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How do you help your horse recover after cross country day?

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  • How do you help your horse recover after cross country day?

    Hi all,

    I loved eventing as a teenager, but only competed at the lower levels and now it's been many years since I was in the sport.

    However, I now compete in combined driving, which has a similar 3-phase format. My pony is wonderful and I'm careful to have him quite fit and prepared for our competitions. But now we've reached a higher competition level where I can tell that after going close to 15K on Saturday's marathon, he's understandably feeling it on Sunday for cones (similar to stadium in eventing). Just a general soreness/stiffness that he easily warms out of, and clears the vet check just fine. On the Mondays after a show, I almost see even more of an effect, sometimes even a subtle lameness for a day or so before he's back to his old self & ready to go back to work by Wednesday.

    So I'd like to ask for advice from my eventing friends because I know you are experts in making your horses feel better after a tough cross country day. What are your strategies, immediately after XC and over the next 48+ hours? Icing? Poulticing? Wrapping? What products do you like - ice boots? Magnetic blankets/boots?

    Sorry for the basic questions, but I know technology has come a long way and I'm sure practices have changed since my long-ago younger eventing days, so I feel a little out of the loop. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated! Thank you!

  • #2
    Ice, a gram of bute, and TURN THE CRITTER OUT. Mine are out on grass the moment they get off the trailer.

    Technology may have come a long way, but PROVEN technology? Bah. I have never been much for poultices, wraps, boots or such nonsense.
    Click here before you buy.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Hi deltawave, thank you so much for your reply, I definitely agree with your pro-turnout recommendation & am ok with giving a gram of bute now & then. Lord knows Advil sure helps me feel better after a long day.

      As for the ice, how do you apply it effectively, and when? Right after XC and for how long?

      Thanks again!

      Comment


      • #4
        On competition days, I use Wintergreen Alcohol as a brace mixed with water, when spongeing down after coming off of cross country. I use it full strength on the legs. I have Back on Track wraps, which brings down any filling in my mare's legs. I make certain to do a lot of hand walking, so she does not spend too much time stuck in the stall.

        If my mare seems stiff on Monday, then I make certain that she is turned out or hand walked. You can use Sore No More, Absorbeen or something similar deluted in water and sponge them down with it. You cannot use those at an event, because I believe that they will test.

        I just purchased ice boots, so I am going to give them a try this year. Of course, I am only a BN rider, so am not working quite at your level.

        OP,
        I believe that your question pertains to body soreness, rather than the legs?
        When in Doubt, let your horse do the Thinking!

        Comment


        • #5
          Ice legs/feet as soon as you can. 20 minutes on 30 minutes off then 20 minutes on again...and possible again in the morning. Soaked in buckets with the ice in water (to knees and to hock behind is ideal (so in a muck tub) but if your horse is fussy...however you can have them comfortably stand. Practice at home after conditioning rides. At HTs I typically just use ice boots with pockets and smaller buckets for their feet. Lots of fluids and lots of walking and stretching. I then poultice and wrap. I use sore no more on their large muscle groups right after xc...and sometimes use that with wraps rather than poultice. Pack their feet.

          Big events....having a really good person come and give them some body work is ideal. Technology has come a long way but a good massage is still the best. Giving fluids can also make a difference.

          I do have a back on track sheet that one of my horses seems to like.
          ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

          Comment


          • #6
            It has nothing to do with "technology" (which I put in quotes because much of it would be better described as gimmicks). If legs got pounded, give them some ice. The let them move around and leave them alone to rest.
            Life doesn't have perfect footing.

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              Thank you everyone for the advice!

              @Auburn, I guess my question is really for both body soreness and legs, since this event was the first time that he seems a little "off" in front today in addition to a general sense of his being body-tired. So I'd like to start being more proactive in his post-marathon treatments to help prevent any future problems or injury.

              I like the idea of ice boots if they are effective. Any particular brands that are favorites?
              Last edited by Whistling Dixie; Feb. 25, 2013, 10:38 AM. Reason: spelling

              Comment


              • #8
                leave them alone to rest.
                Bares repeating.

                So many people want to fuss, fuss, fuss with their horses (and I say this meaning ALL the time, but especially after a hard day). At some point they just need to rest, and they can't do it if they are constantly being poked, prodded, wrapped, unwrapped, hand grazed, jogged, and generally fussed over. Obviously, if there is an issue, it needs to be dealt with, but if the horse came through in fine order and you have done your after care routine, let them have a rest.
                Amanda

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                • #9
                  I ice right after xc if I feel like it needs doing. I do not ice if the outing was easy on the horse, footing good, no horse issues, etc. I prefer to stand them in tub trugs of ice/water but ice boots are OK, too. I have a few different ones, am not picky.

                  Yes, I also like to pack feet with pine-tar based stuff if the ground was hard.
                  Click here before you buy.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Whistling Dixie View Post
                    Thank you everyone for the advice!

                    @Auburn, I guess my question is really for both body soreness and legs, since this event was the first time that he seems a little "off" in front today in addition to a general sense of his being body-tired. So I'd like to start being more proactive in his post-marathon treatments to help prevent any future problems or injury.

                    I like the idea of ice boots if they are effective. Any particular brands that are favorites?

                    I do believe in rest too (after icing a little walk). If he was a bit "off" in front...I'd probably have a vet out. I would be worried he has a strain to a suspensory or something starting (maybe foot). I want to catch that right away. To me, they should never look "off". A bit stiff...ok...but off...get the vet out while they can see it. It is probably manageable...but I would want to know what is going on.
                    ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      We did the Training 3 day at GMHA a few years ago, and after XC, stood my mare in the stream for 30 minutes or so, walked her around for 30 minutes then repeated stream and walk before having some quiet time in her stall. She got Sore No More foot packing, Sore No More gelotion on her legs with standing wraps and a back/ hind quarter massage with gelotion before the barn was closed at night. Next morning a long stretchy walk and she trotted up beautifully.

                      I, on the other hand...
                      They don't call me frugal for nothing.
                      Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I like to ice 20 min on, 20 min off standing in tub preferably, twice after XC. I also pack feet with Magic Cushion if the going was harder than ideal or uneven. Back on Track wraps all around for support and Back on Track sheet if the horse has to be kept inside.

                        I also use massage if the horse seems a little body sore, but usually this can be avoided by proper conditioning.
                        No Trouble
                        2/2/05 - 7/29/13
                        Rest In Peace my quirky brave boy, I will love you forever.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Nothing seems to get the mare in a happy state after a strenuous bout of eventing better than a few ice cold beers and a pitcher of margaritas.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                            Ice, a gram of bute, and TURN THE CRITTER OUT. Mine are out on grass the moment they get off the trailer.

                            Technology may have come a long way, but PROVEN technology? Bah. I have never been much for poultices, wraps, boots or such nonsense.
                            this.
                            For horses other than greenies, I use standing wraps in the trailer on the way home.
                            When I get home I'll yank those off and then put on poultice with NO wraps. And turn the critter out. Mine are out 24/7 anyway.

                            Usually I'll give a gram of bute during the breakfast before schooling, dinner after schooling, and the next morning.
                            http://kaboomeventing.com/
                            http://kaboomeventing.blogspot.com/
                            Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!

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                            • #15
                              When I was running Jester around Preliminary, he would get sponged off with a brace directly after XC(you can use Sore No More, alcohol, etc). He was then iced for about 20 min, and either wrapped with Sore No More or Poultice for the ride home and for the night. During competition season, he went out at night(so hot during the day). Usually took his wraps off and I left the poultice on his legs with the poultice paper, and kicked his butt outside for the night with a gram of bute.

                              Next day he always has off. Usually I'll go brush the poultice off his legs, make sure there's no swelling etc, but other than that, I left him alone to rest. I'd usually hack him the next day, and back to work the following.
                              The Little Man

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                              • #16
                                Do you guys do the same thing for BN or N level horses?
                                "One reason why horses are happy is because they are not trying to impress other horses."
                                "Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear, or a fool from any direction"

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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Kalila View Post
                                  Do you guys do the same thing for BN or N level horses?
                                  I do. My horse is currently running Novice and I use Ice Horse ice boots every time. Better safe than sorry. She also gets a rinse with Vetrolin and then she's turned out.
                                  Proud owner of a Slaughter-Bound TB from a feedlot, and her surprise baby...!
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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Kalila View Post
                                    Do you guys do the same thing for BN or N level horses?
                                    nope. Don't do anything for them...typically don't do anything for them at Training level either. Maybe at most use a brace as a final rise after cooling off. I rarely even wrap them. If I had a horse with an old injury, that would be different. But at Training and below, it just isn't that hard for them. Most I do is pack feet if the ground is super hard....but if it is that hard, I'm usually not running anyway.


                                    What I was talking about earlier was more the after care for the big 3 days...where you are not going home and have to do stadium the next day after xc. There typically is not an option of turning them out that night. At regular HTs....we cool down and then use a brace. Ice their legs (typically just front legs) using a basic ice boot. Ice feet for horses who have more sensitive feet. Pack feet if footing harder and wrap typically with a brace for the ride home.

                                    I don't like to give them bute because I want to see how they feel to catch any injuries early.
                                    ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Kalila View Post
                                      Do you guys do the same thing for BN or N level horses?
                                      Not unless the horse had some sort of issue that warranted ice/bute. (history of injury, bad footing--which I usually scratch or trot the course--or it banged itself on a jump or something)

                                      Below Training, my horses work MUCH harder at home than they do at shows.
                                      Click here before you buy.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        The minute I get back to the barn I pull boots off, tack and walk to the wash rack and do a good linament bath. Walk and graze, then back to the barn poltice and wrap legs. I let that stay on for the long drive home, by that time it is night when we get home. Unload, give them dinner, unwrap and turn out and don't ride for 2 days. I will groom and check their legs for those 2 days!!!
                                        No Worries!

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