Do you poultice your horse after a hard workout? What about liniment? Here’s some information about poultices and liniments and why you might consider them for your horse.
What’s a poultice?
A poultice is a soft material that’s applied directly to your horse’s body – usually his legs or hooves – to relieve soreness and to reduce or prevent inflammation. Poultices can provide both cold therapy and heat therapy, depending on what type of poultice you use. If your horse will be in his stall during the night then a poultice can be left on overnight to provide longer-term heat or cold treatments.
Cold poultices are best for new injuries or strains. Cold poultices are usually made of clay and are frequently used to reduce swelling. The use of cold therapy minimizes inflammation and can help reduce pain associated with an injury. Cold poultices are popular for use on the lower legs, especially after a hard workout or show.
Warm poultices, or liniments, intended to heat up the muscles come in gel or liquid form and often include ingredients like menthol, mint, and capsaicin. Never use a liniment over an open sore or wound, though, as its ingredients will sting. Heat therapy in the form of liniments can be used before a workout to warm up muscles, or after a workout to ease sore and tired muscles. The use of heat can also help to keep arthritic joints mobile.
To poultice a horse’s leg after a workout to minimize inflammation, purchase a clay-based poultice which has a cooling effect. Apply the poultice liberally to the horse’s leg, then cover it with a layer of wet heavy brown paper – cutting up brown paper grocery bags works well. Some grooms prefer to use a layer of saran wrap to help the poultice retain its moisture, but be aware that saran wrap has the potential to shift and bind around the horse’s leg during the night. The poultice should be covered with a quilted bandage and a standing wrap.
You will need to remove the dried poultice from your horse’s legs in the morning. Removing the bandages and letting the poultice air dry can make it easier to remove, and much of it may flake off on its own. Following up with a soft curry comb and a damp towel can help to remove the remnants.
Poulticing hooves is a popular technique to draw out an abscess. Generally such poultices are salt-based, but you might speak with your farrier about what he or she recommends. Pack the poultice into the sole of your horse’s foot, then cover it with cotton padding, vetrap, and a layer of duct tape.
Liniment as a body brace
Liniment can serve as a nice after-exercise treat for your horse to help cool down and soothe his tired muscles. After riding, give your horse a wipe-down or rinse with warm water. Towel him off a bit and then rub liquid liniment over large areas of his body, including his neck, shoulders, and hips. Be cautious about using liniment over the saddle area, as some liniments caution not to. Read the directions carefully, and be sure to dilute the product properly if it is in a concentrated form.
Liniment to set up a horse
Setting up a horse refers to applying liniment to all four legs and then wrapping them overnight. The thought is that the heat provided by the liniment prevents stiffness that a horse may feel after having been exercised heavily.
Poultices and liniments can help prevent soreness and stiffness in your horse, and can reduce swelling and inflammation. They’re great to apply after workouts and can help with your horse’s recovery. Wearing gloves during their application may make the task a bit less messy for you, while allowing your horse to enjoy the benefits of liniments and poultices.
Original Source: http://blog.classic-equine.com/2013/04/a-look-at-poultices-and-liniments/