review: ice horse tendon boot

you might recall my excitement at not having to choose between a pair of magnetic therapy boots and an ice boot. well, after a month or so of use, i can tell you that i am still thrilled with my purchase of the magnetic boots, but not so much the ice boot.

auto has been back under saddle for about a week now. we’re taking road hacks as often as the weather allows. walking on the road is just what he needs to begin to redevelop the strength in his suspensory (i’m thinking “hard ground for soft tissue” will be an interesting post for another day), and to begin getting him fit overall again.

to stave off any inflammation, i have made it a point to apply the ice boot after we get back from our hacks, since we don’t have truly cold water from the hose. honestly, i think i’d rather stand in the wash rack hosing a wiggle worm horse than use the ice horse tendon boot. i think the design is really lacking in simple details that would make it more effective and easier to use.

image via smartpak

as you can see in the image from smartpak, the “ice” packs are long, single-cell packs that you insert into compartments inside the boot.

CCC_2_Legs_1then you fasten the compartments together around the leg and then fasten the boot wrap around them.

well, in my experience, the single-cell packs and the single velcro fastener have nothing on gravity. no matter how tightly i fasten the strap (and i’m loathe to fasten it too tightly), all the “ice” succumbs to the earth’s pull and oozes to the bottom of the pack–precisely not near auto’s high suspensory strain. UGH! not helpful, ice horse.

from what i can tell, all of ice horse’s “ice” packs are single-celled, but there are others on the market with multiple cells, such as these from professionals choice:

or these from reitsport:

i think i’ll try one of the multi-cell inserts in auto’s ice horse boot so that my purchase is not entirely a waste. but for future cryotherapy purchases, i will likely look to another brand.


buyer beware: not all shock wave therapy is created equal

ya’ll can probably tell that auto is still lame. i’m not the most prodigious blogger, but i would have been shouting from the rooftops if we had received the all clear for rehab. but no, that was not the case.

it’s not all bad. he’s definitely showing improvement, and dare i say there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel. in any event, he needed a follow-up from his follow-up, and i was suspicious he had some ulcers going on, so i called a different, highly recommended vet for an exam/second opinion.

at our april follow-up, auto saw the doc who diagnosed his suspensory strain in early march. he was given a cortisone injection in the ligament to “speed the healing.” he had sprung both his front shoes, so the doc was concerned that was a complicating factor. he prescribed shoeing and two weeks of walking under saddle (on soft ground. that seems really weird to me) before recheck. i wasn’t feeling all that confident in his instructions, but with the bare feet complicating things, i didn’t want to argue.

so, last friday auto got his shoes tapped back on. i saddled him up first thing saturday morning, excited to have my ass back in his saddle. well, that excitement quickly faded. he was as angry and reactive to my leg as he had been before: head straight up, ears pinned, wide eyes. i was deflated. we walked for a bit more, with very few/only absolutely necessary asks to yield to my leg, and i untacked him. i felt pretty confident i was dealing with ulcers (and kicking myself for not putting two and two together sooner), and palpated his ulcer points. DING DING DING. i immediately hit the internet for a plan of action, and decided i wanted a new vet. (more about the ulcers/treatment/rant about how this is related in another post.)

the doc came out on thursday, confirmed ulcers immediately and moved on to the suspensory. he proposed a shock wave session, and likely a second one in two weeks. i explained that auto had SWT when he was first diagnosed–not to avoid the present SWT session, but just as point of fact. the doc said, “great, i’m sure it helped, but let me give you a bit of info about different kinds of SWT.”

he brought out his machine, set it up, and explained that it is an extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) machine, rather than a radial SWT machine, which he believes is a less effective type of SWT for deep tissue injury. i had no idea there might be different types of SWT! i wrongly figured that shock wave is shock wave.

of course the SWT at the original diagnosing vet was radial. shit. the suspensory ligament runs nearly through the center of the leg. it is not at a superficial depth. thus the RSWT probably did diddly squat.

“Radial shockwaves are well suited for indications near the surface. Radial is indispensable for smoothing the muscles before or after focused shock wave treatment. For the therapy of deep local pain points, chronic insertion tendinitis and deeper trigger points, the application of focused [extracorporeal] shockwaves seems to be favorable.

VersaTron depth chart.  the doc used a VersaTron on auto.

VersaTron depth chart.
the doc used a VersaTron on auto.

so the new doc administered the session (no anesthesia, which really pleased me), and even let me feel the shock. when he finished up with auto he turned the machine down as low as it would go and held it to my arm. HOLY COW! and auto received 7 times the intensity and 1000 pulses. no wonder they usually sedate the horses. (don’t worry, auto wasn’t in pain, and handled his session like the champ that he is!).

doc told me that he once treated a 5/5 lame show horse with one session. when he returned in 14 days to do session two, the horse was .5-1/5 on the lameness scale. with the second session, the horse was sound. auto at this visit rated .5/5, so i feel hopeful, even though that is just anecdotal evidence. with one to two sessions of ESWT, his new nimble supreme supplement, his ulcer treatment, and feed changes, i am optimistic that he is on the mend.

i also feel angry that i didn’t know any better at his first session and that we’ve likely lost ten weeks of work to my lack of education. so, buyer beware. not all SWT is created equal. since it has become such a common and effective treatment modality for lameness, i urge you to know which type of SWT is right for your horse!

have had a couple great rides auf der autobahn this week. my boy sure knows when to step it up. this morning’s dressage ride was really terrific. to top it all off, found a few great pics from our first horse trial earlier this month. unfortunately, we ended with an E, but i got a great pic!

Troy Roane Photography

Troy Roane Photography


in other news, i thought i’d take the november 10. thanks L!

1. have you ever owned a horse?   yes, two. two others were mine in all but name.

2. what is your favorite aspect of your discipline? i love that eventing has forced me to be accountable for my riding, especially in dressage, and that i get to do all the things: dressage, show jumping, xc (xc especially).

3. what pet peeves do you have concerning your discipline?  i feel that the divisions are often unfairly mixed (in many regards).
4. do you do barn chores?  some. i do most of the handyman stuff for our team/tackroom/lockers. i always try to pick up after myself.5. what is your least favorite barn chore?  filling waters, unless cleaning up after others is a barn chore.

6. what do you consider the worst vice in a horse?  a bad work ethic. (i’ve never experienced a horse that rears on the regular, so i’m not factoring that in.)7. what saddle brand is your favorite?  i guess my own, adam ellis and albion.

8. do you ride with a quarter sheet in the winter?  yep. auto’s been wearing the back on track, and i’m pleased with it.

9. does your horse wear boots? what kind?  all the boots: majyk equipe front and hinds for both xc and sj. snazzy new white DSBs with black fleece for dressage. bell boots for every ride.

10. full seat or knee patch breeches? full. once i went down that road i could never go back (though i do have some schooling knps still in circulation).

quiet weekend

it was a quiet weekend auf der autobahn. we’ve had rain for the last two/three days, so himself had a few extra days off. i can’t say i minded. i did some epic napping and lots of reading this weekend, and scored lots of at-home points with the hubs. i was not on tap to show this weekend (sorry to you guys who had shows cancelled!), and had not planned to go to the barn on saturday. i went out on sunday to graze auto and clean all the tack.

himself looking regal (of course he has a dirt clod hanging out his mouth!)

himself looking regal (of course he has a dirt clod hanging out his mouth!)

on friday evening i endured rush hour traffic to make a stop at dover. i had to return a few pairs of breeches from an order they screwed up royally. of three breeches, only two arrived after a two week wait; one was not even close to the size i ordered and the other was way too big. of course the missing pair were probably the perfect pair.

i am desperate to try the cavallo chiara in grey with teal trim. (i mean, c’mon!)

it seems that dover is out of them in my size. so, in a fit of “try on everything in the store. must find breeches that i like and that fit!” i spent an hour between the racks and the dressing room, grousing to the clerks about my loathing of low rise breeches. another shopper–BLESS HER–said, “try the tailored sportsman trophy hunter. they’re not really that low-rise.” i scoffed at her, but grabbed a pair anyway. OH. MY. GOD. i did the happy dance.

i guess there were a few reasons i was so averse to the TS. first, all the hype. i rode in TS in the nineties when the fabric was NOT stretchy, the knee patches were leather, and you could only get green beige. i loved the look of them and, of course, their cache, but they were certainly not comfortable. second, the aforementioned hatred of low rise, which the trophy hunters proclaim to be. third, i have gravitated toward full seats, as they seem to be what you wear on XC, and you can’t get all the colors in full seat (ALL THE COLORS seemed to me to be the only draw to TS). but i am here to tell you, i was wrong. the fit was PERFECT. i was reminded that I LOVE SIDE-ZIP breeches. i will hold out hope that TS continues to expand its line to include more colors in the full seats. but for now, i am a happy rider.

i ordered a pair of the cavallos in a size (probably) too small, just so that i can feel like i did my due diligence. i’ll let you know if/how they work.

here’s to a drier week!

meadow creek park schooling

austin eventing ventured north to meadow creek park this weekend for an XC school and one-day schooling show. i decided not to show, as our dressage is pretty dicey and i feel strongly that we have no business showing at this stage in our development. i’m glad i made that call, for a few reasons. we had an exceptional time on XC and auto was the most adjustable horse he’s ever been. we’re making progress!

this pic makes my heart so full.

this pic makes my heart so full.

here are some pics from our weekend, in which you can see our XC turnout (that’s really all that matters on XC, right?). our colors are grey and teal (and black), and this is about as bold as it gets auf der autobahn. wondering if that grey pad disappears too much and should be black. what do you think? you can also see our jumping tack here, and i’ll follow up this post with my second “what’s in your tack trunk” expose!

i wrapped auto after XC and must have wrapped him too tightly. on sunday morning he had terrifying bandage bows on three of four legs. man, there is NOTHING worse than feeling like you’ve hurt your horse. i was devastated. by sunday night most of the inflammation was gone, but i’ve given him a few more days off and a couple doses of bute. crossing my fingers he’s no worse for the wear tomorrow. have any of you experienced this, and do any of you have experience/recommendations for quick wraps? i don’t think i’ll ever try to wrap again!

i jump-judged during the schooling show. it was so terrific to watch the upper division riders take on the weldon’s wall. jump-judging is a great way to learn by watching, and get schooling credits, too!

lesson recap

what a great week of lessons. two dressage, and one jumping/xc. auto is showing more ability (er, willingness) to pick up the left lead canter, and he’s becoming more adjustable in the gait. hooray!

xc gallop, meadowcreek park (sometime in 2014)

xc gallop, meadowcreek park (sometime in 2014)

we had a ton of fun schooling the new xc jumps at MEC (the barn where i board/ride). since i ride very early in the morning, and rush to get to work, i don’t have time to take pics. i will take some this weekend. how boring is a blog without pics!?!

dare i commit to the schooling show in two weeks? lisa thinks it’s a no-brainer. i am a little more (ok, a LOT more) cautious than she is when it comes to our ability to perform an obedient dressage test or show jump a rushy horse in front of a judge and spectators. so, i’ve been on the fence (har! see what i did there?) about sending in my entry. but, auto’s been pretty good and predictable lately, so i’m warming up to the idea.

show or not, i do need a new bit for jumping (especially on xc)–one that offers a bit more oomph to my rein aid. i’m pretty settled on the mouthpiece: either double-jointed snaffle with lozenge or waterford (he works nicely in both). but i’m not sure if i want beval, universal, or dutch gag cheeks. any of you guys have experience with those types of cheeks, or with the neue schule bits? i know bitting can be a contentious subject, so please be kind, but i’m also interested in feedback!