You may have seen that ‘ice boots’ or ‘cold water boots’ have become increasingly popular amongst equestrians in recent years. And this no longer just applies to pro riders anymore. In fact, there have been a whole multitude of studies that have been done to suggest that icing your horses’ legs after any exercise has many health benefits for them. If the question on your lips is ‘why?’ then read on as we help break down the science behind icing your horses’ legs.
Just like human athletes, horses perform best when particular attention is paid to their warmup and cool down routines. Have you ever gone for a run, or even had an intense jumping session where you’ve felt achy and stiff the next day? This is usually a sign that you haven’t warmed up or cooled down properly after exercising. Well, the same can be said about your horse. When a horse is exercised, they are naturally going to produce heat in the areas that have been worked hardest – this includes their legs. Remember too that if your horse has been wearing boots or polo wraps for protection, then they are the areas that are going to be hottest. Then this heat is left in their tendons, ligaments, and joints for prolonged periods of time, this can cause cellular damage to be done to them which then can create numerous problems such as tendon damage or even arthritis.
Ultimately, its our job as owners to try and help our horse recover and prevent any long-term damage that we can’t see. When your horse has been working hard and gotten hot, their blood vessels expand to bring the much-needed blood down to the areas working hardest. Cold therapy will help to close up those vessels and reduce the inflammation that you can’t always see, therefore minimising the risk of cellular damage to your horses’ legs.
Of course, if your horse already has an injury or suffers from conditions such as arthritis the cold therapy can help them too. Arthritis in it’s simplest of terms is caused by an inflammation of the joints, which causes stiffness and often pain in animals, including your horse. When warmed up correctly, heat will warm up a joint so that it can be comfortable, but after exercise cold therapy can be used to help ease the inflammation and hopefully reduce any pain.
You can use ice and cold therapy in a multitude of ways, but the easiest way is to get a pair of ice boots. These are essentially boots containing a gel which stays soft and supple even when frozen. They work the same way as ice packs do for us when we have an area of stiffness! Simply take the boots and pop them in the freezer while you ride, then take them out and leave on your horses legs for around 30-40 mins while they cool down. You can take the opportunity to do those jobs you’ve been putting off around the yard while they work their magic - like cleaning your tack or tidying up your feed room!
These boots are made for quick and easy use, and are slim and low profile so that they can easily fit in a freezer or even in a cool box for when you’re away at shows. They’re made with a Hypo-Freeze gel which remains soft and contours the lower limb comfortably and snugly. This is so that optimum surface contact with tendons and fetlock joints can be made, which ensures that the cooling effects are administered to the zones that need to be cooled the most. A swept up rear section covers the high suspensory area – something that is often neglected in other boots on the market.
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