SmartPak launched an entire line of unique SmartTherapy products on June 15, and since then Nation Media’s editors have been putting them to the test! Jumper Nation editor Lynn Mueller reviewed the SmartTherapy Mesh Sheet — you can check out her observations here. Last week, Eventing Nation editor Leslie Wylie took the SmartTherapy Dressage Saddle Pad and SmartTherapy All Purpose Saddle Pad for a test drive — read her observations here. This week, Horse Nation editor DeAnn Long Sloan reviews the SmartTherapy No-Bow Wraps.
Photo by DeAnn Long Sloan.
My SmartPak SmartTherapy No-Bow Wraps arrived in mid-June. Although I was excited to try them out, I have to admit that I was skeptical about being able to provide an honest review of the product. After all, my mare had been sound, she’s out 24/7 and it’s been over 90 degrees Fahrenheit nearly every day for weeks. When was I going to have the chance to use these wraps how they’re meant to be used given that combination of circumstances?
I needn’t have worried…
I am a frequent user of equine therapy products and was looking forward to seeing how SmartPak’s new SmartTherapy line stacked up. I usually use therapy wraps when I am hauling, after a day of competition, when my horse is on stall rest and I am worried about her stocking up or when I am trying to bring down swelling. However, I am careful about using products like these in warmer temperatures since I often worry about my horse’s body temperature rising or, more specifically, her legs getting too warm for an extended period of time. When it’s hot out, I use regular standing wraps when I ship and I am more apt to cold hose and use ice boots (rather than wrapping my horse’s legs) after competition. Suffice to say, I wasn’t overly thrilled to test out my new SmartTherapy wraps in the heat.
However, Fate being the fickle mistress that she is, I have been provided ample opportunity to put these No-Bow Wraps to the test.
My mare did something in the pasture and came into the barn lame shortly after my No-Bows arrived. I couldn’t quite pinpoint the lameness, although it was quite clear that at least part of the issue was in the lower part of her right front leg. She had minor swelling around her fetlock and pastern and reacted a bit to the hoof testers when pressure was applied to the heel bulbs. Unsure of how to proceed, I treated all the things. I treated her foot as though she might have an abscess and wrapped her lower leg in a No-Bow Wrap and a standing bandage in case of a soft tissue injury.
Unsure of what was going on with my mare, I hoped for an abscess, but wrapped the lower leg in case of a soft tissue injury (it was neither). Photo by DeAnn Long Sloan.
When I unwrapped her leg the following day, I was pleased with the results. Even though she was still tender from her unknown (at the time) injury, the swelling in my mare’s leg went down significantly after spending the night in her SmartTherapy No-Bow Wraps. And, to my surprise, her leg did not seem too warm. Although initially I was concerned about using the No-Bow Wraps in the heat wave we’ve been having, it seems that the ThermoBalance material really does keep the legs cool. There did not seem to be any excess heat from the wrap — and the inflammation in my mare’s leg decreased. Win-win.
So what is it about these wraps that makes them different from regular no-bow quilts? They’re infused with ceramic. More specifically, they are made with ceramic far infrared radiation (cFIR). Essentially, ceramic particles are embedded in the fabric to absorb body heat and reflect it back to the horse as soothing far infrared rays that activate blood flow, which may help to decrease inflammation, improve recovery and protect from oxidative stress.
For my mare, this is going to prove especially beneficial. Her mystery injury turned out to be a hairline fracture in her pastern. Sigh. As we’re progressing through the first month of her rehab, I have put the SmartTherapy No-Bow Wraps to good use. My mare is used to ceramic therapy, so I am comfortable having her legs wrapped overnight in the wraps. Her injured leg is wrapped daily in a No-Bow Wrap and vet wrap for compression and her uninjured leg is wrapped in a No-Bow Wrap and a standing bandage for support.
Both legs wrapped: the right one to provide valuable compression and the left one for support. Photo by DeAnn Long Sloan.
Her legs are staying cool in spite of the high temperatures, and the mess she makes of her stall and her impatient attitude tell me that she is feeling better by the day (despite the weeks of stall rest still in store for her).
A bonus aspect of the No-Bow Wraps is that they are completely machine washable. I have washed these (more than once) since I started using them. Each time they come out clean and looking like new, no matter how much bedding and other detritus is on them when I put them in the washing machine.
Instructions for use and washing instructions. Photo by DeAnn Long Sloan.
I look forward to being able to use these wraps when I’m not dealing with an acute injury. Based on the results I’ve seen, I will definitely use them whenever I need standing wraps — whether that’s during shipping or simply when I’m working to keep my horse from stocking up. They’ve proven to provide excellent support, decrease inflammation and prevent overheating.
The No-Bow Wraps are available from SmartPak for $59.95 ($56.95 with the USEF member discount).
Missed our other SmartTherapy product reviews? Check them out here!