If you’re looking to up your therapy/rehab game, don’t miss Horseware Ireland’s Ice-Vibe® therapeutic horse boots. They combine the benefits of cooling with massage therapy. And, horses just like them.
I won’t lie. I’ve been eyeing up Horseware Ireland’s Ice-Vibe® Boots for years. This is not an exaggeration. Literal years. Probably since Mac’s first major injury that required/would benefit from regular icing. That was my first true introduction to the benefits of circulation therapy for horses’ legs.
Sure, I knew that circulation therapy could help speed healing and reduce swelling, but I didn’t fully understand the benefits of vasodilation when it comes to healing an injury (unfortunately my initiation into this world came along with a number of vet bills, but I digress…). What’s so cool about the Ice-Vibe® Boots is that they combine the benefits of cold with massage therapy. The aim here is to reduce pain and inflammation, increase circulation and stimulate healing.
Going in to my use of the Ice-Vibe® Boots, I had no doubt about the effects of the ice, but I was skeptical about the massage effect. Not because I doubt the benefits of massage (I am a certified equine massage therapist, after all), but because my mare tends to be a bit … particular about things that vibrate being near her. She’s not a spooky mare (she is a mounted shooting horse, after all), but she strongly dislikes PEMF (pulsed electromagnetic field) therapy, barely tolerates the massage gun, and generally is full of a lot of opinions. Therefore, I wasn’t sure how she would handle the massage effects of the Ice-Vibe® Boots.
Boy, was I surprised.
Mac not only tolerated the Ice-Vibe® Boots, but clearly liked them.
Getting her to stand still for stretches of time in the crossties has always been a challenge. We’re always working on patience. Even after more strenuous rides. However, when I put on the Ice-Vibe® Boots, Mac relaxed, stood, and enjoyed her time with them.
I will fully admit that I turned them on with trepidation — especially given that I was bend over near my horse’s feet while pushing the start button. Mac’s reaction was anticlimactic (translation: there was none). During my initial test of the boots, I put them on the lowest setting. However, during the next sessions, I increased the intensity to both medium and high. All three settings yielded the same results: a horse who stood and patiently received her therapy.
Mac liked them so much that I knew immediately when the massage cycle had ended — that’s when she would begin getting antsy in the crossties.
When I took the boots off my horse, I was pleased with the results. Her legs were cold and tight, and once I figured out how to place the cold packs correctly, it was clear that they were doing what they set out to do: add cold and massage to the ever-important soft tissues in my horse’s legs.
In addition to my horse’s reaction to the boots, here’s what else I really like about them:
Ease of set up/use
The Ice-Vibe® therapeutic boots are designed to work nearly anywhere on any horse. They arrive in a compact package, complete with cold packs, massage insert, charging cable, carrying case, and adaptors for nearly every type of power outlet. The preparation for usage is straight forward — freeze the cold packs and charge the massage inserts.
As I continued to test out the boots, I wanted to make sure they made sense for riders who show, trail ride, and travel away from their home barn. This is not a problem. The boots arrived in a convenient carrying case, that makes hanging them in the trailer or toting them around simple. There also is the option to purchase an Ice-Vibe® Cool Bag to keep the cold packs cold while you’re away from the barn (I put mine in the cooler next to my post-ride beverages, but to each their own).
The Ice-Vibe® therapeutic boots do well to conform to the horse’s leg. Both the cold packs and the boots themselves are designed with leg shape in mind. That keeps them from being bulky, and allows them to target horses’ tendons and ligaments.
I will admit that I had a small learning curve when it came to putting the cold packs on correctly, but that is user error, not a design flaw (I always have to play around with fit until I completely understand how it should go). Fortunately, they are labeled specifically for people like me.
It’s not often that the quality of an item lives up to the hype or the price tag. However, Horseware Ireland’s Ice-Vibe® therapeutic boots do just that. The velcro is strong and secure, the stitching is clean, and there is just the right amount of stretch to ensure a proper fit. The quality and attention to detail is readily apparent when handling the boots.
Overall, I am very pleased with effectiveness of the Ice-Vibe® therapeutic boots — so much so that I am eyeing up their hock and knee wraps. (Maybe I’ll put those on my holiday wish list… ) My horse likes them, I like them, and the benefits of the cooling and massage therapy cannot be denied. I look forward to continuing to use the boots to keep my horses healthy and sound.
*All photos by author unless otherwise noted.