What’s the big deal about icing horse hooves? If you have ever seen a horse with laminitis, you understand the agony and suffering that goes on. It’s horrible. Doing everything you can to prevent such a situation will help your horse have a better life! But laminitis is not the only circumstance in which case your horse’s hooves can use some ice therapy. It's a good idea to combine lower leg ice therapy with hoof ice therapy. Many things can influence the likelihood that laminitis can develop, so ice your horse’s hooves proactively if your horse has or does any of these things: Fever. The inflammation that occurs in your horse’s body during a fever can spread rapidly into the hooves via the enzymes that are involved in the inflammation. Diarrhea. Same scenario here. Diarrhea can upset your horse’s entire system and lead to dehydration, organ failure, and laminitis. Act fast. Working on hard ground. Frozen ground, hard ground, rocky ground, a surface that is new for your horse… you get the idea. Concussion of the hoof can create pain, inflammation, and worse in the hoof. It may be a bruise, it may be laminitis, but it can be helped with proactive icing of the hoof. Injuries. It might be that your horse is cast, has been on a trailer for days, was kicked or stepped on, has a soft tissue injury in the hoof…etc. This can create a scenario for pain and damage to occur to the hoof. While it seems like a tough structure, the hoof can be injured. Injury to the opposite leg. Lameness or injury that causes your horse to be non weight bearing (three legged) shifts dangerous amounts of weight to the un-injured leg. Laminitis is common in these situations. A prime example of this is the horse that steps on a nail or screw--the infection in the hoof is beyond painful, causing non weight bearing in the other healthy hoof. This is a definite time to call the Veterinarian! Binge eating. So your horse got into the feed room, or he managed to get out of his grazing muzzle and nom down on some grass. This sends a cascade of events through his gut and into his hooves that can lead to laminitis. Ice right away and call the Veterinarian for this emergency. (PS - this goes for binge eating hay, too… a horse that doesn't normally eat timothy but suddenly eats a boat load of it can have the same cascade of events.) These Big Black Boots provide ice therapy around the entire hoof! In a nutshell, the real reason to ice your horse’s hooves is to make sure they don’t fall off. Well, not literally, anyway, but your horse’s hooves are designed to carry his enormous body on four tiny little tootsies, and then we climb on board and ask them to run fast and jump high. So you begin to see why keeping them comfortable starts at the hoof level! Always involve your Veterinarian with any questions or issues that you discover with your horse. It’s always great to ice your horse’s hooves before you need to. Work hard to prevent laminitis in your horse with daily care, lots of pampering, and preventive care. Did you know? Ice Horse products are endorsed by leading equine veterinarians. Learn more about the science behind our ice therapy products.
Does your horse need ice therapy? Yes - much of the wear and tear damage occurs without you seeing or feeling it! When you dig into how ice therapies work, you see that there are many short and long term benefits to this easy and inexpensive way to pamper your horse. First a breakdown of how inflammation and cold therapies work. Injuries and routine exercise both create inflammation. Injured tissue, like a tendon or even a scrape, gets flooded with blood. Unfortunately, the injury has broken blood vessels, so they will leak into surrounding tissue. This creates painful inflammation and swelling. Ice therapies serve new injuries by constricting vessels and not allowing the leakage of fluids and blood into surrounding tissues. This prevents a large amount of fluid for your horse’s body to clean up and heal, thus healing times can be reduced. Similarly, when your horse is exercising, his legs and muscles generate heat. This is amplified under protective leg wraps and saddle pads. Capillaries are dilated (opened up) during exercise to provide blood and oxygen to these areas. After work, there can be a build up of extra fluid, which causes inflammation as well as muscle soreness. After exercise, ice therapies serve to reduce soreness and bring your horse’s athletic game back up to par. But what about older injuries and the aches and pains that go along with aging and being an athlete? Ice therapy can definitely help there, as well. Old injuries respond to ice as the constriction of blood vessels can have a pain relieving effect. Additionally, when the ice is removed, the area is flushed with a fresh supply of blood, which contains an army of injury repairing substances such as white blood cells and other "housecleaning" substances. While it may seem silly to perform ice therapies on a sound horse or a horse that has recovered from an injury, it’s actually the best thing you can do to support your horse’s health! Preventing soreness, aiding in recovery from exercise, and supporting the long term health of your horse’s legs mean a happy athlete. And you only need a few minutes a day!