Last Updated on February 10, 2022 by Cinthia
Ice boots for horses are a stable essential, even though it might not be a daily-use item. Whether your use is for injury recovery, prevention, or even cooling-down, we’ve picked the best ice boots for horses to make shopping a little easier.
Uses of Equine Ice Boots
The design variation in ice boots can designate a boot’s best method of use. Despite these differences, the primary use of ice boots is to treat and help prevent limb injuries. Due to the increased use and high-performance demands of the modern horse, their bodies are not always capable of handling introduced workloads. With better injury diagnostics, more at-home rehabilitation options are coming out. Some gel boots are used by horse owners as part of a daily cool-down routine, while others keep boots on hand for injury treatment at-home.
The use of cold therapy is a common treatment in horses, just as it is with humans. However, it can be tedious (and sometimes dangerous) to cold hose an injured horse for an extended period of time. It is especially difficult if the injury is not restricted to a single area for the hose, or if owners are unable to regulate hose temperature. Thus, ice boots are an essential barn item. Cold therapy reduces swelling, tissue injury, and helps flush the area of excess fluids and constricts blood vessels. Once the affected area re-heats and blood flow increases, healing is expedited. Accelerated recovery time means a happier horse, and more time in the saddle.
Heat therapy is also a popular rehab method used at home. Some of the products below pull double-duty as heat and ice therapy boots depending on your horse’s needs. This can save money in the long run, especially for owners interested in utilizing cold therapy in conjunction with heat from ceramic infused products.
Top Picks For Horse Ice Boots
CryoChaps are our top pick in equine ice boot therapy. This full wrap design is sold as a set of 4 (making that sticker-shock price a whole lot more bearable)! The cold therapy doesn’t just apply a cooling sensation but is created to mimic the therapeutic properties of an actual ice bath or full cold-water submersion. The slight compression with the cold helps prevents and treat micro-trauma to tissues and relieve soreness. This design is one-size, created for larger ponies of 14 hands up to 17.2 hand horses! They are easy to apply, clean, and reuse. The boots lay completely flat for easy freezing and have excellent coverage. Once frozen, the boots maintain a cool temperature due to the quick-freeze gel inside. Even larger horses will benefit from full-tendon coverage with this anatomical design.
- Very adjustable fit
- Slight compression
- Quick freeze
- No over-knee/over-hock option
- Expensive price tag
Although Magic Gel makes predominately human recovery items, this horse ice boot is a home-run! This is our number one pick for an economy boot. As a company policy (not just retailer-specific), horse boots are BOGO (buy one get one) half price! Many ice boots are sold as singles, especially more economical brands. Not only does this boast an attractive price tag of $21.99, but a second boot runs half this! Like other modern boots, Magic Gel is a quick-freeze gel option which can be laid flat in the bottom of a freezer. The viscosity gel remains flexible, even straight out of the freezer. The boot is a 16″ item with durable Velcro straps. Despite the non-contouring design, the strap positioning allows owners to snugly attach and appropriately shape to their horse’s leg.
- Quick freeze gel
- Great quality for the price
- The material can get too cold (may need to add a layer between boot and skin)
- Doesn’t contour as well as other brands
ICE-VIBE boots may have a higher price tag, but double as both heat and cold treatments! This design is significantly different from the standard ice boot. These provide a massage effect (charger included) designed to increase the movement of your horse’s lymphatic system. Even with an adjustable fit, these are contoured specifically for a horse’s lower leg and work for the front and hind limbs. They utilize inserts (either hot or cold) rather than freezing the entire boot. The newest models also feature a smooth material to help repel dirt and shavings for stall use.
- Ideal fit
- Added a massage for circulation
- Sold as a pair
- More pieces to keep up with
- Short height for a limited range
Professional’s choice always delivers high-functioning products with reasonable price tags. This boot is almost 2′ in length (23″ tall), for use on the entire lower limb. The 9-pocket design allows use from above the knee/hock, or complete use down to the pastern. Even with such an encompassing length, the pockets and fasteners allow a customized fit to keep the boots snug on your horse. These come with a six-month warranty, and they are sold as a pair rather than singles! Due to the size and design, these boots are filled with ice rather than a frozen insert and can be used on both rear and front legs.
- No freeze time if ice is available
- Covers more area
- Moderately priced
- 6-month warranty
- Inconvenient to fill
The Horze Finn Tack ice boot has 24 gel pouches that remain pliable, even directly out of the freezer. This is another economical choice, but boots are only sold as singles. It is a standard one-size-fits-all design (16.5″ tall and 15.5″ wide). This is a no-frills quality and well-made ice boot. However, the material is a high denier and heavy-duty nylon to prevent rips or tears and withstand frequent use on livestock. The four fasteners allow a somewhat contoured fit and customized compression. Available in 4 colors, this is an excellent option if you need ice boots for “just in case” rather than scheduled use.
- Quality material
- Sold as a single
Unfortunately, most boots cannot contour to the shape of the hock or lack the size to effectively reach. Many horses suffer from various hock issues and greatly benefit from cold therapy in this area. Ice Horse is the official ice therapy product for US Equestrian. The hock wrap comes with 3 reusable ice packs and can stay cold for over two hours. Quadrispan anti-migration fabric keeps the boot in place while still breathable. They are now manufactured in both horse and pony sizes, and the contoured fit can be utilized with lower limb ice boots as well.
- Excellent contoured fit
- Targets a high-risk area
- Can be used with other boots
- Single function (hock-use only)
Although not as long as the full-leg ice boots above, the standard size Professional’s Choice ice boot is still a top pick. These still have a longer standard length to target below the knee all the way down to the pastern. The soft yet durable neoprene is lined with nylon for your horse’s skin protection and still uses quick-freeze gel pockets. They feature extended straps for a more customized fit for front or hind legs. The standard pair stands at 13.75″, and the taller version (our favorite) stands at 17″.
- Tall fit
- No-mess cooling
- Quality dirt-repelling material
- Sold as a pair
- Bulky to freeze (no inserts)
- Higher price
Talk about an all-purpose boot! Shires have created a joint boot suitable for use on knees, hocks, and pasterns where traditional boots may have trouble delivering proper compression and cooling therapy. In addition to the joint-specific design, cut-outs allow movement and the boot is dual-purpose. They utilize gel packs suitable for cold therapy (cooled in water or the freezer) or heated in hot water. The gel packs are microwave safe! These anatomical boots are easy to clean and sold in pairs with a very reasonable price tag, backed by reliable Shires quality.
- Sold in pairs
- Hot or cold use
- Great for all joints
- Horse size only
These are the matching limb boots to the above joint-relief boots. Although still only available in one standard size, these offer the same benefits as the Shires joint boots. They can be used for heat or cold therapy with easy-to-heat or cool gel packs. They are also sold as a pair and can be used in conjunction with the joint boots if needed. These are front and rear leg compatible and feature the same easy-to-clean neoprene material.
- Moderately priced
- Dual function
- Quality material
- Horse size only
It’s no secret horses are injury-prone. Even though we ask them to “make good choices” as we put them in turn-out, we know there is an injury risk in even the safest pastures. Performance and working horses are of course at an increased risk. Even if you don’t utilize ice therapy boots on a regular basis as part of your routine, they are a good product to have on-hand at the barn. It’s better to have them and not need them!
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What are horse ice boots for?
Ice boots they provide cold therapy to the lower leg and they are often used routinely after fastwork or strenuous exercise in order to cool the structures in the lower leg or for rehabilitation from injury. The best ice boots for horses should be made of a material that is resistant to abrasion and punctures, have a thick, durable urethane or rubber shell and provide enough space for the horse’s foot to move around comfortably. They should also be designed to be easily removed and cleaned if necessary.
How long do you leave ice boots on a horse?
Generally, you should apply ice for about 20 minutes three times a day. It’s important not to use ice for too long or too frequently because it can damage the skin. Make sure the ice boots you use fit properly and don’t restrict blood flow. If using traditional ice boots, it’s recommended to wrap your horse’s leg so that the ice is not in direct contact with the horses’s skin.
Are ice boots good for horses?
Ice boots are used in horse medicine as a treatment for various conditions, such as swelling, tendon injuries, or other conditions that cause inflammation. Ice boots are also used to reduce the swelling and inflammation of the legs and feet of horses after a race. In addition to these uses, ice boots can also be used to treat tendon injuries by cooling the tendon, and reducing the amount of inflammation and swelling. Ice boots are also used to prevent tendon injuries, by preventing the swelling and inflammation of the tendon.
Ice boots can be used in a variety of ways. Ice boots can be applied to the horse’s leg and foot immediately after exercise, or they can also be used after surgery or injury to help cool the area and promote recovery.
Do ice boots help with laminitis?
For most horses with laminitis, the answer is yes. Ice boots are one of the first steps in treatment, and they can be used for short-term or long-term management of laminitis. An ice boot is a simple design that is used to cool the fetlock and pastern areas of a horse. An ice pack is placed into the boot, and cooled water is circulated through the boot. The circulation of the water cools the boot and the horse’s pastern and fetlock area.
Laminitis is a painful condition that causes a horse’s hooves to become brittle and difficult to support horse’s body weight. It can occur in any horse, but it’s most common in horses with poor body conformation, older horses, horses that have been ridden too much, and horses that have been kept in high-stress situations.
How long do you ice a horse with laminitis?
Use of ice boots is often recommended for cases of acute laminitis as icing may slow down inflammatory processes and impede enzymatic processes associated with the deterioration of the laminar attachments. In case of severe laminitis icing should be prolonged. Some veterinarian experts suggest cooling horse’s feet for up to 72 continuous hours.
However, ice, whether applied to the hoof or to the foot, may cause frostbite in the frog and sole. Therefore it’s necessary to consult with the vet before deciding on this kind of therapy for your horse.