Legs For Days

I’ve been asked a few times to share my post-XC leg care routine, but I’ve been kind of hesitant to do that. Mostly because every horse and every situation is different… a horse with previous issues might need more than a horse with none, a horse running Novice won’t need the same intense care as one running Intermediate, and you might be inclined to do a bit less if the ground is good instead of bad. So consider all of that stuff to be the disclaimer here. The aftercare for my thoroughbred with a little bit of wear and tear that is running Training is far from a one size fits all.


A lot of times here in Texas, the ground is hard. Ice becomes a necessity once you’re at T and above, IMO, although some people don’t start doing it until Prelim. My little horse has crooked front legs, so if he’s spending 5 minutes at 470mpm pounding on hard ground, I’d rather be overly cautious. I’ve had a few different kinds of ice boots, but the ones I’ve liked best for my horse are the supremely dorky, good old fashioned suspender style boots (we have these). He absolutely will not, under any circumstance nor threat of death, stand in a muck tub full of ice water. Will not. I’ve tried several times. It never ends well. Although these boots don’t include the foot, they’re the best I’ve found for actually getting the legs uniformly cold, and ice can go up over the knee. I just dump ice in them and leave Henry with his hay for a little while. Henry absolutely hates them because there’s no escape. Take that with a grain of salt, he hates everything.

such a happy face

For overnight, I like to put poultice under the wraps. Specifically SoreNoMore poultice, because nothing has ever worked as well for me as that stuff. Legs are always tight and beautiful the next day. Plus its easy – slather on some poultice, slap some wet paper on top (I broke down and bought the roll of “poultice paper” because it was just easier to tear off correctly sized sheets rather than deal with anything else, and I don’t regret it because I’m lazy), wrap, and you’re done.

The SNM poultice at work last week when Henry whacked himself in his stall #athletic

The last thing I do, if the ground was hard, is pack the feet with Magic Cushion. I’ve used it forever and it’s always done a great job at soothing sore feet. I just wet my hand (in theory I would use a glove, but I can never find one at the exact moment I need it), scoop out a small handful, spread it in the foot, grab a handful of smaller/dustier shavings to pat down on top of it, and done. I don’t put this in until after all the handwalking and stuff is done for the night. It stays in well if the horse is just standing in the stall, but not so much if you’re moving around a lot over different footing or terrain. You can always wrap the hoof to ensure it stays in, of course, but I’ve never felt the need when the horse is in a stall.

Image result for magic cushion hoof

I also think the boots you use are super super important, but that’s more of a pre- than a post- leg care. I don’t do neoprene at all, and XC boots must have shatterproof tendon/cannon guards. I love my Majyk Equipe boots for that – they’ve saved Henry from an overreach or contact injury on more than one occasion, and his legs don’t get hot. It makes our post-XC care much easier.


As far as the legs go, that’s really it. What do y’all do for post XC (or post horse show) leg care? Favorite products?


20 thoughts on “Legs For Days

  1. Ah ! I literally do the same exact thing for Homer- and he’s a h/j ! I ALWAYS poultice after our jumping lessons and do the wet paper (I too broke down and got the “Paper”- I was tired of ripping up feed bags) and then standing wrap. In the summer I open poultice him since he goes out at night .. and I ALWAYS do his feet with Epsom salt poultice. Our indoor is gorgeous but the outdoor can be a little hard – and seriously what’s another 5 minutes of after care if it gets you another 5+ years from the horse??


    1. A couple shows have ice on site, otherwise we have to bring it in. I’m actually asking for a Yeti cooler for Christmas so I can bring it in on my way to the show and still have ice by the time I need it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. or you get said friend to buy it on her way to show 🙂 LOL….and yes i have seen her do the magic cushion with no gloves. Gross. She is crazy our Amanda 😉 HA And i still love Henry’s expression in those boots. 🙂


  2. Bacon gets the same routine, except she actually stands in the muck bucket HENNY. If the ground was extra hard or lumpy (yeah, some venues suck), her funky foot might get iced twice.

    And then she gets shoved with carrots and hugged and told she was the best and thanks for letting me join her out there because I know I didn’t do much on that ride.


  3. Usually my post leg care is just turnout and/or hand walking. I always want to poultice but in the summer the horses are on night turnout and I’m not about to f with them hanging themselves on standing wraps.

    When I was riding the old red mare I iced her after every time I jumped. She had crap feet and I firmly believe the ice was the only thing that kept her sound for so long.


  4. i don’t ice charlie’s legs for running xc bc……. uh. we’ve mostly been running starter with like two BNs in there lol (sigh, all my grand schemes for naught!). but we use those same boots for all his multitudinous dings. they’re great. except actually i can’t fill them up above his knee bc he will actually fall down. don’t ask. the sore no more poultice under wraps tho – that’s our jam. so simple, so easy.


  5. I just got those ice boots and fortunately haven’t needed them yet. Glad to know they’re on your like list though. I don’t do cross country, but in my past life I did the low a/o jumpers with Rio and had a similar protocol for him after showing or a tough lesson. I actually had these human ice packs with velcro straps on them that would use on him. He’s weird about, well, he’s weird about everything, but those he didn’t seem to mind. I’ve never tried magic cushion, but I used the old pine tar stuff to pack feet. Magic cushion sounds much more pleasant, will look into that if I ever do real jumps again!
    Jampy has only been doing the three foot for the last many years so I don’t really do much for him. It’s not a strain on him to jump a handful of 3′ foot fences in the sand. If I get greedy and make him jump higher I will wrap him all around with some liniment though.


  6. For endurance I’ve done poultice under no bows and standing wraps followed by equiflex sleeves. Great luck with all – especially on Q who stocks up like none other if she’s cooped up overnight.


  7. Basically the same for post care at hunter/jumper shows if showing 3 ft or above. Ice boots, SNM poultice, Magic Cushion, and SNM gel on back/SI area. BOT wraps only usually if only doing like the 2’6 division.


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