Alternatively Titled: People Ask ‘Isn’t It Too Much?’ But I’m Like, ‘It’ll Never Be Enough!’
Originally published in the SmartPak blog. Written by SmartPaker Lauren Drew.
Some people collect saddle pads, bits, or halters… I collect therapeutic gear (and okay, fine, I may collect those things too). When I found out SmartPak was making our own therapy line, I was so excited! While SmartTherapy® has since expanded to include icing options, our initial launch focused on ceramic therapy.
As SmartPak’s copywriter, it’s my job to convey to our customers what a product does and describe it accurately. I’m also a self-proclaimed nerd, so even though I was already familiar with the basics and working closely with our lovely staff veterinarian, I set off to do a deep dive. What I found was incredibly cool! Research studies have established that ceramic far-infrared radiation (cFIR) increases blood flow to promote the body’s natural healing process, which improves recovery and may help decrease inflammation.
So, how does SmartTherapy harness this? Our ThermoBalance® fabric is infused with ceramic particles, which absorb the horse’s body heat and reflect it back as far infrared rays to activate the therapeutic benefits. And the better question, does it really work? My horse Enzo will tell you a resounding YES! Without further ado, here are the SmartTherapy items I have and why I love them:
If my SmartTherapy collection was a monarchy’s treasure hoard, the mesh sheet would be the crown jewel. The pièce de resistance. The crème de la crème, if you will. This is the thing I do not shut up about and recommend to everyone. As I mentioned earlier, I love therapeutic gear and have tried everything under the sun. This is by far my favorite of the sheets I’ve had! Enzo hates the cold but also overheats easily, so I needed something he could wear when nights started getting chilly without worrying he’d sweat if it warmed up. He has type 2 PSSM, so it’s important to make sure his muscles stay loose and comfortable.
This sheet is nice and light thanks to the ceramic ThermoBalance® material covering key muscle areas and having airy mesh everywhere else. The design works incredibly well to vent any excess heat, I’ve been so impressed by it!
On nights that are cold but not quite cold enough to move to a turnout sheet, I add the coordinating SmartTherapy® ThermoBalance® Ceramic Mesh Neck Rug. Enzo is wearing a size large. As a note, if your horse is part giraffe like mine it may be a little short, but I’ve never had a problem with it falling down. This sheet may be the best fit I’ve seen from all the therapeutic brands I’ve tried! The sheet itself runs true to size – Enzo’s is an 81, which is what he typically wears in blankets.
While the mesh sheet is not intended for turnout and I would caution against using it on its own, I did use it layered under a blanket last winter for extra warmth and comfort on colder days. Thankfully I no longer have to risk it now that we’ve come out with a SmartTherapy Turnout Sheet!
Enzo had a supraspinous ligament tear a few years ago, and while healed, his back will always be a little more sensitive. Even in the dead of winter he’s been known to sweat through saddle pads, so I wanted a therapeutic option that wasn’t thick or heavy to use year-round. This one definitely fits the bill, it’s thin and lightweight without being flimsy and the breathable mesh top layer sets it apart.
Recently I’ve been using the pad on a horse with even higher withers than Enzo and it’s stayed in place throughout our rides, so A+ on that front.
As a note, the saddle pad is standard-sized, my jump saddle just has very forward flaps!
It also comes in a dressage version, which as an eventer I’m basically obligated to get too, right?
Used with SmartPak Standing Bandages
I got these standing wraps when Enzo had to be on stall rest for a hoof puncture (have you caught on yet why I stockpile therapeutic gear? My horse skipped accident-prone and jumped straight to disaster magnet). He tends to stock up if in a stall overnight, let alone for 8 weeks, so I knew he was going to need some extra support and also wanted to help speed up healing. He didn’t stock up behind once! Since he was wearing them daily, they got thrown in the wash a bunch and cleaned up great every time.
Because they worked so well for stall rest and he dramatically swells up like a balloon with any lump, bump, or scrape, I invested in a set for his front legs too. Sure enough, they’ve gotten plenty of use and still work like a charm every time.
Did I really need these? No. But also did I need them? Yes.
Knock on wood, Enzo does not have any ankle or tendon/ligament concerns. However, he does have a thin-soled hoof with subpar circulation, so I take every opportunity to get more blood flowing in that direction. Plus, they’ll be great to use on other horses I ride to give their hard-working legs some extra support.
I like that these polos aren’t super thick, so they’re not bulky and easy to wrap. As a bonus to the therapeutic lining, the outside is classic and gives a polished look.
You can find this and more on the SmartPak blog. Go SmartPak and go riding!