Most riders understand the importance of warming their horses up gradually. But does the post-exercise cool-down receive the same attention? This blog article highlights the importance of cooling your horse down after exercise. It also outlines how our cooling wraps for horses can help.
The Importance of Warming Your Horse Up
As riders, we would never dream of jumping on our horses and shooting straight off into canter. A gentle warm up stimulates blood flow to the horse’s muscles, tendons, and ligaments. This increases their elasticity and ability to perform. We take the time to ease into the faster, more intense work.
Why do we do this? Most riders would know that we warm our horses up to help reduce the chance of injury. A warm up also gets our horses thinking forward and working into the contact. It just makes sense.
Why Cooling Your Horse Down After Exercise is Vital
How many of us put equal effort into our horse’s cool down regimen, stretching off tired muscles and cooling down overly hot tendons?
The forces created during exercise can cause tiny tears in the tissues, known as micro trauma. Over time, this can amount to more severe soft tissue damage, which may result in an injury.
Furthermore, temperatures in the horse’s tendons can rise to damaging levels during exercise. This is especially common during fast work or jumping. Wearing exercise boots or bandages creates an insulating effect, which prevents heat from escaping and further increases the soft tissue temperatures.
When the horse is not allowed to cool down properly, the inflammatory response occurs a lot sooner. This may contribute to muscle soreness, tension and delayed recovery from the micro trauma. Over a longer period of time, this may make the horse more susceptible to soft tissue injuries.
By allowing your horse to cool down properly after exercise, you are allowing the soft tissues to cool down and begin recovering. However, to really kickstart the recovery process, minimise tissue breakdown and reduce inflammation, you can ice your horse’s legs with our cooling wraps for horses. Our ice boots are not just for use after an intense schooling session or cross country round. Even trot work can cause your horse’s soft tissues to heat up, especially if there are circles and lateral movements involved.
Cryochaps Cooling Wraps for Horses
Using Cryochaps to cool your horse’s legs after exercise could reduce swelling, minimise tissue breakdown and kickstart the healing process. By applying the cooling wraps to wet legs for just 10-15 minutes after exercise, you can aid recovery and help keep your horse’s legs in top condition.