Most of us are aware that this is an important factor, but what is the science behind it? What makes the ventilation on these boots much more than just an aesthetic benefit, and in actual fact a really clever design feature which can help to reduce the potential for injury?
“There are many pathophysiological principles to support a rationale for the benefits of reducing heat production in the exercising horse's limb, and thus minimising heat associated damage.
“Tendons generate heat during fast exercise by a process of ‘hysteresis’. This means that energy lost with each repeated loading of the limb may generate temperatures as high as 45˚C in the tendon core. As a general rule in biology, cells and molecules start getting damaged above 37˚C.
“Tendon cells or ‘tenocytes’ appear to cope surprisingly well, even at these temperatures. However, the extracellular tendon matrix or essential material in which tendon cells and fibres are embedded is more vulnerable.
“At high temperatures, matrix quality suffers for many reasons;
· Inhibited cellular production of replacement material
· Protein molecule destruction caused by effects of direct heat
· Protein damaging ‘proteolytic enzymes’ are made, released and activated. (Proteins are essential for building, repairing and maintaining tissues)
“Blood supply increases with both exercise and injury. Re-perfusion injury (tissue damage caused when blood supply returns to the tissue after a period without oxygen) involves blood borne delivery and activation of toxic free radicals. These free radicals can destroy both cells and matrix and may be made worse if blood supply is promoted further in a hot limb.”
Smart stuff. This explains why injury prevention and management often involves cold therapy or temperature regulation which we do all the time without even thinking about it – for example, icing after cross country or other exertion, cold hosing a swollen or injured leg, or in this case, choosing the LeMieux ProSport Mark III Stealth Air XC Boots to help control heat in the limb during exercise.
For me this xc boot provides excellent protection without interfering with the horse’s ability to perform over a fence or on the flat. The ventilation is peace of mind that even when Blue is galloping and jumping for six minutes straight round a cross country course, his tendons aren’t being cooked and I’m actively minimising the risk of a soft tissue injury from occurring.
Find out more about the features on these boots, add to your Christmas list, hint to your significant other or purchase directly from horsehealth.co.uk: