As summer approaches and the temperatures rise, let's take a look at what we are using and what changes we should make to benefit the horse without overheating - (with SCIENCE!)
The first question about Hidez is always, "Is it hot?" The answer is unequivocally no, but we will get to that.
There are three types of products widely used for travel/recovery: Magnetic products, infused fabric blankets, and compression.
Magnetic blankets can generally be used safely, in the shade. However, direct sunlight can heat metallic objects up significantly in comparison to ambient temperatures, in some places up to 50 degrees C hotter (a). There are very complicated calculations to predict this, but let's look at it this way -- lay a piece of metal in the direct sunlight on a clear day in July in Texas and see if you can pick it up without burning your hands. The blankets can be safe, however we must be careful to ensure the magnets do not heat up in direct sunlight.
Infused fabric blankets are designed specifically to radiate infrared heat back toward the horse. This necessarily raises the core temperature of the horse and deprives him of his natural ability to control his body temperature by evaporative cooling. Add the greenhouse effect of a trailer (think about leaving a child in the hot car with a jacket on) and/or the sun's direct energy and you have a recipe for disaster. Your horse might sweat profusely, lose electrolytes, dehydrate, or worse.
"When it comes to handling high temperatures, the biggest problem for horses is their geometry. The horse’s body is big and wide, and doesn’t dissipate heat well. There’s very little body surface, relative to the size of their body, from which they can get rid of heat. So, the organs inside the body stay hot even while the body surface tries to radiate heat as fast as it can. People take the added step of covering up the body surface with a saddle and pad – or worse, forget to take off their ever-present blankets – which further reduces the area from which body heat can be lost." - David Ramey, DVM (b)
This suggests that even after the horse's "therapeutic blanket" has been removed, it remains difficult for the horse's body to dissipate the excessive heat caused by the product. And, when the ambient temperature is close to the horse's internal temperature, why do we need to radiate more heat into the horse? It doesn't make much sense when we look at it.
Compression is a different type of therapy that increases blood flow without raising the core temperature. Heat transfer (in this case a good thing when transferring body heat into the environment) is inhibited by anything that is insulative, or traps a layer of air between the horse and the environment. Horses, of course were born with a layer of insulation, their own body hair. Hidez Compression Products actually press this layer closer to the skin, reducing the amount of air in between. As the horse sweats, Hidez draws that moisture, and the horse's body heat with it, to the outside of the fabric where evaporative cooling draws the heat into the atmosphere and away from the horse. This cycle continues efficiently, without inducing excessive sweating. Compression has also been proven to increase blood flow, which circulates heat from internal organs outward to the surface to cool.
Hidez Ice Socks can be used any time, since they utilize natural ice for therapy. Once the ice melts, there are no gel packs to trap heat on the horse's legs, making it easy to ice in the trailer without having to stop later.
Hidez is safer, more effective, and more beneficial to the horse than other therapies, a fact which is amplified in hot weather. So pull off those heavy blankets and wraps and help your horse feel his best in the summer with Hidez Compression Products. #HidezHelpingHorses
A: MATHEMATICAL MODELS OF THE DEPENDENCE OF SURFACE TEMPERATURES OF EXPOSED METAL PLATES ON ENVIRONMENTAL PARAMETERS. I.S. Cole* and D.A. Paterson CSIRO Building, Construction and Engineering
c: Effects of experimental graded compression on blood flow in spinal nerve roots. A vital microscopic study on the porcine cauda equina.
Olmarker K1, Rydevik B, Holm S, Bagge U.