Liniments & Braces: Go “Old School” When It’s Hot

Horse getting sprayed with a hose

It’s August, the dog days of summer are here, and temperatures are high everywhere. You and your horse just finished a great ride—and now both of you are hot, sweaty and a bit tired.

As you head for the wash rack to rinse your horse with cool water (perhaps looking forward to a bit of the overspray yourself) consider using a brace to refresh, revive and relax your horse. Concerned about minor swelling or soreness in your horse post-workout? A liniment might be just the preventative measure to take.

At Dover, we’ve noticed many of our more senior staff members grew up using horse liniments and braces regularly, while the younger generation of staff members isn’t always as familiar with this great grooming aid.

Applying a liniment wash to a horse's front leg.

For years, horse owners and trainers have used horse liniments to temporarily soothe tired, sore or stiff muscles, ease minor aches, pains and swelling, help lessen arthritic pain, and even to act as a topical antiseptic. Applied to legs or other specific areas after a workout, a liniment can help support tissue recovery, relieve post-exertion fatigue or help prevent stocking up (edema) in the legs, especially when topped with standing wraps.

Added to a bucket of water, a liniment becomes a brace that can be sponged onto a wet horse. It is left without rinsing to provide a cooling sensation and to relieve minor muscle soreness as the horse relaxes after a workout.  Use of a liniment or brace in helping a horse recover from exercise can in turn help keep the horse comfortable and better prepared to perform the next day.

Liniments are available in liquid and gel forms, and they come in a range of formulas and scents ranging from brisk or medicinal, to lighter or natural. Most contain alcohol, which evaporates quickly. As a main ingredient in a liniment, alcohol’s rapid evaporation can help cool a horse quickly. Essential oils, herbs or medicines added to the liniment lend their supportive, beneficial or aromatic properties.

Read Liniment Labels

With all this said, liniments (and braces) are not all the same. Take these tips into consideration as you choose a new liniment for your horse, and always read manufacturer’s labels carefully.

  • Some liniments contain substances on the USEF banned substance list and should not be used if you plan to compete in recognized shows.
  • Some liniments are mild enough to be used under bandages or coverings or on broken skin, but some can cause blistering or tissue damage if covered.
  • Not all liniments can be diluted in water to make a brace.

Test a small spot on your horse prior to full application to look for signs of an allergic or adverse reaction.

As a final note: While we love our liniments, they are not the remedy for a major soreness or lameness. Always contact your veterinarian with questions and concerns about your horse’s comfort, soundness, and managing exercise in high heat.

Browse our entire selection of horse liniments here.

Does your horse enjoy a liniment bath? Share your photos with us on Instagram and Facebook by tagging @doversaddlery!

Guest Blog: Absorbine Bute-Less® Performance – Why You Should Make the Switch

Managing your horse’s joints as he gets older can be difficult, especially when he can’t always tell you specifically what’s bothering him. If you notice your horse comes out stiff or sore at the beginning of your ride it may be time to invest in a quality joint supplement to help ease his discomfort. An effective and comprehensive supplement to support the stress of daily training and competition will go a long way towards maintaining your horse’s overall comfort all the way through to his retirement.

With so many equine supplements on the market today it can be hard to find an appropriate combination that will address all of your horse’s needs. Hear from Absorbine in their guest blog as they share the testimonial of Brooke and Ellie, a hunter jumper team, and their successful 30-day trial on Absorbine® Bute-Less Performance to learn why you too should make the switch today.

 

Continue reading

Guest Blog: EquiOtic™ – The “Real” Approach to Equine Probiotics

 

Equiotic Logo

 

Curious about introducing probiotics into your horse’s nutrition plan? Hear from EquiOtic themselves to answer all of your questions about the difference between EquiOtic and other probiotics available— and how you can help support your horse’s gastrointestinal health to the fullest!

Continue reading

How to Dress the “Super-Sensitive” Horse for Fly Season

Most of us know a horse that absolutely hates bugs. Even the sight of a bug has him stomping, flinching, and swishing his tail all day long. Some horses, such as Thoroughbreds, have very sensitive skin and get easily irritated by flies and other insects in turnout. A susceptible horse like this may need the complete coverage of a fly sheet, fly mask, fly boots and fly spray, or any combination of these, to stay comfortable. Does this sound like your horse? Check out a few of our suggestions for products that go beyond your everyday fly spray and can help you and your horse beat the bugs this summer.

Continue reading