Last Updated on March 6, 2023
Even though they might not be a daily-use item, a versatile set of ice boots for horses are an essential piece of equipment for any stable yard or equestrian barn. 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.
What Are Ice Boots for Horses?
Ice boots for horses are soft, flexible wraps that fit around the limb of the horse. They are designed to be used temporarily to provide cooling to the leg of the horse.
There are many different designs of ice boots, depending on what they are intended to be used for:
- Some boots cool the leg using frozen gel packs, while others are soaked in cold water which activates a specialized cooling fabric.
- The size of ice boots varies from full-length models which cover the whole lower limb, through to smaller options designed to fit a specific area such as the knee or hock.
- Compression ice boots for horses apply pressure to the limb, ensuring maximum cooling and also helping to prevent swelling and inflammation.
- Ice boots for horses with laminitis fit over the hoof rather than the limb, cooling and reducing inflammation in the lower leg and hoof.
- Hot/cold boots, such as Arma ice boots, also offer the option of warm therapy to soothe aching legs.
- Some boots also offer the option of vibration or heat therapy, but these should only ever be used under the advice of your veterinarian.
What are ice boots for horses used for?
How ice boots can be used will depend on the design of the boot. The primary use of ice boots is to treat and help prevent limb injuries by cooling down the leg.
Due to the strenuous and highly-athletic demands, we put on the modern-day competition horse, we need to take great care to ensure that their bodies are capable of handling these heavy workloads. However, sometimes even with the best of care, injuries can happen.
With improved injury diagnostics in the veterinary world, more and more at-home rehabilitation options are coming out. Sometimes compression ice boots for horses are used by horse owners as part of a daily cool-down routine, while others keep boots on hand for the treatment and rehabilitation of injuries.
How Does Cold Therapy Help a Horse?
The use of cold therapy is a common treatment in horses, just as it is with humans. Traditionally, horse owners would cold-hose their horse’s legs after exercise, but this can be a tedious task! Many horses also resent being cold-hosed and may become dangerous, and ice boots are a less time-consuming option than standing with a hosepipe with a disgruntled horse for 20 minutes or more.
Cold therapy is often recommended by veterinarians as it reduces swelling and the risk of tissue injury. After strenuous exercise, the legs of a horse will be hot and inflamed, and this presents an increased risk of damage to essential structures such as tendons and ligaments. Cooling the area down rapidly constricts the blood vessels and reduces the temperature of these core structures. Ice boots can also help flush toxins away and ease the pain of tired, aching legs.
All of this means your horse will recover faster from exercise, with less risk of injury. Using ice boots means a happier horse, and more time for you in the saddle!
When a horse is unfortunate enough to suffer from an injury, ice boots can help to reduce the impact of the problem and decrease recovery times. Localized bleeding and inflammation at the injury site are reduced, and the healing process is accelerated. This means that a tendon injury can heal faster and stronger, with a greater chance that the horse will return to full fitness.
Another popular rehabilitation therapy used at home is heat treatment. Many of the best ice boots for horses can be used as both heat and cold 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.
What Are The Best Ice Boots for Horses?
When choosing the best ice boots for horses, look for ones that are padded for your horse’s comfort. They should feature easy-close fastenings and fit securely in place, without any risk of movement or slipping. If you don’t have access to a freezer at your barn, it may be wise to look into the best cold water boots for horses, which feature a specialized fabric that can be activated with cold water.
CryoChaps are our top pick in equine ice boot therapy. This full-wrap design is sold as a set of four, making the price tag a whole lot more bearable!
The cold therapy provided by these top-quality doesn’t just apply a cooling sensation but is also designed to mimic the therapeutic properties of an actual ice bath or full cold-water submersion. These boots also provide low-level compression which, along with the cooling effect, helps to prevent 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 adaptable 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! Like other modern boots, Magic Gel is a quick-freeze gel option that can be laid flat in the bottom of a freezer. The viscosity gel remains flexible, even straight out of the freezer.
Each boot is 16″ in length with durable Velcro fastening straps. Despite the non-contouring design, the strap positioning allows owners to snugly attach and appropriately shape their horse’s leg.
This is our number one pick for an economy ice boot for horses, and you often find them on sale with a ‘buy one, get one-half price’ offer. The economical price of these boots means you can purchase a full set of four without breaking the bank.
- Quick freeze gel
- Great quality for the price
- The material can get too cold (may need to add a layer between the boot and skin)
- Doesn’t contour as well as other brands
ICE-VIBE boots may have a higher price tag, but they double up as both heat and cold therapy boots! They also provide a massage effect designed to increase the movement of your horse’s lymphatic system and reduce swelling and inflammation.
With a fully adjustable fit, these versatile boots are contoured specifically for a horse’s lower leg and work for both the front and hind limbs. They utilize hot or cold inserts rather than freezing the entire boot, so they won’t take up too much freezer space. The newest models also feature a smooth material to help repel dirt and shavings for stall use.
- Ideal fit
- Added a message for circulation
- Sold as a pair
- More pieces to keep up with
- Short height for a limited range
Professional 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. The cooling action is provided by the pockets, which are filled with ice rather than a frozen insert. They can be used on both front and rear legs, come with a six-month warranty and are sold as a pair rather than singles.
- No freeze time if ice is available
- Covers more area
- Moderately priced
- 6-month warranty
- Inconvenient to fill
The Horze Finn Tack ice boot features 24 gel pouches that remain pliable, even directly out of the freezer. The four fasteners allow a somewhat contoured fit and customized compression, and the boots are made from a high denier and heavy-duty nylon, to prevent rips or tears and withstand frequent use on livestock.
This is another economical choice, and we’d rate this as a no-frills good quality, and well-made ice boot. They are a standard one-size-fits-all design (16.5″ tall and 15.5″ wide). These boots are only sold as singles and are available in 4 colors. If you’re looking for an ice boot to keep on hand for ‘just in case’ rather than regular use, this is an excellent option.
- Quality material
- Sold as a single
Unfortunately, many ice boots cannot contour to the shape of the hock or lack the size to effectively cover this important area of the hind limb. Ice Horse is the official ice therapy product for US Equestrian and is designed specifically to provide cooling to the hock.
Many horses suffer from various hock issues and greatly benefit from cold therapy in this area. 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 down to the pastern. The soft yet durable neoprene is lined with nylon for your horse’s skin protection and features quick-freeze gel pockets. They include extended straps for a more customized fit for the 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. This joint-specific design features comfortable cut-outs to allow the horse to move its leg without the risk of the boot slipping.
This boot is also dual-purpose, utilizing gel packs that can be frozen, cooled in cold water, or heated in warm water or the microwave. These 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 Shire’s 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
Summary – The Best Ice Boots for Horses
It is no secret horses are injury-prone, and many can suffer from niggling injuries sustained while they are turned out in the paddock. In performance and working horses, this risk of injury is increased still further. So, even if you don’t utilize ice therapy boots regularly as part of your horse-care routine, they are a good product to have on hand at the barn in case an injury occurs. It’s always 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 fast work 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?
Ice boots 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.
Using ice boots on a horse with laminitis constricts the blood vessels in the lower leg, reducing circulation within the hoof. This helps to ease pain and inflammation, and reduce the long-term damage caused by a laminitic episode.
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. Never attempt any kind of therapy on a horse with laminitis without discussing it with your veterinarian first.
Equestrian, Marine Corps vet, and Morgan horse enthusiast.