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  1. #1
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    Default Spin-off from ice boot thread

    At what level do you start to ice a healthy, sound horse after workouts? I've usually iced after prelim+ cross country runs, but are there others that do it more frequently? Less-often? Just curious to see everyone's maintenance to keep their horses sound.



  2. #2
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    Clinics at the training level and above (I think you often jump more and more challenging stuff at clinics than when showing). Horse trials at the CCI* level unless ground is particularly hard or muddy, in which case at preliminary, but this is for horses under 13 or so and sound with no known leg issues. I have never iced, wrapped, etc at training level or below at a horse trials (have never had a horse that needed it and do not do it as a matter of routine with young horses)
    OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!



  3. #3
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    Since I'm the one who started that thread . . . My rule of thumb is that you're not going to hurt them if you ice (leaving aside the few recreational tours-of-the-property a super-scary ice boot has engendered), so might as well when you can.

    As a general practice, I ice front legs and feet on the preliminary and up horses after running XC. Most of ours will stand in ice pans so you can do their feet at the same time you do their legs, and we can switch pans/boots between horses pretty easily and not use as much ice over all. I'll also ice back legs if I've got one who is nursing something, or at a three day. The training horses get iced if the ground is hard or if they seem to need it (in other words, on an as-needed basis - doesn't happen very often). If one has a bit of a tough school or whacks themselves, I'll ice them after an XC or jump school, but don't make a habit of it.



  4. #4
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    I ice or cold hose fairly often. If I have a horse with a known (though managed) issue -- e.g., mild arthritis in one fetlock managed with regular joint injections -- I will ice / cold hose that joint after every workout.

    I ice or cold hose tendons and hocks after every jump school or show, too.

    I also ice or cold hose tendons and hocks after any strenuous workout, even if we only do dressage or a long trail ride.

    Overkill? Probably. But it gives me peace of mind and it certainly isn't hurting anything.

    ETA -- Overall, I would say that I ice or cold hose after a ride more often than not.
    Last edited by Phaxxton; Mar. 31, 2010 at 12:32 PM.



  5. #5
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    I'm with Phaxxton, I usually ice after most jump schools, riding on hard ground, and definitely after XC for horses Training and up. Usually followed by standing wraps at least on the back legs, depending on the horse. Some call it overkill, but I have found it to help with general maintenance.
    No Trouble
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  6. #6
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    Its never too early to ice, and you pretty much cant ice too much. I dont really understand the whole "I only ice at this level, I only wrap at this level" thing. The more you can do to prevent inflammation, the longer your horse's legs will last.

    Novice might not be hard in comparison to running Advanced, but Novice horses are also not fit for Advanced, they are fit for Novice. And Im sure we have all felt our horse's legs after anything strenuous and felt the heat. Anything you can do, whenever you can, to decrease that heat will only help you in the long run.



  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobthehorse View Post
    Its never too early to ice, and you pretty much cant ice too much. I dont really understand the whole "I only ice at this level, I only wrap at this level" thing. The more you can do to prevent inflammation, the longer your horse's legs will last.

    Novice might not be hard in comparison to running Advanced, but Novice horses are also not fit for Advanced, they are fit for Novice. And Im sure we have all felt our horse's legs after anything strenuous and felt the heat. Anything you can do, whenever you can, to decrease that heat will only help you in the long run.
    I liked this answer. Thanks bobthehorse!



  8. #8
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    Mar. 16, 2010
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    I'm not sure I understand the physiologic benefits of icing. Actually, I feel that icing too much might even be detrimental. Wouldn't icing decrease circulation to the area that ice is applied? (cold = vasoconstricted vessels = less blood flow). I would think that decreasing circulation to fatigued legs/muscles would be a bad thing...wouldn't that mean lactic acid and other toxic metabolites are not gotten rid of as fast?

    I can understand icing (to a certain degree) if there is an acute inflmmatory reaction (such as a bruise, wound, etc)...in which case you're trying to reduce the enzymatic degradation of tissue. It's really a trade-off between reduction of tissue degradation and benefits of blood flow/immune cell function in repair of the tissues.

    Maybe I've been studying a bit too much for that bio exam...but can someone explain this to me? What points am I missing about icing after workouts?



  9. #9
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    Not a doc/vet, and I don't play one on TV. Thus, an actual scientist/biologist can likely explain better, but as I understand it, the idea behind icing is to reduce acute inflammation: to constrict any small capillaries that may have ruptured or broken during exertion and thus to reduce/minimize localized swelling (if any). While you do want blood flow into the area, your first priority is to restrict swelling/inflammation if the possibility for same exist, because of the subsequent issues caused by that inflammation. Thus, you don't stand the horse up in ice and leave him there indefinitely - most folks use a 20 minutes on, 20 off protocol (or something close to that) to balance the two goals.

    Recall also that when we're talking about icing, it's legs/feet, not the horse's major muscle groups. We may ice to get a horse's temperature down after major exertion (e.g., in the box after a long XC), but we don't then have their hind ends sitting in ice over the afternoon. In fact, it's pretty common to use magnetic blankets, massage and fluids to encourage movement of lactic acid out of those major muscles (or because it makes us feel better to use them).



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobthehorse View Post
    Its never too early to ice, and you pretty much cant ice too much. I dont really understand the whole "I only ice at this level, I only wrap at this level" thing. The more you can do to prevent inflammation, the longer your horse's legs will last.

    Novice might not be hard in comparison to running Advanced, but Novice horses are also not fit for Advanced, they are fit for Novice. And Im sure we have all felt our horse's legs after anything strenuous and felt the heat. Anything you can do, whenever you can, to decrease that heat will only help you in the long run.

    For me it is an issue of toughness. I don't ice or baby a novice/training horses....or really even a Prelim horse because to me they are NOT working that hard. If they are not going to hold up with the minimal exertion that it takes to compete and train at the novice and training level without a lot of maintenance work on my part they are certainly not going to hold up to compete at prelim and above.....I want to know that now. If that is the case, I will re-shift my focus with that horse or find it a job more suited for its capabilities and that will be less of a strain. I want to know how they are going to hold up before investing the tons of time and money in them.


    I am dealing with young horses and prospects. Not an older school master. If it is an older horse...who knows his job and needs a bit more help to recover well, then that is a different situation.....or if it is your one and only, true love of a horse, that you want to just do what that horse is capable of (which is fine)...then ice and wrap away. (don't get me wrong...I love all my horses, but if they don't want to be an event horse or will not hold up as an event horse beyond training level....I will try and find them a different job to focus my energy and money on a different horse.)
    Last edited by bornfreenowexpensive; Apr. 1, 2010 at 11:57 AM.
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **



  11. #11
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    I dont know if it necessarily works like that though. Its the constant heating of the tissues that causes long term degradation. I dont think the theory of testing their toughness applies in this circumstance.

    Besides, not everyone has a strong of other horses to focus on if one doesnt hold up. Maintaining event horses through the higher levels into their teen years is a tricky balance, and people do what they can to make sure the horse lasts. I dont think icing is going to make an unsound horse capable of holding up to more work, and I dont think not icing is going to ruin an otherwise tough horse. But we do whatever we can. They all feel the effects of competition eventually, might as well do whatever I can to prolong the life of their legs.



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by GotSpots View Post
    Not a doc/vet, and I don't play one on TV. Thus, an actual scientist/biologist can likely explain better, but as I understand it, the idea behind icing is to reduce acute inflammation: to constrict any small capillaries that may have ruptured or broken during exertion and thus to reduce/minimize localized swelling (if any).

    Agreed. Its not like we stick them in a freezer and leave them there. Every time a horse (or person) exert themselves they create inflammation. While blood flow is good and is a natural coolant, the legs of a horse have very little of this, so take a long time to cool themselves down naturally. Icing curbs the acute inflammation, which causes cell death. The faster you can get the heat down, the less damage there will be. Its like treating an injury. Before you promote healing, you have to get the heat down.



  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobthehorse View Post
    I dont know if it necessarily works like that though. Its the constant heating of the tissues that causes long term degradation. I dont think the theory of testing their toughness applies in this circumstance.

    .
    FWIW I didn't have a string of horses....until recent years, I just focused on one at a time.

    But I guess my definition of toughness is differnent. Most of my horses only do 2-4 novice events before moving up....most (not all) have been ready for prelim by the end of their second season of eventing....so we are not talking about a long period of time here. If their legs are swelling or they are otherwise showing signs that the sport is stressing them at these levels....I don't want to push them on until they break. They are telling me that they need a different job....same as the horse that hates dressage....or hates water etc. I also do not want to be doing special shoeing etc at these levels. If I do, and I have.....I start to look for a different job for them, find them a new home and start all over again with the next project.

    Novice and training is NOT a lot of work for a sound athletic horse. Those levels ARE still canters in the park....although they can still be very competitive to score well. But it shouldn't be making their legs so hot to be stressing them. If it is maxing a horse out at that level....then yes, I agree..ice and wrap away. Or if you are not going to go beyond these levels...sure, it isn't going to hurt and anything you can do to extend your horses competitive life is great. But for the TBs that I've had (and now TB cross)....they are not working hard yet and I'm hoping that they will go beyond so I want to make sure that these levels are easy for them before stressing them beyond.
    Last edited by bornfreenowexpensive; Apr. 2, 2010 at 07:53 AM.
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **



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