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.
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 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.
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?