As someone who stays on the road, I am always looking for anything to keep my horses feeling good. When a new therapy product comes out I am the first to buy it. This is a list of my favorite five. Disclaimer: my crew of horses are slightly (okay, very much) spoiled.
- A good chiropractor – This is the base of all therapies. Roping horses use every muscle and bone in their body on every run, making it very easy for them to go out. A good chiropractic adjustment can refresh any horse. Our horses exhibit lots of signs of when they need an adjustment. Some signs you might be seeing are: pinning their ears when you cinch them up, ill behavior, unexplained bucking, out places can even show up as a lameness, and any out of the ordinary behaviors could just be chiropractic. I like to get my older horses adjusted once a month and it really helps keep them going. When searching out a chiropractor, ask around and get referrals to ensure you’re using a quality person.
- Back on Track Products– I’ll admit I was a skeptic of Back On Track when it first became popular, until we had a joint surgery on a horse and the surgeon discharged him with the quick wraps on all four legs. He advised using them as much as possible, as he had seen faster healing on horses that used back on track. My next question, how does it work? After years of research Back On Track combined science of heat radiation and Chinese medicine. They use ceramic particles melted into the threads making their products heat reflective. When the products are placed on the horse their body heat is reflected off of the ceramic particles back into their body as long wave heat radiation. This type of heat radiation is shown to increase blood flow leading to healing properties, relieving tension and soreness, and injury prevention. By using this radiant heat, the heat is not trapped allowing the body tissues to breathe while absorbing the energy. These are products that I now live by. I have every thing from the mesh sheets, knee boots, hock wraps, quick wraps, polo wraps, and human products. I have seen results with the bell boots on a navicular horse after two weeks of wear he was considerable less lame. These products are great for removing swelling and preventing “stocking up”. My favorite thing about Back On Track is that their products last. They have proof of ten-year old quick wraps still working 100%. Using these products during the summer is certainly debatable, but I just shorten the time I leave them on and make sure they are in the shade. You can’t go wrong with Back On Track. http://www.backontrackproducts.com/How-Back-on-Track-Products-Work-22.html
- Magnetics– Magnetic products are definitely every where you look. There are many brands to choose from: PHT, Dura-Tech, Professional’s Choice and Classic Equine. PHT magnetics even offer copper infused fabric paired with their grade 8 negative polarity magnets. Negative polarity magnets help with pH stability, slow down infections, possess biological normalizers, helps with edema and oxygenation among many other things. These sheets place magnets over the major acupuncture points and reduce inflammation, reduce muscle soreness, and create blood flow. There are even reports of magnetics helping with colic issues and respiratory issues. All of these brands carry every thing from sheets to poll packs to magnetics for dogs. I personally use magnetic sheets all summer and as a bonus, they double as fly sheets. When you remove the sheet you can see sweat spots where the magnets were working the acupuncture point in that area. My anxiety-filled, buddy-issue horse keeps his poll magnet on and it definitely reduces his trailer pawing and stall pacing. There are dozens of products and colors to choose from. http://www.phtmagnetics.com/aboutmagnetics.asp
- Ice Tight 24 Hour Poultice– This poultice is absolutely amazing. I use this stuff religiously on my older head horse. It is quick and easy to apply and dries quickly. It can be used with or without standing wraps. Ice tight washes off easily with water and quickly tightens up their legs. Also, it provides cooling to their legs when you don’t have time to ice them. It is a super affordable therapy that can be found at any local feed store or Tractor Supply Co. If you have a horse with lots of swelling you can use this to make a great sweat wrap. First, rub on the ice tight. Second, wrap leg loosely with wet paper or paper towel. Third, loosely wrap leg with saran plastic wrap and add a standing wrap bandage. There are so many great ways to use this cheap and easy product and my horses love it.
- Magic Cushion Hoof Packing– You can never control how hard the ground will be at an event and a sore footed horse is never fun to rope on. This magic cushion is very easy to use to give them some extra support. For long weekends on hard dirt, I take a golf ball sized amount and pack it into their foot. This product is known to help reduce pain, reduce swelling in the foot, bacterial growth and help minimize hoof concussion. This is another cheap and easy product that can be found anywhere. With extreme foot pain, I add gauze to the bottom of the foot and wrap with vet wrap. This is also perfect to use when they are stalled on asphalt or hard bottom stalls for the weekend.
With summer quickly approaching and so many ropings on the calendar, try some of these great ways to keep your horses refreshed on the road. When they are not feeling 100% we can’t compete 100%.