Many horse owners and riders use exercise boots or bandages for their horses. Whilst boots and bandages can provide protection from injury during exercise, they also contribute to heat build up in the lower leg. This blog article aims to answer the question of whether we should always use boots or bandages for horses, and what we can to do minimise heat build up in the legs.
Exercise Boots Provide Important Strike Protection
Exercise boots are used for a good reason: they provide protection to the vital and often vulnerable parts of the horse’s lower legs. The SDFT in particular is vulnerable to impacts, strikes and overreach injuries, so it makes sense for the horse to wear protective boots. This is especially the case during fast work and jumping.
The Heating Effect of Exercise Boots and Bandages
Whilst exercise boots are worn to protect the horse’s legs, they can also cause heat to build up in the lower legs. Exercise boots and bandages – particularly those with fleecy material – insulate the legs and make it harder for heat to escape. As the horse moves, the tendons stretch and relax, and this generates heat. Excessive heat in the soft tissues can cause cell death, which means it takes longer for the tendons and ligaments to recover after exercise. Ultimately, this can make tendon and ligament injuries more likely, as the horse’s soft tissues are likely to suffer from higher levels of micro trauma during exercise, which then takes longer to repair.
The Exoskeleton Exercise Boots
Exercise boots are an important piece of protective kit. Whether you use them for eventing, showjumping or even flatwork, exercise boots can provide essential protection to the vulnerable lower legs. However, they do have an insulating effect that can damage the soft tissues. This can make injury more likely, so it’s important to carefully consider which exercise boots you choose for your horse.
The Exoskeleton exercise boot for horses is designed to provide excellent strike protection as well as that all-important cooling. Not only does the Exoskeleton allow heat to escape naturally through strategically-placed vents, but it also uses an innovative forced convection cooling system to force air across the back of the leg. As this is where most heat build up occurs, the Exoskeleton is getting cool air straight to the area where it’s needed most.
Cryochaps Ice Boots for Horses
Minimising potentially harmful heat build up during exercise is important, but effectively cooling your horse’s legs after exercise is also vital. That’s where Cryochaps come in. Our ice boots are designed to deliver powerful cryotherapy to the lower legs, bringing the leg temperature down to safe levels quickly.
Cryochaps help to kickstart the post-exercise repair and recovery process, which may help reduce the likelihood of soft tissue injury and damage. Cryochaps come in two designs, with the K2F providing knee-to-fetlock coverage, and the Absolute Wrap coming in handy for knees, hocks and even hooves.
With tried and tested, science-based products by Cryochaps, you can minimise heat build up during exercise and cool your horse’s legs quickly after exercise. Use The Exoskeleton during exercise for strike protection and ventilation, before swapping over to a set of Cryochaps immediately after exercise.
Should We Be using Bandages and Boots for Horses?
To answer the question, using bandages and boots for horses can be beneficial or even key to performance, comfort and wellbeing. This is particularly relevant where fast work and jumping are involved. As horse owners, we also need to make our own decisions on when and whether boots or bandages should be used – for example, a horse that is prone to over-reaching may also need to wear boots when working on the flat.
However, we should carefully consider which exercise boots to use on our horses and think about the insulating effect that they may have. Finally, it is always important to remove boots or bandages after exercise and cool your horse’s legs with ice boots such as Cryochaps.