Ice boots can be a great tool for using cold therapy on a horse’s legs, whether its for a new injury, old injury, or even just to help keep athletic horses sound. Cold therapy is perfect for owners who want to use an approach that does not require any drugs.
(Photo Credit: Discount Horse Supplies)
How cold therapy works is that it helps ease the pain in horses’ soft tissues. Ice boots surround the tissues in the leg, cooling it down and relieving any pain that is there. When your horse hits something hard with their leg, such as a cross-country jump, putting on ice boots directly after your ride can help prevent an injury, or at least shorten the amount of time that it takes for your horse to heal from it.
The cold numbs the area and causes the blood vessels in that area to constrict, which restricts the blood flow to that area. When an injury occurs, the blood vessels are damaged and leak fluid into the nearby tissues, which the body has to clean up as it heals. By constricting the blood flow in this area, that extra fluid won’t leak out until the tissues making it easier on the horse’s body to clean up anything and means a faster healing time.
When using ice boots, you don’t want to leave them on for more than 20-30 minutes at a time as this can cause some damaged tissues. For a really bad injury, you can leave the boots on for 20 minutes, take off for 30 minutes, then reapply for another 20 minutes. This can be repeated as often as you want for the first day or so of an injury.
Ice boots are great to have around for leg injuries, especially for high-performance horses.