I conducted an online poll, and found that only 12 out 209 (5.74%) people who responded DIDN’T cool their horse’s legs in some way, post cross country. Collectively, it’s a common part of people’s routine, but the methods they used can differ.
The options are endless – topical treatments, ice packs, ice boots, cold hosing, cold water boots etc, so choosing the best method can be a minefield. I did some research and looked into various reports (there’s a great article HERE by David Marlin which compares some of the more common methods and explains how and why they work, if you fancy geeking out!) and ice boots emerged as a highly effective option. I decided they’d be the best choice for me – quick and easy to apply when I’m out competing on my own, and equally simple to put on at home – so I put the LeMieux Pro Ice boots to the test. Here’s the deal…
- Hypofreeze gel insert which remains soft and pliable even when frozen to contour to the horse’s leg giving a close fit
- Internal pockets keep inserts in place and avoid slumping or moving
- Mesh lining protects the leg from freeze burn
- Contoured outer boot secures in place with three straps
- Place whole boots or removable inserts in the freezer for at least 4-6 hours prior to use
- Use straight from freezer if possible, or store in cool bag, ice box or similar if not possible
- Place frozen inserts in boots, and apply to horse’s legs in 20-30 minute sessions as required
- They deliver targeted cold therapy to lower limbs, either to treat injuries or as part of maintenance and prevention – eg. After exertion such as XC or galloping
- Excess heat can make tendons and soft tissues vulnerable and more prone to damage, and so the cooling of soft tissues post-intense exercise helps to quickly restore normal temperature and function
- Cold therapy works by the narrowing of blood vessels, therefore minimising the inflammatory response
- Decreased blood flow to the injury site/ damaged area helps to reduce swelling and associated tissue damage in the case of injury
- As well as alleviating pain, it also limits loss of movement caused by edema
I’ve used the LeMieux Pro Ice boots after showjumping and eventing; honestly, I was a bit concerned that after hours in the lorry they’d start to thaw and wouldn’t be as effective. However, keeping them in a cool place in the lorry in a cool bag surrounded by ice meant that when I came to use them they were visibly still frozen even five hours after removal from the freezer.
They fitted snugly round the leg to keep all the important structures covered with no mess, and after a 20 minute application both legs and boots remained cool – unlike some of the cold water boots and topical treatments which can rapidly go from cooling to heating and have the opposite effect.
They were so quick and easy to use that I can use them eventing, or at home instead of endless hours stood cold hosing fat legs! At under £65, I think they’re a brilliant investment and one which would quickly pay for itself. I keep my inserts in the freezer at all times now ready to use if required (coz Thoroughbred) and will 100% be buying another pair so I have a full set.
I’ve only used cold therapy to treat injuries before now, but these make post-exercise leg care so simple that I can easily make them part of my routine.