Horses’ legs carry a lot of weight relative to their size, and this increased further when we place a full set of tack and a rider on top. Even in walk and trot, the amount of force being absorbed by your horse’s legs increases, and this can lead to the tiny tears – known as micro trauma – that can cause inflammation. When we do fast work with our horses, the forces placed on their legs increase even more. This blog article outlines what happens to the soft tissues in the lower legs during fast work and why icing is even more important after working at speed.
What Happens to Our Horses’ Legs When They Are Worked At Speed?
Fast work is part of building fitness in horses. As the fitness work increases, you will be doing more fast work. On level ground, as the speed increases it is the front limb that takes more peak forces through the limb(1). This in turn stretches the tendons and ligaments more and this can lead to tiny tears, causing inflammation.
These peak forces through a forelimb have been measured as high as 1.3 tonnes when a horse is galloping at 38mph. That’s over 2 times their body weight in force going through one front leg!
Why is it Important to Ice After Fast Work?
Use Cryochaps equine ice boots after exercise to help those limbs recover for the next day’s training. You can learn more about what we are trying to achieve when cooling our horses’ legs here. Designed in the UK, Cryochaps are durable, effective ice boots designed specifically to provide ultimate cooling to your horse’s lower legs. Our ice boots provide knee-to-fetlock coverage in the form of the K2F ice boot. Furthermore, the Absolute Wrap is a convenient and versatile ice wrap for knees, hocks and fetlocks.
Purchase Cryochaps equine ice boots today via our online shop.
Minimising Heat Build Up During Fast Work
New to our range of cooling products is the Exoskeleton exercise boot by Cryochaps. The Exoskeleton uses innovative forced convection technology to draw air across the back of the leg as the horse moves. Therefore, although the tendons are having to work harder in canter and gallop, the amount of heat allowed to build up is limited by the airflow.
Purchase The Exoskeleton horse exercise boots today via our online shop.
(1)The Journal of Experimental Biology 209, 4389-4397 Published by The Company of Biologists 200, Accepted August 2006: Effect of speed on stride parameters in racehorses at gallop in ﬁeld conditions; T. H. Witte