Friday, 19 May 2017

Product Review - Ice Vibe Boots

OK so as promised, I am continuing my product review and today I am reviewing the Ice Vibe boots by Horseware. These are the piece de le resistance of cold therapy boots which I was initially interested in because of the strong reviews that back them (see Horse and Hound, Chronofhorse, Eventing Nation etc). They have a fuzzy little vibration bit which helps to boost circulation prior to work and also snug fitting ice pack boots which work alongside said fuzzy vibrating bit to use post work out. Quite a bit of research I had read said that while cooling down is good for the legs, it also slows circulation which is vital for repair. So given my horse was coming back from some time off due to injury I didn’t then want the leg to completely fall off due to his blood freezing in his leg. So the Ice Vibe boots seemed to fit the bill because the massaging effect of the boots helps ensure blood flow is not completely restricted, which allows oxygen to reach tired and damaged tissue to promote better recovery. Huzzah!



I got mine from and the lovely Anne offered great customer service. I wanted to go for the extra full size because of two reasons: 1: Romys injury had been close to his hocks so I wanted something that would come up as high as possible 2: My horse is a 17.2 (debatable) oversized beast so the ‘regular’ was never going to work for my irregular sized poneh. Anne didn’t have any in stock so kindly ordered them in for me and sent them, along with lots of other exciting surprises, for me and oversized fluffster.

Pre Work, Sans Ice
The first thing to note is the quality of the boots and their packaging. I’ve always been a fan of the quality of Horseware products and these boots didn’t disappoint. Sent in a handy little tote for storage with meshing to allow oxygen into the bag and keep the dratted Mould Maestro away, the boots themselves feel like they will go the distance and are handy to store, charge and clean.

Ice Packs
There are three settings, the first which is 10 minutes and should be used when getting your horse used to vibrations. At this stage, given the amount of gadgets I have for my horse, there’s not many hours in the day when he ISNT vibrating so I was pretty confident that he would breeze this stage. And breeze it he did. The second setting is for 20 minutes and the setting is slightly stronger. This setting should be used before training and also afterwards with the ice packs. The third setting is also 20 minutes but is much stronger and should only be used post exercise with the ice. So, we use setting 2 pre exercise and setting 3 post exercise.

The boots fit him perfectly but I would have liked the ice packs to come up higher on the leg.  HOWEVER, being the incredibly resourceful person I am, I realised that if I turned the ice packs upside down, the drop down sections which would ordinarily cover his fetlock area did in fact reach up to his hocks, so this is how I now use them.

Ice Packs and Vibration Boots
The science shows the difference in temperature in a horses leg, following use of these boots. Given I DON'T in fact have thermal imaging technology close to hand (list for Santa next year?!) I had to go on how Romy felt when I rode him (sh’amaaaaazing) and how cold his leg was when I removed the boots. Definitely colder than cold hosing alone and the leg stayed colder for much longer once the boots were removed versus cold hosing alone.

Romy is now completely back on track, he is showing no sign at all of lameness and is ready to go out and start competing again. I can’t say if the Ice Vibes are behind it but I can say he has improved since wearing them (along with all the other pieces of vibrating gadgets I have for him!). I also appreciate having a few extra minutes in the evenings, instead of standing there with a hose to my horses legs for ten minutes each side. Romy also appreciates being released from this mild form of torture.

So. The digits:
Value for money: 8/10 At €235 these ain’t cheap. BUT I really think they are worth the buy if you can fork out for them.
Comfort: 8/10 I would like if Horseware offered even longer ice packs but my workaround is suiting us both.
Negatives: The fact that the freezer at my yard doesn’t do a great job of freezing the ice packs. Moral of the story? Get a new freezer. Instead I freeze at home and bring them to the yard and they stay pretty cold until after I ride. I did find adding the boots with vibration on top of the ice packs lead them to heat up so I'm only getting roughly 10 minutes of cooling time out of them.
Positives: Great quality, multiple uses, easy to use, easy to clean.
Overall impression: It could be that Romy has turned a corner, or it could be that he is feeling great because of the boots. But Romy has been feeling all Valegro over the past two weeks. I am happy to put the boots on for 20 minutes before and 10 minutes after riding and my thoughts are if you can afford them, they are a great piece of kit to have.   
Would I recommend: Yes! Along with the equilibrium pad, these will come along to every outing with us.

I’ll also definitely be keeping an eye on the website ( because I’ve struggled to find online tack shops in Ireland that has a broad range of products and offers the dressage brands I like so I was impressed with their selection. Brava!

Next up: Dressage clinic with Matt Burnett. I’ll do a brief post on how we get on with hopefully some photos and videos, if I can convince / bribe / hoodwink someone into helping out! I have done lots of pole work A La Rob Jackson and I've also been trying a few different feed options and Romy is finally starting to chunk up and look like a grown up dressage horse and get that Beyonc√© arse we all so desperately strive for. So hopefully we are back on the road to RED FRILLIES!!!!

Till next time y'all

V x

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