cold water

Ice, Ice, Baby: The science of hydrotherapy | HORSE NATION by Allen Gutowski

Check out this article from Horse Nation:

Applying hot and/or cold treatments to our horses is an everyday occurrence, but do you know why it works? Amanda Moretz, a vet tech and equine massage therapist, explains.

From Amanda:

The act of hosing off a horse takes place on a daily basis in barns throughout the world–most commonly for horses who have just finished a workout and need to be cooled down and have all the sweat cleaned from their coats.  It is also common after multiple forms of injuries, using cold water on the area that was affected.  Or maybe the horse just had a very intense workout or show and the owner is soaking its legs in cold water after the ride.  All of these are everyday uses of water, and most of the time it is so second-nature that horse owners do not even have to think to apply water in these ways.

All those examples plus many other forms of water application actually have a very specific science behind them that has been used for thousands of years.  The application of water in all three forms (solid, liquid and vapor) to the body is called hydrotherapy.  In hydrotherapy, the environment of the body can be changed by applying water at different temperatures via different methods.  The aim of this is to normalize the amount of blood moving in a given area by effecting the circulation.

The science behind why it works can be tedious and long-winded, but in a nutshell this is why hydrotherapy works so well:  Heat is the amount of thermal energy in an object and is measured in the term calorie.  Digging back to high school we can remember that heat transfers from the object of higher temperature to the lower one, and also that water is an excellent conductor of heat.  But also remember that cold is the absence of heat.

The question becomes: How does this science lesson tie into using water treatments on horses?  By using this knowledge of how heat works and applying water we can get the results we are looking for in the horse.

Hydrotherapy includes both cold and hot water application.  Each causes its own unique reaction.  But in either case, there are three ways in which the body reacts to hydrotherapy.  The first involves local effects that occur at the area where the application of water occurs.  The second is a systemic response, meaning its effects are throughout the body.  And the third is a reflex effect that relates to the nervous system’s reaction to the treatment.

Looking back at our examples, let us see how this might play out for our horses.

Consider, for instance, the horse that has just run a tough cross country course, and the owners want to not only cool down the horse but also help keep inflammation down in the legs.  The best way to achieve this, of course, is through the use of cold water–preferably with ice in it.

Once the horse is standing in the ice water, the legs become noticeably cold and it might even be a bit uncomfortable for them.  As the temperature in their legs drop the blood circulation changes and moves into other parts of the body, leaving the legs due to the blood vessels getting smaller or constricting.  The tendons and ligaments become denser, and the muscle tone increases.  It also causes pain relief in that area.  In the whole body the blood pressure will lower, as will the heart rate.

After the horse is out of the ice water, the blood will come rushing back into the legs.  This helps raise the temperature back up to normal.  But with this rush the blood brings in fresh new oxygen, along with fresh nutrients and supplies for the cells in that area.  This also means that during the application of the ice, the toxins and old stagnant nutrients were flushed out of the cells.   And hopefully any concerns of inflammation in the structures in the legs due to any micro trauma that occurred during the exercise are decreased.

The benefits from an ice water session are numerous and affect not only the area you are treating but also, to an extent, the whole horse.  This can also be said for a heat application, which the body responds differently to than it does cold.  But with either you have a tool you can use to help your horse in a daily setting.  So the next time you rinse off your horse in this hot summer heat, remember you are using proven science to help them reach a normal body temperature through the use of hydrotherapy.

To read the full article on Horse Nation, CLICK HERE.

 

ECB Equine Spa at Gulfstream Park by Allen Gutowski

A huge THANK YOU to High Tide Equine and Tiffany Milne for taking the time to demonstrate the Spa at Gulfstream Park and for the stable tour... we loved meeting all of the incredible horses too! 

After the horses were done with their treatments, some of us humans decided to give the Spa a try... cold does not even begin to describe the water! 

Trainers Treating the Horses Like Human Athletes by Allen Gutowski

By Matt Hunter
Sunday, July 31, 2016 at 02:33 PM EDT

Destin in the ECB Spa at Todd Pletcher's Barn

Destin in the ECB Spa at Todd Pletcher's Barn

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- Racing at the sport’s highest level, the Spa’s signature athletes suffer soreness and tightness just like humans.

That’s what keeps Carlos Melendez so busy.

"15 or 16, 22 a day. I'm a busy man. 5:30 in the morning until when I am done. That's what I do," Melendez said.

Working for 12-time Saratoga leading trainer Todd Pletcher, the 40-year veteran of the backstretch has one job: running the barn’s cold water spa machine.

“This is like therapy like the football players get when they go in the ice tub, this is the same thing," Melendez said.

“We are just trying to keep the legs cold and tight and make sure we don't have any inflammation," Pletcher said.

On this morning, the horse standing knee-deep in the water-epsom salt mixture is Destin, the Belmont Stakes runner-up and third place finisher in Saturday’s Jim Dandy.

"The water is 35 degrees Fahrenheit, that is cold, freezing water," Mendez said. "This is very nice, the horse does not feel it. You and I could not stand in it for five minutes”

“Logistics don't allow us to do it with all of them, but we try to do it after their exercise as often as we can," Pletcher said.

The Pletcher barn is one of the few with its own equine spa machine.

“Most trainers don't have it because it is a lot of money," Melendez said. "It cost $90,000, this one.”

“We decided that we were liking the results of it so we decided to buy our own and it is helpful," Pletcher said.

In a sport where results on the track are everything, Melendez looks at the Pletcher team’s run of six consecutive Saratoga titles as proof that his busy days are paying off.

"A lot of people don't believe in it but it does, it works and I know so," Mendez said.

For full article with video, CLICK HERE

TRIFECTA EQUINE ATHLETIC CENTER NOW OPEN! by Allen Gutowski

In addition to the Equine Spa, ECB has installed their very first Aqua Treadmill in the USA at the new state-of-the-art Trifecta Equine Athletic Center in southern California!

Trifecta is the only full-service, veterinarian supervised, equine sports medicine, rehabilitation & conditioning center of its kind. It is ideally located just steps away from the San Luis Rey Downs Training Center & San Luis Rey Equine Hospital, and in close proximity to Santa Anita Racetrack, Los Alamitos Racetrack, Galway Downs, and the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club & Racetrack. A place where innovative treatments are proven to enhance recovery from injuries, support post-operative care, as well as strengthen the cross-training methods of the equine athlete.

For more information, visit their website at the following link: Trifecta Equine

Petaluma horseman mounts life's challenges by Allen Gutowski

Our hearts go out to our client Ron Malone as he battles this terrible disease. We have been working with Ron and his staff at Circle Oak since 2010... he truly has built one of the finest equine rehab facilities on the west coast and one of the nicest people you will meet... this is a wonderful article about Ron and his passion for horses: CLICK HERE

COLD SALT WATER HYDROTHERAPY - Flawborough Equine Rehabilitation by Allen Gutowski

A great reminder of the benefits of Cold Saltwater Hydrotherapy from ECB Client Emma Hawthorne of Flawborough Equine Rehabilitation... 

Emma Hawthorne - Proprietor and Treatment Manager at Flawborough Equine Rehabilitation Centre - explains that for centuries sea water has been used in the treatment of inflammation and injury in both humans and animals and horses are no exception.  In a safe and controlled manner, the Hydrotherapy Spa greatly intensifies the natural healing effects of cold running sea water. The Equine Spa uses jets of aerated chilled saline water to accelerate healing and repair over a range of injuries to the lower limbs: from tendon injuries to the most serious wounds. Its also used as an aid to the prevention of stiffness and to improve suppleness when used as part of a training regime. 


What the Spa can be used for:


Tendons and ligament injuries

Sprains

Strains

Swellings

Bruising

Jar up

Joint problems

Splints and certain fractures

Lacerations

Infections and wounds to the lower limbs

Post-operative complications

Sore shins

Windgalls 

Mud fever

Arthritic pain

Abscesses

Laminitis

Common questions answered

Q. Why is a Spa treatment more effective than cold hosing?  Spas work on the lower legs accelerating healing and repair due to a number of factors:

Q. Temperature?  The water is kept at around 2 degrees which takes out heat and inflammation and increases the circulation of the affected area. Research shows that the Spa makes legs colder than any other treatment and is a very relaxing experience for an injured horse.

Q. Salt Concentration?  The salts also act like a poultice, drawing out any infection and creating an additional cooling effect. The concentration is roughly double that found in the sea.

Q. Pressure? The depth of water applies pressure to the injured area and gives support.

Q. Aeration?  Aeration acts as massage encouraging circulation and healing. 

Q. When would be the optimum time for hydrotherapy treatment?  Often it is a case of closing the door after the horse has bolted. Therefore the earlier we can start treating a case the better - this is beneficial to both horse and owner as it reduces the time-out.

 Q. Is the treatment costly?  Hydrotherapy Spa treatment is more affordable than you may think and is recognised by many insurance companies as an alternative treatment - when referred by a veterinary practitioner or registered farrier. We have a wide range of cost effective treatments but it is important to consider carefully each case in turn and put together a suitable rehabilitation programme.

Veterinary surgeon, Matthew Barlow of Home Farm Equine, Nottinghamshire comments:The Spa is particularly useful in reducing acute inflammation in the early stages of tendon injury and greatly reduces healing time. It gets horses back in action faster and in many cases the horse does not require further treatment.
  

At Flawborough, we use cold therapy as one of many tools of rehabilitation. Others include: heat, exercise, massage, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, magnetic fields and there are many more. Please contact us for further information or to arrange a visit:

Flawborough Equine Rehabilitation Centre, Hall Farm, Flawborough, Nottinghamshire NG13 9PA  Telephone 01949 850332  www.flawboroughequine.co.uk