The Swimming Race Horses of Barbados

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Last update: May 11th, 2022 at 12:41 pm

Race Horses Barbados

Occasionally on our family travels I do something just for me. Setting my alarm for 5:00am and driving across the island of Barbados to see some swimming race horses was one of those things.

If getting up before dawn while on vacation wasn’t nutty enough, this adventure also involved my first time driving on the opposite side of the road (or the wrong side, as I like to call it). Despite getting lost several times, I eventually arrived at my intended destination without incident, and was not disappointed.

 Horses Pebbles Beach Carlisle Bay Barbados

Barbados is home to one of the oldest racetracks in the Americas, the Garrison Savannah. Each morning, owners, trainers and groomers bring horses down to the sea for a swim, or sometimes a little water therapy if they have been injured.

The setting is a photographer’s dream, with feisty horses being coaxed by their handlers towards the beautiful Caribbean waters. Take a peek at this one minute video.


Where to see the Swimming Race Horses of Barbados?

The horses are brought down to Carlisle Bay, just south of Bridgetown and in front of the Radisson Hotel. You can see them anytime from sunrise to around 7a.m. For the exact location, see map.

Swimming Horses Barbados

The Etiquette

The horses are often feisty (rearing and kicking), so unless you want a more abrupt wake up, stand or sit a ways back on the beach. Be sensitive to the fact that not all of the handlers are interested in having their picture taken and are just trying to do their job. With the young man in the first photo, I assumed he didn’t want his photo taken, but then he walked his horse over to me and just stood solemnly and silently until I took his picture.

Visit the Garrison Savannah Racetrack

If you are interested in going to the horse races at Garrison Savannah, they run most of the year, except for during the height of hurricane season (Sept/Oct). The races are popular events where children are welcome. See the Garrison Savannah website for race dates.

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Garrison Savannah Racetrack

6 Responses

  1. Bond
    | Reply

    You can also watch them via the live Webcam that is on top of the Raddison. Make sure you choose the camera looking to the left.

    • Tara Cannon
      | Reply

      That’s so cool. Thanks for sharing this!

  2. Gigi
    | Reply

    This is so beautiful. I am staying at the Radisson in a few weeks time and have been watching this scene for months on the live webcam

    • Tara Cannon
      | Reply

      How was it? Did you get to see them?

    • Tara Cannon
      | Reply

      Gigi – I’m sorry that I seem to have missed this. Did you get to see the horses?

  3. […] tradition on the island. If you love horses, head to Carlisle Bay in the early morning to watch the horses and their handlers swimming in the sea. It’s a magical experience. Be sure to keep your distance, as some of the horses can be […]

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