Taking Care of Your Horse After a Barrel Race

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It takes a lot of time and effort to care for our equine athletes, but it's the most important thing we can do for them. WPRA barrel racer and RW Sponsored Rider, Krista Williams, puts in a fair share of time making sure her horses are in top condition when it comes time to race. From everyday maintenance to post-workout recovery and even care while trailering, Krista uses a plethora of therapy products from Riding Warehouse for her four-legged partners. Read on get her advice on keeping your horse in tip-top shape while training, competing, and traveling!

Photo credit (above): Boaz Dov Elkes | Xtreme Reunion 2021
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While on the road I spend more time caring for my horses than I do actually competing. I average two hours in prep time and about two hours after a run making sure my horses feel their absolute best. My goal is to give each of my barrel horses the best shot at their best performance, as well as prevent possible injuries. I trust the following products to help me achieve this!

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With a string of equine athletes, Krista's recovery regimen makes sure everyone stays in their best condition.
Photo credit: Doug Stewart Photography

Ice Boots: I've always been a firm believer in icing after a workout or run. At home, I have a freezer in my tack room and use frozen ice packs with Saran wrap after a workout. On the road, we use Roma Heavy Duty Zippered Ice Boots or XLR8 Cryotherapy Ice+Compression Boots. I have tried a lot of different brands and found that nothing gets as cold as straight ice. When using ice boots, I get the leg wet first, pack the boots with ice, then set a timer for 20 minutes after every run.

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The Roma Zippered Ice Boots are a great way to get ice directly in contact with your horse's legs.

Standing Wraps: If I could only pack one thing for my horse it would be standing wraps. I use 14-inch Lettia CoolMax No Bow Standing Wraps. They have a blue material on the inside designed to pull the moisture away from the horse's leg and I've never had these get hot or cause my horse to sweat! I use Finish Line EZ-Willow Gel as the liniment under my wraps. My barrel horses have thin skin and burn easily but this liniment is mild and works wonders. I finish with a 12-foot long standing bandage. While on the road, my horses always have wraps on in the trailer for comfort and at night to keep their legs nice and tight.

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Naps are an important part of recovery. Standing wraps help keep your horse's legs from swelling while stalled.
Ceramic Therapy Products: About two hours before my run, I pull off my CoolMax Standing Wraps and replace them with wraps that have ceramic technology. This technology is designed to increase circulation which helps warm up the leg before I run. During the summer, I'm careful to only use these for short durations (and never in the trailer) because of the heat they produce. In the winter, I replace my standing wraps with ceramic therapy wraps for hauling and use them at night to help speed up our recovery process. The same goes with blanketing. In the summer, I use a magnetic blanket two hours prior to my run, but in the winter, I switch to my Back on Track Sheet.

Hoof Pack: After every run, I pack my horse’s feet for the night using hoof packing. This helps pull out heat, swelling, or soreness from bad ground or long trailer rides. EquiFit makes a sticky pad called the Pack-N-Stick Packing Tape that slaps on right over the packing and is easy to apply/take off.

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Krista uses hoof packing with EquiFit packing tape after each race to pull out heat and reduce any pain in the feet.

Liniment Baths: During hot trailer rides, I cool the horses down with a liniment bath. The liniment helps open the pores in their skin and relaxes their muscles. Before I ice my horse’s legs after a run, I give them a liniment bath to relax their muscles while they stand being iced for 20 minutes.

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Liniment baths are a great way to relax your horse's muscles. Plus, he will smell good afterward!

Hoof Boots: EasyCare Cloud Hoof Boots are a must-have for older horses or long trailer rides! They are designed with a soft foam pad and a supportive rubber bottom to create an “air ride” feel for your horse. I love these because they absorb shock from rough highways to keep my horses comfortable. They also come in handy when tied on pavement or stuck in an indoor facility on concrete.

Watch the videos below to hear more from Krista about icing, using poultice, and wrapping your horse.




Shop these therapy products and more at RidingWarehouse.com. Happy riding!
 
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