Gel, clay… Medicated, natural… Wraps, unwrapped… Messy, easy application… There are endless things to consider when it comes to recovery care for your horse. While we are lucky to have so much at our disposal to help our horses feel their best, it can become overwhelming when you’re trying to choose your remedy. At the end of the day, it will all come down to your preference (or should we say, your horse’s preference). Some horses respond better to one over the other, but here’s a guide to help you know the main differences between these treatment options.

What’s the Difference?

Poultice is a wet clay that helps draw out inflammation. The wet clay also has a cooling effect on the horse when first applied. In fact, applying poultice directly after an icing session can help extend the cooling effects of the ice. Poultice has been around for centuries and sometimes contains minerals or salts to provide additional relief. You can apply it anywhere on the body. But keep in mind it can be quite messy, especially without wraps. Because poultice cools and reduces swelling, it is a great option for acute injuries or stocked-up legs.

Liniment is often in a liquid or gel form that is effective for many areas of the body. It provides fast-acting relief to soothe tight or tired muscles, ligaments, and tendons. It is also often used as a bath brace to help muscles cool down and relax after exertion and exercise. Liniments often contain strong healing herbs that promote circulation and relaxation. If your horse gets stiff after exercise, liniment might be just the thing to try.

Wrapping over top of these treatments will enhance or prolong the effects. However, liniments or medicated poultices may cause irritation for sensitive-skinned horses. Always test the product at home before a show, and we recommend leaving it unwrapped until you know your horse can tolerate that formula. Additionally, some liniments require a rinse-off after a certain time. The bottle will often indicate if a rinse is necessary, so review the instructions before using it for the first time. Poultices don’t necessarily need to be washed off. Once the clay dries out, you can often curry it off. This can leave a bit of a powdery, dirty appearance, however, so plan to wash it off before performance.

Poultices To Try

Tenda Original Performance Poultice for Equine Recovery available at FarmVet

Tenda Original Performance Poultice is a good staple in your recovery regimen for your horse. This all-natural clay is strong enough to get the job done, but gentle enough to use every day. It is easy to work with and can be used with or without wraps.

Tenda Premium Medicated Poultice for Equine Recovery available at FarmVet

If you’re looking for a medicated poultice, try the Tenda Premium Medicated Poultice. It has the same base formula as the Original but contains a few extra ingredients such as menthol to increase the cooling effect. This is a great option for equine athletes recovering from exercise, competition, or injury.

Quinn's Equine Poultice Wraps for Equine Recovery available at FarmVet

Quinn’s Equine Poultice Wraps bring an innovative solution to the otherwise messy poultice application. The pre-portioned poultice and paper and wraps just peel, place, and press onto your horse’s legs. The wraps ensure the area is adequately and evenly covered while saving you time (and the mess).

Liniments We Love

Sore No-More Performance Liniment for Equine Recovery available at FarmVet

Sore No-More has set the standard when it comes to liniment products, providing a wide range of formulas to choose from. The Sore No-More Performance Liniment is an excellent option for show horses as it is a strong blend of herbs that are all FEI-safe. It works as a bath brace post workouts or hauling, or on the legs, back, or anywhere your horse tends to get stiff. Additionally, use it before tacking up to help warm up the muscles before exercise.

Cavalor Muscle Cooler Liniment for Equine Recovery available at FarmVet

If you’re a fan of a gel formula, the Cavalor Muscle Cooler is a great one to add to your tack trunk. This blue cooling gel supports the recovery process through the use of essential oils. The cooling effect and oils help relax the muscles while fighting pain. And perhaps the best part – you can use it on both your horse and you!

Cavalor FreeBute Gel Liniment for Equine Recovery available at FarmVet

For a powerful gel formula that is good for strained tendons or muscles, try Cavalor’s FreeBute Gel. This product relaxes, soothes, and cools when applied, absorbing into the skin to help alleviate pain, speed recovery, and help prevent overexertion of muscles and tendons.


Please note that USEF changes and updates its list of regulated and prohibited substances regularly as research advances. Always consult the prohibited list before using any product before a show. Especially when using liniments or medicated poultices prior to or during competition, always look over the ingredients to verify that they are show-safe.

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You can shop more liniments and poultices at FarmVet here. Or, shop all our products at 24/7. You can also call one of our friendly Sales Associates at 1-888-837-3626 or email your order to

Learn More

To learn more about products that are safe to use at shows, read our ultimate show-safe guide here.