Versatile and easy to use!
Hello Horse Nation! It’s time for another product review. This time I’m going to review the Equomed Lumark Tendon Compression Boots.
It seems that with performance horses it’s really not ‘if’ they will hurt themselves, but ‘when.’ While I do everything in my power to minimize my horses’ chances to maim themselves, the daily wear and tear they experience from training alone can certainly add up and take a toll on them. Being the incredibly perceptive, and tragically obsessed DQ that I am, I spend a fair amount of time giving myself an ulcer over whether or not my horses’ legs look funny/lumpy/filled/asymmetric/puffy/fill-in-the-blank-with-something-abysmal-and-career-ending/etc (this is a gross hobby; I don’t recommend it). In an attempt to stifle my slightly paranoid crazy, I like to do a fair amount of preventative maintenance on my horses.
One of the most popular forms of preventative maintenance is cold therapy. While there is some question about its efficacy, the anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that cold therapy is quite effective for both preventing and treating multiple soft tissue injuries. Essentially cooling the area not only initially provides temporary numbness and pain relief it also decreases the blood flow which lessens the inflammation and the potential damage said inflammation may cause. While some inflammation is necessary to the healing process, too much can cause additional damage to the tissue and increase the healing time.
Most studies suggest that the absolute best way to use cold therapy is full immersion of your horse’s leg(s) in buckets of ice water. Although I’m all about ‘go big or go home,’ I can’t say I’m on board with this particularly cumbersome method. Especially not as a daily or even weekly thing (I’m neurotic but not THAT neurotic). And so I began my quest for the next best option that was effective but also relatively convenient. Enter the Equomed Lumark Tendon Compression Boots.
On my quest I’ve tried multiple types of ice-boots, with some being decently effective and less tedious than others, but the general consensus seemed to be that if they were easy to use they were ineffective and if they were effective they were obscenely onerous to use. One of the biggest issues I have had with most ice boots is that they do not seem to cool the leg evenly. Additionally, the ice boots with the ice pockets or packs built in do not seem to get, or stay, as cold so they don’t do a super job of really cooling the leg. The boots with removable ice packs get much colder and seem to do a better job cooling the leg, but they are relatively annoying to put together to use. Both types of boots seem to fit the leg awkwardly, often sliding down to rest around the fetlock.
The Equomed boots somehow manage to avoid all of these pitfalls.
Construction-wise, the boots feature a durable shell with removable ice gel inserts that Velcro into them. The ice gel in the inserts gets quite cold and retains it well while also remaining malleable and easy to manage; there is no great effort required to assemble the boots as the soft gel easily forms to the outer shell and velcros into place. The boots also feature a removable hose so that air may be pumped into the outer shell for compression and the hose then removed to avoid your horse destroying it. The compression aspect makes the boots fit more snugly and allows for more even and thorough cooling of the leg.
As mentioned above, I like to try to avoid as many potential injuries as possible which means that so far I have largely used these as preventative maintenance for my horse (rather than while dealing with an acute injury). Generally I use them a few times a week post ride; particularly if he’s had an especially heavy workout. I keep the gel packs in the freezer and have had no trouble with them freezing solid or being difficult to apply. Per the instructions I generally apply the boots, pump about eight times to compress the gel pack to the leg, and then leave them on for about 20 minutes. After the application my horse’s legs are quite cool to the touch and tight. Although I’ve fortunately not had to use them yet for an acute injury (knock on wood!), given how easy they are to use and how well they seem to cool the leg I wouldn’t hesitate to use them for any instance that required cold therapy.
In addition to being outstanding for cold therapy, these boots have the added bonus of being able to double as heat therapy as well! The unique gel in the packs may also be heated by being placed in warm water (they recommend a temperature of 160 degrees F) for 20 minutes. After that the gel packs are inserted into the outer boots and applied just like with the cold therapy (again with the eight or so pumps to compress them). According to their brochure, heat therapy is recommended for warming up before work as a way to possibly reduce tension and reduce potential injuries. Heat therapy is also often recommended (following initial cold therapy) 72 hours after an injury to help facilitate the healing process as it will increase blood flow to the site.
Essentially these boots are an excellent tool to have in your arsenal to help maintain the health and soundness of your horse. I find that for the majority of horses that I ride, the tendon boots are the most universally useful, but Equomed also makes hock boots, knee or fetlock boots, hoof boots, and an entire assortment of other therapeutic products. While I’m certainly not a veterinarian, I think that both hot and cold therapy have their uses and can be quite effective in certain instances. These boots work equally well at providing either and do so in an impressively convenient way.
Morgane Schmidt Gabriel is a 32-year-old teacher/artist/dressage trainer/show announcer/ who still hasn’t quite decided what she wants to be when she grows up. A native Floridian, she now lives in Reno, NV, where she’s been able to confirm her suspicion that snow is utterly worthless. Though she has run the gamut of equestrian disciplines, her favorite is dressage. She was recently able to complete her USDF bronze and silver medals and is currently working on her gold. Generally speaking her life is largely ruled by Woody, a 14.2 hand beastly quarter horse, Willie, a now gawky 5-year-old Dutch gelding, and Stormy, her friend’s nearly all white paint gelding with a penchant for finding every mud hole and pee spot in existence. Visit her website at www.theideaoforder.com.