Equine ice boots and wraps that keep legs in shape
Ice boots are a special type of leg wrap designed for cooling the horse’s lower leg. They are effective in lowering the temperature of soft tissue, especially after exercise, to control heat and inflammation.
As with all horse quandaries, there is no single right answer. Ice boots are one method of cold-therapy. Some people only use cold-therapy in the instance of an injury. Others utilize cold-therapy as a preventative measure.
Yes, cold hosing does work. Depending on your barn’s setup, hosing legs, dealing with ice and buckets can be very messy and time consuming. Ice boots were created as a more convenient alternative to cold hosing.
Here’s a summary of our favorite ice boots:
|Product||Coverage||Cold Therapy||Heat Therapy||Massage|
|Tough 1 Ice Therapy Tendon Wrap||Tendon||yes||no||no|
|Cryochaps Front Boots||Tendon||yes||no||no|
|Ice Horse Single Hock Wrap||Hock||yes||no||no|
|Shires Hot/Cold Joint Relief Boots||Multiple||yes||yes||no|
|Horseware Ice-Vibe Boots||Tendon and fetlock||yes||no||yes|
|Premier Equine Cold Water Compression Boots||Knee to fetlock||yes||no||no|
|Professional’s Choice Full Leg Ice Boot||Full Leg||yes||no||no|
|Roma Ice Therapy Boot||Knee to Hoof||yes||no||no|
How to Use Ice Boots for Horses
Reducing the temperature limits blood flow, therefore limiting inflammation and tissue damage. If you haven’t used ice boots before, here are a few tips:
- If you are using cold therapy in response to injury, you should begin within 24-48 hours.
- The purpose of cold therapy is to reduce inflammation.
- It takes approximately 10 minutes to reduce the temperature of the area to the appropriate level.
- Total icing (cooling) time should not exceed 15-20 minutes on a particular area at a time.
- Don’t put ice directly against the skin—this can result in burns or other damage.
Now, let’s dig into some of the best options on the market!
Best Ice Boots for the Price
Tough 1 Ice Therapy Tendon Wrap
These boots are a great value at this price point. They utilize gel inserts to cool the leg. Customers agree that this is an easy product to use. Velcro closures are durable and keep the wrap from slipping—this product stays in place well.
This ice wrap is designed more for treating a tendon or ligament injury as contrasted to as a preventative measure. It is sold individually.
- Sizing: These boots come in three sizes—mini, horse, and draft
- How to Use: Freeze the entire boot before applying to the lower leg
- Coverage Area: Tendon (below the knee to the fetlock)
Best Ice Boots Money Can Buy
Designed to cover all major tendons and ligaments, these boots are fairly thin which means they won’t take up much freezer space. Developed to mimic an ice bath or cold water immersion, these boots work for compression as well as cold therapy.
These boots excel at both preventative measures and treatment of an injury.
They can be sold individually or in pairs depending on the vendor, so read carefully! To add to the price point, these boots are designed specifically for the leg (front or hind, right or left).
- Sizing: Horse-sized
- How to Use: Freeze the entire wrap before applying to the lower leg
- Coverage Area: Tendon and fetlock joint
Best Ice Boots for Hocks
Ice Horse Single Hock Wrap
These boots are specifically designed for the hock joint. The ice packs will mold to the horse’s leg for maximum coverage. They are advertised to stay cold for two hours or more. The fabric is designed for breathability and the Velcro closures ensure a tight fit.
These boots work for both cooling down after a workout or treating an injury to the hock. Sold individually, this product is made in the USA.
- Sizing: Horse and pony sizes available
- How to Use: Freeze the three ice packs, insert into boot, then apply to the leg
- Coverage Area: Hock joint
Best Ice Boots for Hot and Cold Therapy
Shires Hot/Cold Joint Relief Boots
These versatile boots can be used for hot or cold therapy. An added bonus? They work on any of the leg joints—knees, fetlocks, and hocks. The ergonomic design utilizes flexible neoprene and cut-outs for movement. Gel packs are removable and neoprene is hand-washable.
Useful as both a preventative measure and to treat injuries, these boots are extremely versatile! Sold in pairs. Be sure to use caution when handling the gel packs to avoid tears.
- Sizing: One size
- How to Use: Remove gel packs from neoprene. Heat in hot water or the microwave. Cool in cold water or the freezer.
- Coverage Area: Joints—hocks, knees, and fetlocks
Best Ice Boots for Cold Therapy + Massaging
Horseware Ice-Vibe Boots
These boots come with a hefty price tag, but they check all the boxes. The inserts can be heated or cooled for either hot or cold therapy. In addition, these boots include a massage therapy element to help boost circulation, stimulate healing, and reduce soreness. The massage feature can be activated with an on/off button and automated timer.
These boots are used as both a preventative measure and to treat injuries. Sold in pairs, customers say they are both easy and convenient to use.
- Sizing: Full or X-Full
- How to Use: Remove inner packs to heat or cool prior to use. Activate massage feature using on/off button and automated timer.
- Coverage Area: Tendon and fetlock joint
Best Ice Boots with Compression
Premier Equine Cold Water Compression Boots
These boots are unique in that they cool the leg without needing ice or refrigeration. Soak the compression boots in water and the advanced formulation will release energy to lower the temperature 6-12 degree below ambient. These boots provide uniform cooling once activated by water.
This product is best used as a preventative measure, as it doesn’t provide the same level of cold therapy as an actual ice boot.
It is, however, extremely convenient! Combined with its compression capabilities, this boot is an excellent choice.
- Sizing: Small, Medium, Large, and Extra Large
- How to Use: Soak boots in cold water for 5-8 minutes before applying to the leg. Never apply a dry boot to the horse’s leg. Don’t soak boots for >30 minutes. Keep the boot saturated during use.
- Coverage Area: Tendon and fetlock joint
Best Full Leg Ice Boots
Professional’s Choice Full Leg Ice Boot
These boots are great as they cover the whole leg—hock or knee down. The neoprene exterior is easy to clean, while the interior is lined with nylon to eliminate risk of skin damage from direct contact with ice. The ice pockets are built-in, so you freeze the entire boot. The downside? These boots are pretty big and may take up a lot of space.
This product is sold in pairs and can be used for either preventative measures or to treat an injury.
- Sizing: One Size
- How to Use: Activate by pacing in a freezer until frozen. They can be transported in a cooler for application later. For even better performance, wet the horse’s legs before application.
- Coverage Area: Knee or hock to hoof
Best Overall Ice Boot
Roma Ice Therapy Boot
We selected this boot as the Best Overall because of its customer reviews (people LOVE it!) combined with its reasonable price point. Easy to use, this boot is adjustable and stays in place. It is also noted for durability over time.
This product works great for treating injuries, but can also be used as a preventative measure. Sold individually, this is a popular option to have in the freezer (ready to go) in the event of an injury or strenuous workout.
- Sizing: One size – 16 ½” L x 16” W
- How to Use: For maximum use, freeze boot for 5-6 hours before use. Don’t leave it on for more than 20 minutes at a time.
- Coverage Area: Knee to hoof
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are ice boots for?
Ice boots are designed to deliver cold therapy to the horse’s limbs either as a preventative measure or to treat an injury.
Different ice boots have different features—for example, some are also useful for heat therapy, while others have compression or massaging capabilities.
Q: When should you use ice boots?
Different horse owners, barns, and veterinarians have varying opinions on this topic. Some will use cold therapy, or specifically ice boots, as a preventative measure. For example, you may opt to cold-hose your horse’s legs after a particularly strenuous workout, or you could apply an ice boot.
Others will utilize ice boots to treat a specific injury such as a strained ligament.
Q: How long do horse ice boots last?
Horse ice boots can stay cold for up to two hours, but you shouldn’t keep them on for longer than 20 minutes at a time.
If you’re looking for an extra burst of cold, you can soak the ice boots in a bucket of water with ice before applying them to your horse’s legs.
A good pair of ice boots can last a few years if you take good care of them. You can get your horse used to them by starting slowly, with no ice, and for only five minutes at a time. Reward with his favorite treat.
Q: How do you make ice boots for horses?
If you don’t want to invest in a pair of ice boots or find yourself needing something fast, here is a simple DIY solution.
The best part? It uses freezer pops, so you can take one for yourself as a refreshing treat. Take a sheet of the pops (once they’re frozen) and wrap them around your horse’s leg (this works best around the cannon bone). Use a polo wrap or leg wrap to secure the pops in place and remove them after 20 minutes.
You can refreeze the pops for future use if needed.
Q: What other features should you look for in ice boots?
A few factors to consider when evaluating ice boots:
- What’s your budget? Be sure to read the fine print—some boots are sold separately, others in pairs, or sometimes they are sold in sets of 4.
- Sizing may need to be a factor. Some boots are “one size fits all,” which realistically won’t translate well if you have a small pony or large draft breed. Utilize sizing charts or ask questions if you are unsure!
- Do you plan to use the boots on a regular basis (preventative measure) or have them on hand in the event of an injury? For daily use, you may be better off investing in a more durable (and likely more expensive) option.
- Do you want ice boots that have any additional functionality, such as removable gel packets, flexibility to be used elsewhere on the horse, compression, or heat therapy capabilities?
Ice boots can be a great investment to keep your horse happy, healthy, and sound. Whether you utilize them for prevention or to treat an injury, they are a great tool available to horse owners. Be sure to consider all the available features to determine what will work best for your intended use and budget.
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- https:// www.horseandhound.co.uk/buyers-guides/best-cool-ice-cold-horse-boots-628855
- https:// horseracingsense.com/the-6-best-ice-boots-for-horses-legs/
- https:// www.smartpakequine.com/content/video/guidelines-for-icing-a-horse-s-legs
- https:// practicalhorsemanmag.com/health-archive/proving-the-effectiveness-of-ice-boots
- https:// www.besthorserider.com/ice-boots-for-horses/