Which Ice Horse does my horse need?
There are a few ways to figure this out…his job, his past history of injury, his need for veterinary “maintenance,” his quirks. You may want to ask your Veterinarian to help you decide how best to support your horse with therapeutic icing and which parts of your horse’s body need some support.
What is your horse’s job? The trail horse, who puts lots of stress on the hooves with uneven ground and stones, also consider the western reining horse that slides and spins, stressing the hind legs, and the hunter or jumper that spends a lot of time jumping and landing. There’s also the barrel racer that is going to stress all four lower legs, which has different support needs of the dressage horse that uses his back and hocks for work. Consider the eventing horse that runs fast and jumps high, and enjoys cold therapy leg care after a cross country gallop. Learning about the biomechanics of your particular horse and his job can help you decide where he can benefit from therapeutic icing!
What is your horse’s past medical history? Many horses, because they are horses, end up with injuries at one point or another. These can be random run of the mill injuries, or injuries sustained during work. The OTTB that bowed a tendon on the race track will need therapeutic icing on those tendons, no matter his new job. The horse with a previous stifle injury from slipping in the paddock can benefit from ice therapy on those stifles. Don’t forget to also factor the parts of your horse’s medical history that don’t include injuries. Metabolic disorders such as Cushing’s and Insulin Resistance can affect the health of the hoof, which makes icing those tootsies a great idea.
Your entire horse's body weight rests on one or two legs at many points in his job!
What’s his need for Veterinary “maintenance”? Many horses receive other types of therapies on specific body parts, such as necks, hocks, hips, and even coffin joints. If you are spending a lot of time on massage, intra-articlular injections, chiropractics and the like, using therapeutic icing in between treatments may help your horse partner feel his best.
Don’t forget to consider his quirks! For the stall kickers out there, fetlocks and knees can often become inflamed from the banging. Does he LOVE to run full blast and slide into the fence stressing the lower legs? Does he have some unique conformation issues?
All of these things factor into what parts of your horse will benefit from ice therapy.