In September my mare was diagnosed with a moderately severe suspensory injury. It was recommended that she be on stall rest for 4 months and then we re-ultrasound the injury to see its recovery. Unfortunately, despite my efforts, Elan has never been able to be in confined spaces like stalls. We have tried everything but her anxiety is just too much so it is not worth the struggle only for her to injure herself more. She is instead, confined to a small paddock in an in-town facility. Her movement is generally quite minimal, walk to her round bale, her water and her shelter. Lots of standing which we like, as I was told not to walk her for more than 5 minutes a day if I do need to walk her.
I am trying to keep her life as positive as I can for the next 4 months. So we go for grass everyday, regular grooming, short walks and even teaching her new tricks to keep her mind sharp. She is given Previcox every day along with joint supplements and MSM, so let’s hope something in there will help with pain relief somewhere in her body.
I wanted to know other things I can do to help her and I looked into Back on Track Products. I discussed it with my vet at Energy Equine and she agreed it would be a helpful option. BOT uses their brand Welltex, a neoprene fabric infused with ceramic minerals. The purpose of BOT products is to absorb body heat and reflect it back into the body as Far Infrared energy waves. This helps with circulation, and if an injury is getting more blood flow and oxygen than that should encourage the injury to heal. I have had a BOT back pad for my horse, and it was always recommended by my equine chiropractor to use it before a treatment to loosen the muscles. Definitely helped there! I figure I will try the wraps for the next 4 months and hope that they make some difference in her recovery. I picked the Back On Track Royal Quick Wraps because of how easy they were to use, quick velcro and no fear of wrapping too tightly; they appeared to be a very comfortable option.
The boots are durable and shaped for the leg and fetlock. They can be used on either front or back legs. I ordered size Medium ( 14”) and it fits really well. The neoprene layer on the inside is very soft and cushioned. There are 4 straps, 3 to go around the cannon bone, and one to go around the fetlock. They feel solid in durability but light and comfortable.
They come in a nice zipper bag, with a pamphlet showing their other products. There is a paper clarifying instructions but I would have preferred it to be a folded pamphlet instead of an insert into the bag.
The boots are to be gradually worked up to for 12 hours. The first 4 days should be started at 30 mins, and then slowly working up with a maximum of 4 hours a day in the first 2-3 days. After that, you can slowly work your way up to 8hrs with a maximum of 12 hrs. The boots may cause your horse to stock up due to the increase in circulation. I contacted the Back On Track team for questions and I had and I got really great responses to answer all my questions, so that is a bonus!
Fit and Feel
They covered the injury perfectly, which is located right below the knee at the top of her cannon bone, where the suspensory ligament attaches to the knee. The boots cover the top of the cannon bone and go all the way down to the coronet band.
They seem comfortable for her to wear, as I have been putting them on every day she hasn’t fought them once. When I use my DSB’s I think that she finds them annoying and will sometimes paw or fidget one of her legs around when I try to put them on. I have no fear of chaffing with BOT, as they are snug around the leg but still room around the fetlock. I can squeeze the boot on her fetlock and feel spacing between skin and boot, so I imagine they must be comfortable compared to something more restricting like a polo wrap.
I have been using these boots for probably 10 days now, and while her injury is still very obvious, I do think that the wraps are increasing circulation. I am not expecting the wraps to heal her injury, time will do that, but I do hope they will encourage more productive healing, less scar tissue, and more comfort. I have been using the boots on both legs and she had also developed some heel pain due to shifting her weight to avoid putting weight on the injury. I would imagine that if I was compensating my other leg for so long to avoid using the injured one, there would be discomfort in both legs. Might as well treat them both.
Her injured leg is shaved, and the other one is not. When having the boots on for 12 hours, and I remove them, the warmest area by far is always the spot where the injury is. When comparing to her fuzzy leg, the quarter-sized area where her injury is located is warmer than any area on her fuzzy leg. You would think that the fuzzy leg would generate the most heat due to more insulation, but this tells me that there is blood flow being encouraged to the injured area, hence more heat.
So this is a good sign! I hope.
The only complaints I have about these boots so far is I have noticed some loose threading. Whether it escalates to velcro falling off or is just superficial right now who knows, but I have heard Back On Track has great customer service so hopefully they stand by their product if there are issues. I’ll let you know! My other complaint is that due to the soft, absorbent neoprene, they do really harbour odour. So if she steps or drags her heels into water or manure or mud, the smell is very much apparent. But they are machine washable, so bonus.
This review is only a piece of a much bigger puzzle. I can’t give a total review until I get another ultrasound down several months from now, and even then it might be hard to determine the effectiveness of the wraps in comparison to the body’s own restoration. Though honestly from what I have seen, I think they are helping. I believe she is also more self-aware with the boots on and that might restrict activity as well.
This review will be followed up by another review in a few months, and maybe even some quick comments throughout my Instagram. Though for right now I would recommend them. If your horse is hurting and you want to do anything you can to help them, give it a try. There is lots of research and thermal imaging on ceramic products such as BOT which made me more inclined to try them and trust their effectiveness. I purchased these boots from Wilton Tack at a great price of $89.00 CAD.
I will be continuing to use these boots every day for the next 4 months, wearing them with a time limit between 8-12 hours. I will come back with a review in January to discuss the wraps durability, functionality, weatherproofing, as well as how Elan has or hasn’t recovered and if the vet believes the wraps played a part.
Let’s hope for the best!
Always get back on,
*The opinions shared in this blog are of my own, and not a reflection of the company or its current and future products
*I am not a veterinarian or licensed to diagnose, medicate or treat any animal including horses. My decisions and opinions on my horse health, health maintenance and care are of my own and not to be considered as formal treatment or a substitute for a veterinarian.