Icing and cold therapy can benefit a variety of areas on the horse. Pro-Equine Grooms and Ice Horse® outline how you can help your horse’s hooves with the Ice Horse Big Black Boot.
Many of us have grooming routines that include icing our horse’s legs after exercise. We can take this one step further to treat our horse’s hooves as well. Hoof icing can be a daily occurrence done for maintenance; there is no need to wait for an unfortunate incident or medical condition to consider icing your horse’s hooves. Work closely with your veterinarian to create an icing plan for your horse based on his medical history, his exercise, his conformation and his job. Your veterinarian is also the only one who can diagnose, treat and prescribe medications for your horse’s hoof issues, so involve the vet if you even suspect any hoof injuries or diseases. Time is of the essence!
You may find yourself and your horse in some situations where hoof ice therapy may help:
- Hard, rocky, unforgiving footing. Poor footing can be from a trail ride, a warm up ring at a show or after weeks of no rain when the arena footing has just been packed harder than usual.
- Front hooves work hard when jumping, and a little ice therapy can certainly help.
- Unplanned movement on a hard surface or pavement. The repeated concussion of hooves on pavement, from getting loose around the farm, running home or even just walking down the road for some time, can damage hooves.
- Horses with fevers may run the risk of related laminitis. When you discover a fever, always consult your veterinarian immediately and use the stall rest time to apply some preventative ice therapy to the hooves.
- Grain overloads or sugar overloads. A horse who binge eats from the feed room one night or a horse who removes his grazing muzzle is at risk of hoof complications. This is also possible with diarrhea, colic and other digestive upsets. All of these situations are an appropriate time to involve the veterinarian.
- Hoof issue history. A horse with a history of hoof issues or laminitis can definitely benefit from regular ice therapy.
- Hoof bruising. Hoof bruises are uncomfortable, and ice therapy has a pain reducing effect.
Cooling your horse’s hooves is easy with the Ice Horse Big Black Boot and the Ice Horse FirstIce® inserts. The inserts stay cold for hours and are easy to reuse again and again, while the boots create a custom and strong fit to your horse’s hooves.
It’s easy to incorporate icing into your horse’s routine. Post exercise icing and grooming go hand in hand, and you can always let your horse supervise your tack cleaning as he cools off. Generally speaking, 20 to 30 minutes of ice therapy is a great place to start. If you are specifically treating a diagnosed medical issue, the duration may be longer or even continuous. Consult your veterinarian for the correct time for your horse’s specific condition.