I have read tons of reviews on BOT products but can't find a single one for the exercise sheet. I am leaning towards this product but would like to hear from someone who owns it before spending the money. I can only afford one product right now. So here is my backstory.
My horse slipped and fell on ice 2 years ago and injured his back right butt muscle. He was lame for a period of time and then was slowly brought back. It took a few months to get him back to being 100%. He was also seen by a massage therapist during this time which helped some. Since then if he is in work and in shape he is 100% but if he has a prolonged period of time off I seem to be back to the beginning and have to slowly build up his muscle. About 6 months ago he was seen by a Chiropractor and it helped immensly. He always needs a really long time to warm up on a loose rein and if you push him too hard he will regress and you have to let him rest and are back to the very beginning of building him up.
Anyways he recently had 2 months off and I am bringing him back again. He seems worse this time but it is the middle of winter and very cold. If the temperature is above freezing he is stiff but works out of it and seems to do ok. The other night it was below freezing and he was extremly sore and resistant to any riding. I am looking into a back on track item to help his muscle loosen up. A sheet is impractical because he would have to wear it 24/7 all year and I feel like it will be way too hot in summer. I also read it is better used the hours before your ride not 24/7. With his boarding situation it can't be put on and taken off everyday. The saddle pad doesn't go back to where his muscle is sore so it wouldn't help. I see the back pad so I could put that on the area before riding.
I think the exercise sheet is the best option. I just want to hear from someone else who has used it that they liked it. I prefer the nylon option because I would still like to use it during summer if I need to but it looks like your leg goes over part of the nylon material when you ride. I wondered whether that makes your leg slip or not. I also wondered if putting it on him while tacking up and warming up and riding will be enough time for it to work. I usually take about 15 minutes to groom and then I would put the sheet on and tack up and get myself ready. It would probably be on 15-30 minutes before I mount to ride.
The longer it can be on the better. I am personally experimenting with the Draper and BOT products on myself to see how well it works. So far I'd say no better than a heating pad, but perhaps over a few hours it might equal the effects. It is more practical for equine use as it is difficult to keep a heating pad on a horse and you don't have to worry about it getting too hot. I do notice on the horse if I put it on for a minimum of half an hour his loin muscles are more bouncy and soft rather than hard and tight without. I have both the back pad which I can Velcro on to either his medium or light turnout depending on the weather. Someone here even has it on a fly sheet so she can use it over summer.
I think the idea is not to have to use it 365 days a year. If you can build up to a month of at least overnight wear, then the core inflammation is supposed to subside and your horse will be "healed" for at least a little while...
Anyway, I also have the BOT saddle pad because I like the quality, but I think if you can get the back pad you can use it for now before tacking up and then hopefully put it on an overnight blanket. But I am in such a moderate climate, there are just so few days I'd feel I would need an exercise sheet to start my ride. fWIW
I bought one on sale last year and tried it for a while on a horse who was chronically tight in his back and fussy about everything. It kept his back moderately warm but I did not think it did anything special. IMO any decent quarter sheet would get you the same effect, and you can choose from all kinds of styles and fits. Put it on the moment you un-blanket him, groom around it, keep it on while you warm up and take it off if you like once you start working seriously. The benefit of ANY product like this is largely lost if it is used non-stop. Warming muscles up in a gentle way is a very rational thing to do, but IMO no special products are required.
I just ordered the fleece exercise/quarter sheet (and posted here about it maybe a week ago before ordering it...). I will be receiving it on Monday, so in about four days. Some people responded to my thread about it, if you are interested in looking there.
I am in a similar boat as you, with a horse that has some hind end problems that seem to be worse in winter. My plan is to put the quarter sheet on as soon as I get to the barn, groom with it on, and then do my whole ride with it on (at least on days we are just flatting and not jumping). Then I plan to leave it on until I am ready to put his blankets on for the night. The BOT information all says that the product actually works better if you leave it on while working, so I figure this is a good plan. I debated on the mesh full sheet, the back pad, etc., but ultimately decided the fleece exercise sheet would be the most versatile for him (his problems are also farther back - SI and butt area).
I figure, worst case scenario is that I end up with a more-expensive-than-usual quarter sheet that doesn't give me any magical benefits. I have used the BOT no bows, and I do think they work better than regular no bows for reducing inflammation and keeping it away. Others I have known really do like the BOT products as well, and they are people who are generally skeptical about such things.
Thanks for the advice! I ordered a regular fleece quarter sheet that should be here soon. I know someone who is going to have BOT products on sale in a few months so I think I am going to wait and get the back pad or sheet. candico what kind of a heating pad do you use on your horse?
I think I like mine, but honestly, the horse has been mostly out of work for other reasons so I have not had a lot of ability to test it out. I did ride in it twice, and he went well...I'm not sure if that was due to the quarter sheet or...?
I did use it on an old injury of mine when I first got it. I have a metal rod in my femur and some arthritis in the knee on that side from the same accident wherein I broke my femur. My knee was bothering me, so I used the BOT quarter sheet on it. It made my knee swell up massively, but it immediately felt better and then stayed feeling better. So, I definitely think the product does *something*!
Thanks! I have been using a regular quartersheet and have noticed improvement. I know a BOT sale happening in a few months so I think I might get the full sheet to use when needed during winter to help his muscles. I am glad you let me know that it does seem to make some ditterence.