I was extremely lucky and was given a pair of ice vibe boots a few months ago to thoroughly test use and abuse and give you my opinion of.
Now I will put up my hands and say I’m a bit of a cynic about this type of thing normally and a good friend of mine positively shot them down to the point that she found research papers regarding vibrations at a certain frequency causing damage to tendons. Firstly I can happily report the boots operate at a frequency not even close to the offending frequency in the papers so I set about giving them a thorough test.
When they arrived my initial thoughts were that they were actually quite heavy but on opening the weight is predominately the ice packs, the boot wraps and vibration panels are by themselves relatively light.
The difference in ice pack sizes. XL on top and L below. (A fellow livery’s who now can’t live without hers as well.)
The panels are easily removable for easy charging and also for washing off the boots but are safe and secure when within their pocket in the boots so not to rub or interfere with the horse’s movement. When charging it is a micro USB cable which has two ends so both panels can be charged at once. The supplied bag is great as well as you can easily put the boots plus charging kit back in after use unlike many other boot bags I’ve had previously that once you had removed the boots from you required a degree in packing to squeeze them back in!
I have used them on two horses both the type I expected to react to the vibrations but both stood happily without a care in the world.
The pair I have are XL so not ideal for the cob length legs I have used mine on but they were safe and length wise fitted fine as the ice packs have slits to allow for movement around the joints. Ideally I need to get an additional set of the smaller ice packs as the XL set width wise are too big for little legs which means I have to hold the ice pack up on the leg whilst wrapping the boot round but I easily manage to put them on and once on they are secure and don’t move and it means having a bigger pair I can basically use them on any horse.
Operating the boots is easy (once you have actually read the instructions!) and you don’t need to worry about them vibrating for too long as they automatically stop after a set period depending on which setting used. Mainly I have used them at the yard where I have been able to take the ice packs directly out of the freezer but at the events I have taken them to my putting them in a cool bag they have still been relatively frozen 5 hours later when I have come back from the XC.
These are the slits at the bottom of the ice packs which allow the pack if longer than the cannon bone to extend over the joint without causing restriction.
Now I have covered the fit and operation but I suspect more of you are concerned as to wether they work or not. I think this is very much open to interpretation and with no control study I can’t say if any changes were due to the boots. What I can say though is that since using the boots one of Fleur’s legs which has had a tendency to fill slightly the day after hard exercise has not done so when I use the boots after exercise which is the most notable and measurable improvement for me.
And don’t just believe me fellow e-Venter Tilly had this to say:
“After lusting after them for months, I finally splashed the cash on some ice vibes at YHL. I’d spotted them on offer and figured I’d use them next summer. Then just before Christmas I managed to do something to my back, and with my chiropractors blessing, used the ice pack and vibration panel on me! It made a huge difference, though finding a way to keep it on was tricky. Since then, I’ve also used them on a horse with a fat leg after pulling a shoe (20mins later, fat leg back to normal – brilliant), and I’m a total convert. I know they aren’t cheap, but I already feel like I’ve got my money’s worth.”
I must admit I have also used the ice packs on my back which has its moments to great effect (read instant relief!) and if needed again will be adding the vibration panel as well. Use on human backs may not have been their intended use it’s certainly proving to be a useful additional one!
To learn more about Ice Vibe boots visit http://www.horseware.com/index.php/ice-vibe-aw13