Benefits of Equine Icing or Cold Therapy

Equine physiotherapist, Tom Simpson explains the performance and recovery benefits of equine cold therapy.

Equine Cold Therapy Is A Trusted Post Exercise Recovery Treatment

Exercise induced trauma can produce localised inflammation, micro-trauma and micro-tears to the muscles of your performance horse. This causes pain, restriction in range of motion and weakness.

Cold therapy or icing is a non-invasive and non-medicinal approach used to minimise post exercise trauma.  Ice is applied to the horse’s spine, back and other muscles and joints.  Icing has proven to promote recovery after exercise or injury, as well as working to reduce the horse’s heart rate and core temperature.

There are some myths and a variety of opinions on the best way to treat horses post event or training. These include:

  • A fear that deploy icing would reduce blood flow and actually slow the speed of healing.
  • A lack of information about how safe and effective cold therapy actually is.

 

The Facts About Equine Cold Therapy or Icing

The facts are that icing or cold therapy is a trusted, non-invasive, non-medicinal treatment that has been shown to improve post exercise recovery on your horse. That’s why it’s used by elite athletes and sports teams around the world.

  • Icing constricts the blood vessels: this temporarily decreases the local supply of blood flow to help to reduce swelling, inflammation, pain, and muscle spasm.
  • Icing also lowers cell metabolism: this helps to prevent tissue death, which ensures that any subsequent tissue loading that occurs is pain free reducing the risk of injury.
  • Icing initiates the part of the nervous system responsible for rest and digestion: after sub-maximal and maximal exertion, cryotherapy helps the horse get back to resting heart rate levels faster than not icing. This is crucial for recovery, especially when you need your horse to perform repeated sets of exercise.

When you use cold therapy post event or training, horses under your care will recover better and faster so they will be able to train better and harder leading into important events.

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Far more effective in getting heart rates down

At Dial Range Endurance Arabians, have been using the ice packs to successfully lower the hearts rates in competition on our horses. We find the Equi-Ice ice packs easy to use, and no trouble to fill up or empty and clean. After coming in at the end of a loop, we immediately put the ice pack on the back and neck of horse. This results in a very quick drop in horses heart rates. Because the ice is held within the pack there is no worry about the ice directly on the horses skin.

We believe that the ice pack is far more effective in getting heart rates down, than just using cold water on the horse.

Tracey Wyllie Dial Range Endurance Arabians
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Horses love it and it's effective

I have always been interested in the anatomy and physiology of horses and as a sportsman I know how crucial physiotherapy is in my stable. Tom has spoken to me about his product Equi-Ice for many years and I have seen the product develop over that time.

Equi-Ice is now one of the most important pieces of equipment in my stable for recovery and management of acute back pain. It’s quick to set up, horses love it, and best of all it's effective.

James Cummings Head Trainer, Godolphin Racing
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Equi-Ice is part of our daily routine

I absolutely love Equi-ice! This fantastic product now plays a key role in my stable, and Paul and I have had huge success with it. You can see the relief on the horses when it is applied, and as a horseman, I love the fact they stand there and enjoy every minute of it.

Equi-Ice has now become part of our daily routine and I suggest it should be part of yours.

Peter Snowden Snowden Racing
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Plays a key part in recovery and performance

When Tom first introduced to me the idea of Equi-Ice I could not wait to see the results and I have not been disappointed. Daily management of these equine athletes is essential and this fantastic icing product now plays a key part in recovery and performance in my Godolphin stables.

I see the benefit on and off the track and I think if you are serious about equine welfare and performance you need an Equi-Ice ice pack!

John O'Shea Leading Trainer

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