Why Ice Your Horse’s Legs?

Any time you notice an injury early on (within 48 hours of onset), ice is your best friend. Applied during an injury’s acute (early) stage, ice helps “shrink” blood vessels that swell and leak during the process known as inflammation. In fact, icing–especially during that critical 48 hours post-injury–can go a long way toward reducing the severity of a soft-tissue injury.

Ice also is a good “maintenance” tool for horses with chronic (recurring and/or long-term) problems. For instance, if your horse has a weakened tendon from an old injury, or a suspensory ligament that’s easily strained during exercise, he’ll greatly benefit from a routine icing following every session of hard work.

A third reason would be to help drop your horse’s body temperature due to overheating or fever. In this case, consult with your Veterinarian immediately as a fever (temperature over 101.5) or an overheating horse (temperature above 104) can be life threatening. 

To get the most from cold therapy, plan on icing his leg a minimum of 15 to 20 minutes, and a maximum of 45 minutes, three or four times a day.

How Cold Therapy Can Help: 

Horse Leg Therapy Cold therapy can improve a variety of conditions such as: tendon, joint, muscle and other soft tissue injuries by decreasing blood flow to the damaged area.

Cold therapy slows the metabolism of the surrounding tissue so it is less likely to suffer damage from swelling and constriction.

Cold Therapy Goals:

  • – Reduce Inflammation
  • – Reduce Swelling
  • – Dissipate Heat
  • – Alleviate Pain
  • – Slow Bleeding

Note: Icing your horse’s legs can help reduce inflammation caused by joint disease. 

For details, see “Jolted Joints,” Horse Care, Horse & Rider, April 2002.

AS ALWAYS: Talk with Your Veterinarian: If you have questions or concerns, your equine veterinarian will be your greatest asset. He or she can address problems that need to be handled or alleviate any unnecessary worry, or pain and suffering by your horse. It is a health care partnership, with your horse’s well being at the heart of it.

WHY HIDEZ over other Icing Techniques? 

Ice Socks now make icing your horses legs easier and more convenient than ever. 

Simple to put on by a large heavy duty zipper, just fill the pockets with ice and enjoy knowing your getting the benefit of icing the leg with the added benefit of Hidez compression! 

20 minutes later you unzip the sock, toss the ice, zip the sock back on the leg for continued compression therapy! Get busy or distracted? The ice melts, water will seep thorugh. Its that simple.

  • -Same amazing benefit of compression wear
  • -Use cubed or chunked ice from home, gas station, convenince store, concession stand, or hotel ice machine while on the road 
  • -Easy to put on and take off
  • -No wires, cords, batteries attached
  • -No need to worry about frozen packs while on the road or away from home
  • -No machines
  • -No need for a power outlet
  • -Ice from the knee or hock down past the fetlock
  • -No worry of these slipping down due to heavy duty, wide, adjustable Velcro above the knee/hock
  • -No heavy bags to tote around
  • -Nothing for a horse to get tangled in
  • -Machine washable
  • -Line dry
  • -Easy to store

PLUS – the added benefit of compression and massage effect on the horse’s legs stimulate faster drainage of lymphatic fluid and removal of unwanted toxins, contributing to maintaining healthy horse legs and a faster recovery of leg injuries through healthy rehabilitation.

Why Drainage of the Lymphatic Sytstem is Important: 

Because of their size and anatomy, horses have a very complex lymphatic system extending through their entire body parallel to the blood circulation system. The lymphatic system supports their body’s immune system. A horse has about 8,000 lymph nodes distributed throughout their entire body; humans have only about 400 to 600. Lymph nodes clean and detoxify lymphatic fluid given off from blood vessels in the horse’s body.

Overall, a horse’s lymph flow is relatively slow and kept up especially through movements. If a horse has to stand still for a prolonged period of time, stasis may occur in the lymphatic system, and legs may swell. To support the lymphatic system in such cases, the Hidez compression suit or compression socks may be used in addition to movement of lymph drainage.

Attention: Only use compression wear if the horse has no fever!

For the horse’s health and well-being, it is important that the lymphatic system works well.

More articles on how the Lymphatic system affects the horse: 


Why Hidez Compression Socks or Suit over Elastic Bandages or Standing Wraps?

Many horses restricted to being stabled will suffer from stable fill, or swollen legs. When they start to walk again, the lymphatic retraction process normalises and lymph starts to move out of the limb. As swollen legs in horses are generally not considered an illness, many owners will try to reduce swelling by using stable bandages over some form of padding. However, what really happens is that the swelling is pushed through the superficial lymphatic vessels to higher up the leg, and gives the illusion of having dispersed. In 2006 a large veterinary study was undertaken to examine the effect of different types of bandaging on the lymphatic vessels of the lower leg. This involved injecting a continuous stream of dye into the lymphatic vessels of horses under sedation and x-raying the effects.

Horses bandaged with the elasticated bandages were found to have significantly impeded lymph flow, compared to those bandaged with specially designed compression bandages. This is due to there being no muscles below the knee and hock to provide protection to these vessels and they end up being squeezed to such a point that they can no longer function properly. Horses’ tendons have been shown to contain a high density of lymphatic vessels as compared to blood vessels, so it is vital that these are not constricted. This highlights the need for further increased awareness of the clinical effects of bandaging on lymphatic performance. The authors of the study recommended that in the future, the materials and construction of both veterinary and equine sports bandages be reconsidered, due to the detrimental effect that elasticated bandages have on the deep lymphatic vessels.

– see full article comparing compression wear to elastic bandages


An interesting study compared the influence of traditional bandaging material with elastic compression garments on lymph flow in horse’s legs. Ten horses with a tendency for swollen legs were examined under sedation with lymphangiography. Movement of a continuous subdermal injection of x-ray contrast fluid through the lymph vessels of the horse’s legs was seen to stop with the use of traditional bandages, but maintained normal flow with the elastic compression garments (4).

The use of elastic compression exerts mechanical pressure on the skin surface stimulating circulation, rather than contributing to circulatory stasis. Equine compression garments offer evenly graded compression through fabric woven specifically for vascular support. The medical benefits of this type of elastic compression have been proven in human edema therapeutics. Few medical interventions produce so dramatic an effect for so little expense and effort.

A properly applied compression leg garment is the single most effective way to control the painful accumulation of fluid.

– see full article comparing elastic bandages to compression garments for horses

More info, and ordering at https://buyhidez.com