Our reviewer found many benefits to these cold therapy ice wraps, in particular the "good quality" fit they provided on her horses.
The benefit of cold therapy after exercise has been widely linked with increased recovery time for both human and horses. Also known as cryotherapy, the general theory behind this is that the cold exposure helps to decrease the pain and swelling associated with trauma after exercise and helps to initiate healing.
For optimal results it is suggested water of less than 10 °C is applied for 10–15 minutes. Cryochaps have been developed to allow horse owners with an easy way to provide this cold therapy for their horse’s lower legs.
The Cryochaps I have to test are a pair of horse hind legs. These are being used on a 16.2hh Irish Sports horse. The horse size is designed to fit a 15hh to 17hh horse and a pony version is also available to fit a 13hh to 14.3hh.
The chaps are made up of two components an ice gel section and a material section but these are all secured together. The ice gel part has been designed to ensure it will not freeze to the leg but will maintain a low temperature.
Stretch neoprene makes up the material section of the boot, which ensures a secure fit and provides compression to help aid recovery.
My first impression of the boots is that there is a lot to them and they are quite large. This is great in one respect as they have been designed to cover all major tendons and ligaments. However the downside to there being rather a lot of boot is finding room in the freezer for them.
The boots also come with a smart drawstring bag to store them in when they aren’t being used.
It is suggested for optimal cooling that you place the boots in the freezer overnight, but that they can be ready in four hours if you intend to use them straight from the freezer.
It is suggested that you use these boots post exercise for between 10–15 minutes. However, if you are using to aid in the recovery of an injury, they can be applied for 20 minutes. However there is no benefit attributed to leaving the boots on for any longer. If using for injury you can then re-freeze the boots and repeat the therapy every 2-3 hours for the first 24–48 hours.
Cryochaps suggest that the boots will remain cold to achieve effective cooling for up to two hours after removal from the freezer if kept in an insulated cooling bag.
I have no freezer at either the yard or in my lorry, so when I took these boots to test post cross-country at a one-day event they were removed from the freezer at 6am and not put onto the horse until 2pm. I put them in a good quality insulated freezer bag with two ice blocks and kept them out of the sun. It was a warm day and although the boots had definitely begun to thaw, I applied them to the horse’s hind legs for 15 minutes post cross-country and when removed the horse’s legs were cool to touch. So I felt they had adequately done the job required on a hot day after a run on firm ground.
I feel that they are better suited to someone that has a freezer in the lorry if they are to be used at shows, but they still did the job even after eight hours in a cool bag. I think that they would prove invaluable for use on an injury due to the good coverage that they give and if they were being taken straight to the yard from the freezer.
Overall, the boots are a great fit and the stretch neoprene ensures a good quality fit and provides compression alongside the cold therapy.