Our sport horse are athletes who experience the physical rigors of equestrian sport. Human athletes undergo a lot of “maintenance” to keep their bodies from breaking down due to the demands of training and sport. Our equine athletes are due the same “maintenance” opportunities.
Hannah - The 18'1 AmWarmblood who thinks she is an over-grown golden retriever.
This is Hannah, my “mature” (in age only) dressage horse. I would be more than happy to let Hannah transition into retirement, but she is not happy not having a job (and does not like giving up attention to her little sister). While she has a lighter workload, keeping her “old age” horse issues at bay is still a priority. How do we keep our horses physically healthy? What can we do to keep our horses from breaking down? Well…those are loaded questions that can be tackled on multiple levels. So, I decided to look a bit closer at equipment that may provide therapeutic maintenance and treatment for equine athletes.
We know a lot about managing human athletes but not nearly as much about equine athletes however, a 2005 article by Mimi Porter (Porter, 2005) states:
“The principles of human athletic training and physical rehabilitation therapy can be applied to the horse”. Porter also said “Conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, capsulitis, bursitis, tendonitis, and tenosynovitis have been studied in human medicine to determine the therapeutic effects of various physical agents. Physical agents, such as ice, heat, electricity, sound, light, magnetic fields, compression, and movement, can be used by the rehabilitation therapist to attempt to control pain, reduce swelling, and restore optimal movement and function in the affected joint” (Porter, 2005).
Wait…so maybe…just maybe, those fandangled therapeutic horse products may be backed by science? Doing some more looking at equipment labelled as “therapeutic” and how those claims mesh with the science, I decided to look specifically at the Catago FIR-Tech products.
Catago caught my eye because the brand is stylish and functional…but is that all? Does this FIR-Tech help my horse physically? After a bit of digging and realizing what works for human athletes is good for equine athletes, FIR or far infrared radiation, is absolutely beneficial for my equine athletes. I will spare you the detailed scientific explanation of FIR. The scholarly sources say, “Fiber impregnated with FIR emitting ceramic nanoparticles and woven into fabrics, are being used as garments and wraps to generate FIR radiation and attain health benefits from its effects.” These fabrics can “be applied for many medical conditions and injuries that require healing” (Vatansever & Hamblin, 2012). FIR-Tech found in Catago products can help reduce inflammation and improve blood flow. Catago states:
“The specially developed ceramic material converts and reflects the horse’s body heat as electromagnetic infrared heat radiation penetrates the tissue and widens the blood vessels. The result is an increase in the suppleness of musculature and wider movements for the horse.”
Science has given us the thumbs up that FIR tech provides medical benefits and Catago makes a stylish FIR-Tech infused product, so the only thing left to do is actually try it out…here goes.
I tested the Catago FIR-Tech Therapy Dressage Boots, Catago FIR-Tech Therapy Polo Bandages and the Catago FIR-Tech Dressage Saddle Pad…very simply, Catago will be my go-to therapy brand for horse wear. Full disclosure, I am a dressage rider that prioritizes functionality, safety and traditional style. The saddle pad and polos fit my m.o. but the dressage boots were a bit of a reach going in, as dressage sport boots or wraps with liners have always been more my style.
Pleasantly surprised, I REALLY liked the Catago FIR-Tech Therapy Dressage Boots. I tried them out on my young horse and they provided excellent coverage and protection. The hard-shell protects while the FIR-Tech lined interior provides extra cushion in addition to its therapeutic properties. The elasticized straps are ergonomically designed and easy to use while holding the boot securely in place.
Catago FIR-Tech Therapy Dressage Boots
The polos are combination wraps, roughly half the wrap’s length is FIR-Tech infused fleece attached to an elastic second half. These polos provide the mix of benefits of wraps with liners and traditional polos. In addition to the FIR-Tech infused fleece, the elastic provides compression and support, all in a single wrap. These polos are also 12’ feet long which is AWESOME, no more coming up short on the horses with long cannons.
Catago FIR-Tech Therapy Polo Bandages
The saddle pad is well fitted, contoured to the withers, and fits securely with the use of D-ring tab and billet loops. As with all Catago’s therapeutic products, FIR-Tech material is woven into the fibers of this pad. The clean lines, lightly padded Syntermax fiberfill and multiple color selections make this an ideal go-to saddle pad.
Catago FIR-Tech Dressage Saddle Pad
I will absolutely be adding Catago’s FIR-Tech products to both my horses’ wardrobes. Hannah, my senior mare will benefit from FIR-Tech, helping keep her arthritis in check and maintaining muscle condition. While my young horse, Anna, is free from musculoskeletal issues, I would like to keep her that way as long as possible. Catago’s Fir-Tec technology is science tested and provides therapeutic maintenance for equine athletes of all stages. In addition to the above reviewed Catago products, The Paddock Saddlery carries a variety of Catago FIR-Tech infused products which provides the same great therapeutic properties.
Written by Web Products Specialist, Suzanne