I still have not figured out why it feels like I have less time instead of more time while this working-from-home lifestyle continues. I have neglected blogland as a result.
The pony and the puppy still get a lot of my free time, though, and those are the priority components of my lifestyle, so I can’t say I am too bothered by not blogging. I try to keep up on Instagram, at least. Eli has had his Gastrogard and seems to love the Purina Outlast and he has been doing well under saddle. As you can see in the above picture, he is wearing some grey polo wraps that are the Incrediwear Circulation Exercise Bandages (the mouthful of a name comes from the Incrediwear Equine website ).
I wound up buying these partly because the big top-lid freezer at the barn ate it, so I brought my ice boots home. I was looking for alternatives to hauling ice boots in ice in an ice chest to the barn every day in case I felt like Eli needed icing that day. Although, the freezer in the barn refrigerator still works, so my ice boots may end up in there. But too late for my wallet, the search for icing alternatives was on, and I had seen these Incrediwear products a few times on Instagram and was curious about them.
The Incrediwear bandages can be used for exercise similarly to polo wraps, but then can also be hosed down after exercise for an icing effect (yes, it says this on the website, these are the actual instructions). Can I just tell you right now how unbelievably weird and difficult and cognitively dissonant it was to leave these things on and hose them down while rinsing off Eli after a ride? Wet polo wraps? My brain was breaking a little. However, it is important to remember two things: these wraps were designed specifically for this, and these wraps are not regular polo wraps. The material handles water differently than regular polo wrap material. So there is (I keep reminding myself) no danger of bowing a tendon, or causing some other injury like chafing or something, if these wraps are used as directed and applied properly. There is a TON of information on the Incrediwear Equine website, and if you are at all interested in these, I encourage you to read it and judge for yourself what you think and how you feel about the science behind them. (But don’t forget to recognize generally that science is true whether you believe in it or not.)
I have been using the Incrediwear wraps for about a month now, and have left them on to get wet for “icing” on Eli maybe 3 or 4 times. First, I’ll talk about using them during exercise, and then I will go over using them while wet for icing.
For exercise, color me impressed. These simply do not compare to other wraps I have tried, including regular polo wraps, Eskadron combo bandages, and Back on Track polo wraps (still love you, BoT). Be warned, however, that these things are hard to get used to at first as far as being able to wrap competently with them. The material is stretchy and I had a hard time with how snugly I should wrap them. I didn’t do it tight enough the first few times and one of those times the wraps almost slid off. So maybe pull them a little tighter than you are comfortable with? Or not? I don’t know how tight y’all wrap, sooo … anyway, I am pretty confident in my wrapping skills and these things took me a few times to really get them on in a way that felt right to me. I am STILL (after a month of use) occasionally wrapping, hating, and redoing the wrap while tacking up Eli. The fabric can bunch and fold on top of itself while wrapping around the fetlock so get comfortable redoing wraps until you figure these out. Like I said, I still redo them sometimes before I am satisfied they are on Eli’s legs safely. If you aren’t confident in your wrapping skills, these may not be for you or you may want to ask someone who can wrap well to help you.
Okay, so once they are on, Eli-of-the-rooster-walk tolerates them well. I know this because he walks normally in them (I mean, thanks for the big clue, buddy), even when I have wrapped his hind legs. (Yes. I know. My horse spooks at wearing hind leg wraps sometimes. He has unique sensory processing abilities. Just let it go.) Once I figured out how snugly to wrap them, they do not shift around while we ride. Eli has been feeling good under saddle lately, so I don’t have much to add related to use during our ride.
But after the ride? First, I have observed that his legs don’t get very hot and sweaty under these wraps. He sweats some, of course, because it’s like 94 degrees here until 8 o’clock at night and too humid in the mornings for me to tolerate. The wraps seem to wick moisture to a certain extent. But more importantly I can directly observe that these seem to regulate surface temperature extremely well. Like I am shocked at how not-hot his legs feel after a ride when I pull these off. It makes me want another pair so I can just wrap all four legs. Caveat: Eli and I don’t work too hard when we work. It’s a light ride of about 20-25 minutes with maybe a canter pole or two and a cross rail or two but that’s where we’re at right now. I certainly would not hesitate to jump in these, though. And it really is in the 90s when I am able to ride. It’s interesting. The wraps themselves feel super warm on the outside after a ride, but Eli’s legs feel normal. Based on personal experience, this would not be a result after using BoT polos or regular polos. So that ion transfer thing does seem to do its job.
And then there’s leaving them on after a ride and hosing them down for that icing effect. I have done this 3 or 4 times and left them on for just about 15 minutes or so, although the claim is they can be left on for 45 minutes while wet. Does this actually ice the legs? Not exactly. These wraps reportedly do not cause vasoconstriction, the way true icing would and the benefit of that is that blood flow is not slowed. And we all know how important blood flow is in the horse’s lower extremities. The wraps do seem to draw heat away from the leg even more quickly when wet than when dry. I am wondering whether this could be a good substitute for icing in all cases? What about after harder or longer work? And again, upon removing the wraps, the wraps themselves feel very warm but Eli’s legs feel very cool. Not really cold like icing with actual ice, but completely cooled down and a bit beyond that. I have some skepticism, but the product does seem to work very much like the product information claims. And they make stuff for people that works the same way (and I am tempted by the elbow sleeve …). Eli’s hind legs look and feel great, though. Very tight after using the wraps, holding up that tightness day after day now with continued use. He does experience some fill/windpuffiness/minor stocking up in his hind legs if he ends up stuck in his stall for a day due to weather but by all appearances these Incrediwear wraps have helped him enough for me to keep using them. And buy the hoof socks (review forthcoming, only used them once so far), and want a second pair of the wraps.
The price seems exorbitant for polo wraps. But consider they have multiple uses. I purchased these via FarmVet and used a 10% off coupon code, which helped a little. However, FarmVet seems to be out of stock and is not taking back orders. These can, however, be ordered directly from the Incrediwear Equine website. I have noticed that these and the hoof socks seem to sell out quickly. I bought the hoof socks right when they had been restocked in early July and they are also sold out on FarmVet, but appear to be available on the Incrediwear website.
Once I have used the hoof socks more, I will review them, too. But tomorrow, look for a kind of ode to bell boots:
Oh, OF COURSE you take the right one out, Eli. Anyway. Final word on the Incrediwear circulation wraps? 10/10 would buy again.