Thank goodness the winter circuit is just a few weeks away! It is exciting to go back to show life, but we have to ensure our horses are ready for the marathon show season ahead. Whether you are helping your horse stay sound, treating an injury, or dealing with new trauma, cold therapy is a great option.
When To Cool
A common-sense rule of thumb: If it feels hot to the touch, cool it. This covers all lameness problems where your hand can feel excessive heat. However, inflammation may be deeper than you can feel. Because of their poor blood supply, tendons and ligaments are especially vulnerable to heat damage. In fact, damage to the middle of the flexor tendons is common and is believed to be caused by the buildup of heat in this area. This heat can be eliminated by quickly cooling the lower legs after exercise. This turns off the chemical signals that can lead to inflammation. Since joint cartilage has no blood supply to help with the elimination of heat, cooling also helps protect joints.
Horses are very tolerant of cold, even on their lower legs. Veterinarians have even had horses stand in ice water to prevent laminitis for up to 48 hours, with no ill effects. But it is important to be cautious with open wounds. For those horses, water or witch hazel at refrigerator temperatures is helpful, but we would avoid ice.
In the case of fresh injuries—like kicks, falls, twists, or stings—start cooling before the area becomes hot and swollen. If you get to it quickly, the heat, swelling, and pain can be greatly reduced or even eliminated.
What About Cold Hosing?
Cold-water hosing is labor-intensive, but it’s available to just about everyone. How quickly and efficiently it cools depends on how cold the water is. It’s not as efficient as an ice-water soak or use of Ice Horse Wraps, but it will get the job done. Because cooling is slower, you should plan to hose for at least 20 to 30 minutes before a significant drop in the tissue’s temperature occurs.
Products That Can Help
Ice Horse Knee to Pastern Boots offers cold therapy from the knee to the pastern fetlock of the horse’s leg. It is suitable for performance horses after exercise.
Ice Horse Stifle Wrap are designed to provide cold therapy with compression. These lightweight boots are flexible to ensure a comfortable fit for your horse.
Ice Horse Back Blanket Wrap is designed to tackle equine back problems in performance horses. Its contoured design covers the withers, shoulder blades, the dorsal muscles, and sacroiliac joint to cover the major causes of back pain.
Ice Horse Hoof Ice Boot provides cold compression therapy from the cornet band all the way down to the toe. This boot helps ice the foot without soaking it. It can be used after exercise but is generally used for horses with laminitis.
If you’re interested in seeing the Ice Horse products FarmVet offers, click here! For more information on how to keep your horse in tip top shape, check out these 11 therapies. Or you can shop ALL of our products at FarmVet.com 24/7 or call one of our friendly Sales Associates at 1-888-837-3626. You can also email your order to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Ice Horse team contributed to this blog to share information about the benefits of cold therapy.