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.

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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!

review: farm house tack

wanted to share a great buying experience with y’all! i highly recommend farm house tack, a brick-and-mortar and online retailer.

in my hunt for a pair of ice-vibe boots to help auto through his rehab, i came across a listing on english tack trader for a new pair at about $10 under the lowest retail i’ve seen. not the best savings, but enough for me to inquire about their availability.

horseware ice-vibe boot. photo from farm house tack website.

so i reached out to the poster (jessica), and in our chatting discovered that she was representing FHT. since i was going to take advantage of the small savings and purchase the ice-vibes, i figured why not browse the store’s online listings and see if there was anything else i might want to grab.

well, then i came across these magnetic stable boots at a significant discount.

veredus magnetik stable boots

what’s that i hear, a loud collective groan from y’all? i get it. i know all the evidence of “successful healing” from magnets is anecdotal. but, i scoured the reviews (while chatting with jessica) and coth (oy!)), and decided why the hell not try them. at such a significant discount, it was worth it to me to take the chance that they may or may not help. (and yes, my horse gets acupressure/body work and chiro, and i am a FIRM believer in acupuncture.)

so back to my great experience at FHT. jessica had pulled the ice-vibes for me and was patiently waiting for me to finish my shopping when i inquired about the veredus boots. i couldn’t find info on sizing anywhere! so she pulled the boots for me and gave me the sizing info from the packaging. (that’s excellent service!) then, i had the dollar sign crisis: “I can’t afford both, but i want both!”

so she waited for me to decide. while browsing COTH for feedback on ice-vibe and magnetic boots, i came across many accolades for the ice horse brand (used by none other than Rich Fellers and Flexi!), and specifically their tendon wraps. at a much more affordable price point, i found my solution. I could get both!

ice horse tendon wraps

so i called jessica to give her my credit card info for the purchase. she was lovely to chat with, commiserated with me about the cost of horse ownership, and wrapped up my purchase quickly. within a few hours, i had my shipping label!

i couldn’t be happier with my experience with farm house tack. i will absolutely return to them for future purchases!

now, let’s all good vibes that auto gets the go-ahead for rehab, and that the combo of voodoo magnets and ice help him recover quickly!