WATCH: Swimming horses make a splash during Yorkshire stable's open day

SWIMMING horses made a splash as Middleham trainers opened their stables to racing enthusiasts.

Middleham Open Day. A race horse exercising in the new horse-spa centre at Mark Johnston's, yard, Middleham.

Crowds watched in awe as horses were put through their paces in the equine aqua-complex which opened last year at the yard of Classic-winning trainer Mark Johnston.

The underwater facility has its own water-walker and treadmill to assist those horses who require a higher level of exercise – or are suffering from leg ailments.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

It also helps Johnston, who regularly saddles in excess of 200 winners a year, to vary the training regime at his stables which are home to many of the country’s leading Flat horses.

Middleham Open Day. A race horse exercising in the new horse-spa centre at Mark Johnston's, yard, Middleham.

Thirteen yards afforded visitors a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the hard work, and dedication, that is required to prepare racehorses for action as ITV’s new-look racing coverage looks to celebrate the invaluable contribution made by stable staff and other unsung heroes whose selflessness, and dedication, has often been overlooked.

As well as a parade through Middleham by the Bedale West of Yore Fox Hounds, equine businesses were also able to showcase their crafts.

Home to 500 horses, the Wensleydale community has been associated with racing for more than 200 years and yesterday’s open day was the first for two years – organisers did not hold an event last year because Easter fell early in the calendar.

Proceeds will go towards Racing Welfare, and its campaign to build a dedicated facility to assist young stable staff, and Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

Middleham Open Day. A race horse exercising in the new horse-spa centre at Mark Johnston's, yard, Middleham.