Important structures in your horse’s legs can get very hot during strenuous exercise and the best cool boots for horses are designed to cool them down quickly and easily. Should an injury have occurred, this will need to be cooled effectively to help avoid further damage caused by excessive swelling. There are many products available that aim to cool the soft tissue in the horse’s legs such as therapy boots, ice bandages and wraps. If you are at a competition, you might not have access to ice or a freezer so you may want to consider water-cooled boots, even though they are generally found to be slightly less effective than boots using ice or ice packs. Remember that ice should not be directly applied to your horse’s skin as it can cause burns, but there are now a range of products available to avoid this problem while providing effective cold leg therapy.
Horse & Hound has been working with a number of professional riders, trainers and yards to put a range of products to the test in a busy yard environment. And here are the results…
Meet the product tester
The cool boots in this group test were trialled by professional event rider Sam Jennings, who started her eventing career in 1999 as a young rider and was shortlisted for the British team that year. Sam successfully competes a range of event horses up to advanced level , from her friendly, professional yard in Kent. She also regularly holds clinics and teaches private lessons around Kent and Sussex.
Horse & Hound’s pick of the best cool boots for horses
*BEST IN TEST & BEST VALUE*
“I found these boots were very effective as the ice packs came out the freezer very cold and they cooled the horses’ legs by about 6 degrees*. They were very easy to put on, didn’t move and are great value for money. I can’t fault them.”
“These boots were very quick and easy to put on and were very well designed so they cooled all the important areas of the horse’s legs. After around 20mins of wear, they cooled the legs by approximately five degrees*. As they were so easy to put on, they were great for horses that come off the cross-country slightly “wired”.”
“You did need to soak these boots a lot longer than the instructions suggested and they didn’t cool the legs as much as a pair using an ice pack and freezer would (cooled by around 2 degrees*). But they were easy to put on, had good coverage and did cool the leg slightly without using ice.”
“These cool boots did prove very easy to use, as all you needed to do is soak them in cold water and put onto the legs. They did cool the legs to some extent, but not as much as some of the others in the test group (cooled by approximately 2.5 degrees*). The Velcro was very tough and hard-wearing, plus they didn’t slip.”
“The ice packs came out of the freezer not as cold as the other ice packs we tested. As a result they didn’t cool the legs as effectively (cooled about 3 degrees*). They did also prove very complicated to use and took a while to put on, plus I found they didn’t evenly cool all the areas of the leg.”
* How the reduction in leg temperature was measured for these reviews
Sam used an infrared non-contact digital thermometer to measure the temperature of the horses’ legs immediately after work and then again after the cool boots had been applied to the legs for 20mins. This test was repeated across different horses after different types of strenuous work (fast work, jumping, cross-country, etc) and an average temperature reduction was worked out. These tests were undertaken in the environment that the boots are designed to be used and so the temperature drop recorded may have been affected by environmental factors.
Horse & Hound is in the process of testing a wide range of equestrian kit, clothing and equipment, the results of which will be published on HorseandHound.co.uk
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