreaded English winter weather.

 

This great ‘shrubbery and flower choices around your swimming pool’ feature was provided by our friend Allysun Tilsley who writes for Beverley Outdoor Furniture.

Choosing the right swimming pool cover for winter

With winter covering the landscape and threatening to stay, your pool is most likely out of action and in need of as much wrapping up as yourself.

The right pool cover can ensure your pool remains in good condition ready for next year. It can even be ready and waiting for you should you fancy a winter dip (not recommended to those without a heating system).

Here is a breakdown of the benefits of the many different covers available to you.

Winter Debris Pool Covers

A common feature of this cover is UV stabilised polypropylene, which gives it high weathering resistance. Its high shading ability will significantly reduce the build up of algae. A stainless steel spring system will hold it taught to reduce sag in the centre. This will allow debris to simply blow over without dropping into your pool.

Manual Slatted Pool Cover and Roller 

If you feel up to it, you can use this device to roll the cover on and off the pool manually. It is simple and effective. Other benefits:

  • No Electrical Wiring required.
  • Rapid, simple installation.
  • Effortless roll on and off because of a reduction gearbox.

Solar swimming pool covers

These covers are designed to dramatically reduce your water and energy usage. This makes you significant savings during this off-season. Solar swimming pool covers are made from superior grade 400 and 500-micron polyethylene, which includes a UV inhibitor.

  • Enjoy a winter dip by increasing your pool temperature by up to 8°C through the materials unique properties.
  • Greatly reduce your water charges by eliminating water evaporation by up to 98%.
  • Reduce energy consumption by over 50%

Motorised swimming pool cover

These are tremendous labour saving devices, which allow easier access, and care for your pool all year round.

  • Automatic covers allow you to operate it with one hand and no strain.
  • Save money on water and energy by cutting down on evaporation.
  • A slatted pool cover offers an aesthetically pleasing design when safety is less of an issue. They offer excellent heat retaining properties.
  • A safety pool cover is advised for people with young children. It is made of reinforced PVC, which is securely attached to guiding channels along the poolside.

Take the hard labour out of installing an automatic swimming pool cover with Ascot pools. Ascot Pools has a range of covers to get you through the winter.

Using Your Swimming Pool Through Winter

Now that the days are getting shorter and the nights colder, its usually a sign that its time to put the covers on the pool until next spring… but this isn’t your only option.

Increasingly we are seeing customers expressing a desire to not simply leave their pool covered during the winter months, and to either leave their pools exposed during the winter months or to even get use out of it during the colder seasons.

Here’s a list of the options available to you through the winter months

1) Winterise the pool and put the cover on

For many the choice during winter is to cover the pool. It helps to keep cleaning costs down and also ensures that safety of small animals and children. When doing this make sure that the correct chemicals are placed in the water and the filter is removed, and you will have to lower the water level before rolling over the pool cover. Don’t forget that you will need to still run the pump from time to time despite the pool being out of action. For more advice, read our blog post on winterising your swimming pool.

2) Leave it uncovered

There is no denying that an uncovered pool looks beautiful during those cold winter nights, when the moonlight reflects off of the surface. Leaving your pool uncovered is a bold step but means that you will save on costs for a cover. Just be sure that no pets, small animals or children are at risk due to it being left uncovered. It’s important to remove some of the water and the filter, just bear in mind that it will cost you a bit more with the pump. You will also find yourself having to clean the pool extensively before using the pool come Spring, compared to the other 2 options.

3) Install an enclosure

Getting a swimming pool enclosure can sound daunting. After all, there will be a cost for the enclosure and you have to give serious consideration as to whether the costs will outweigh the benefit. With most enclosures made telescopically these days, it means that when the weather does begin to improve, you can push the enclosure to one side and enjoy the benefits of having an outdoor pool. It will also remove your pool cleaning bills in terms of leaves and such falling in the pool, and it also means you can swim no matter what the weather is outside. You have a choice of what height to go for, which means you could even entertain guests within your enclosure whilst its snowing outside!