It felt so good to have a pony filled weekend in my life again. Of course it wouldn’t be an Indiana weekend without experiencing multiple seasons in 72 hr stretches, but nonetheless it was a great one.
Friday morning started off at the super pleasant temperature of -3° F, aka a ‘feels like’ of -16° F aka too freaking cold to exist. (Canadians, shhhh.) It also started with wrangling all the things as I loaded barn things, work things, dog things and ‘I live in Antarctica’ things to get out the door by 7:30am. First stop was the vet clinic (my vet is a mixed practice, so one side sees Finn the JRT and the other sees Iggy the Small Unicorn) to drop Finn off for a dental. (This was preceded by re-scheduled bloodwork due to my dog deciding the vet is TERRIFYING the week before and needing to be drugged to get in the door… the same dog who went to work with me at a vet’s office for a year…) I got him inside, dropped off, and planned to be back for him around 2-3pm.
From there, off to the barn to meet the large animal vet to give Iggy a once-over, just to establish him as a new patient and get a baseline. There were also two horses seeing him for injuries and about a dozen getting health certificates to leave for Pine Top next week. This also happened at 9am just as everyone was turning out, feeding, breaking ice in buckets and did it mention it was negative degrees. To say it was moderately controlled chaos is an understatement. Iggy handled the whole thing with aplomb, barely opening his eyes as he dozed in crossties. We got a report of “healthy, but out of shape” so like… same. More conditioning for everyone, coming up.
Of course while I’m at the barn in the midst of this, the small animal vet calls – Finn’s bloodwork has come back and it’s… concerning. He had some iffy numbers about 6 months ago, but since it was a snapshot in time, we decided we’d repeat later and decide then. Well this was the repeat and not only were things still not great, they were trending worse. Scratch the dental and instead we got a referral to an internal medicine specialist (who we’ll be seeing next week). This meant back to the vet to pick up the dog (who decided he was traumatized by the entire situation… this is my eyeroll).
Saturday and Sunday were, thankfully, far less eventful and far warmer – mid 40s and sunny which felt amazing. Tim Bourke was in town teaching a clinic at the barn, so I hopped over to watch some lessons both days before riding. He’s a great teacher I’ve always enjoyed riding with and even auditing I got some really good things to take home (I guess I can’t say take home if I was home?).
Iggy was a perfect unicorn because of course he was. Despite being stuck inside due to ice that turned into soul sucking mud, he was more than happy to go to work. He’s a little more out of shape than I initially realized, so we’ve got some conditioning to do, especially in his hind end. I realllllly want an Equicore system after Jen wrote about it, but with Finn’s vet bills TBD it’s not exactly in the cards right now, so I’m going to DIY some version based on Amanda’s.
For fun on Sunday, one of the juniors in the barn and I decided to stick Iggs. Sure enough, he’s just as little as we thought – right at 15.0h, maybe a touch over. No wonder I’m out here buying cob things and 20″ girths!
Our workout plan (…for both of us) starts tonight and I feel like he might not be quite as happy about it as he was when I just came and shoved cookies at him… The price of playing XC buddy.
While I’m hinted at the origin story behind the blog’s name before, I realized I never actually put it somewhere for people to understand. So, in a fit of boredom (omg -6 degrees is TOO COLD PEOPLE) I finally wrote something up. It’s under About, but can also be found here should you find yourself curious.
With that, here’s to hoping for a warmer weekend so I can actually like, ride my horse? He’s had his feet done, seen the vet (just routine), has a new saddle, made friends in turnout (would love to know why his friend Freddie thinks licking his muddy legs is fun?) and now it’s time to kick spring off. IEA is going to be here before we know it!
Going from Doc to Iggy has been a change for a multitude of reasons. Some are normal, like the change in gait and style going from one horse to another. Others are physical – going from something 16.1h to something barely 15.1h. And some are personality.
Yeah, it’s been a change.
In some ways, an expensive change. Like, jump saddle doesn’t fit, so just bought a new one of those (!!). Full size bridles and halters are too big – two new cob sizes coming up. Then the weather decided to tank this weekend (high of 11 anyone?) which I didn’t notice until Tuesday, which led to ordering a 280g blanket liner with 2 day shipping from Schneiders. Because you know, my horse wears a 76″, not an 81″. (Also kudos to them – I ordered it at 2:30pm on Tuesday with 2 day shipping and it showed up on my doorstep at 11am this morning. That’s Amazon Prime fast.)
And the personality differences are stark. Doc was like a benevolent king – he did not have time for your silly antics, he was in charge, but he was kind at heart and takes care of his people. Iggy is like Kimmy Schmidt meets Phil Dunphy, with an addition of 4th grader not taking their Adderall. He wants to MEET EVERYONE, stick his face in EVERYTHING, EXPLORE ALL THINGS and be in your pocket. It’s mostly cute, so long as he remembers his manners, but it’s also the cause of what I have learned is my new pet peeve in life: the damn horse plays with the french link in his bit as soon as he’s on a loose rein. Just… for funsies. Like it’s a fidget spinner, at the ready.
Mostly I notice it while grooming. Compared to the other horses in the barn (a lot of Thoroughbreds, some Irish, some warmbloods, a few QHs but all much chunkier), he looks like someone dropped off a hunter pony at an event barn by mistake. I’ve had other riders think I was someone’s child on him, his tack is all smaller than anyone else’s and when I accidentally put someone else’s 81″ blanket on him this week, he hilariously swam in it like a kid wearing his dad’s clothes.
This has become a general rambling, but all to say he’s settling in splendidly without missing a beat (ok, so we had a small come to Jesus last night that I am scarier than being in the dark), we’ve had some fun rides as we get to know each other, I’ve gotten to shop for ALL THE THINGS and will have some mini-reviews coming shortly and we should start lessoning here in coming days.
As my trainer put it once he finally arrived – I guess good things do come to those who wait.
You might have seen on Instagram the little (ok, or not so little) secret I’ve been keeping for weeks – a chestnut secret to be specific.
After stepping Doc down (who is loving life as his owner’s kiddo’s horse) I started looking for another lease. Buying just wasn’t right for me right now for about 1000 different reasons, but in part because I really wanted something older, been-there-done-that, to keep learning and growing. It took four months, but thanks to a few people – ahem, Emily – I came across Iggy! He’s a total packer 18 year old Quarter Horse who has gone N/T with his owner, but needed a job now that she has a young one to bring up.
I went down to Kentucky before Christmas and meet up with Emily and we went out to try him where he was a perfect angel. The footing was miserable, it was cold and wet and he hasn’t had a real job in a few months, but he happily came out and showed me all his fancy buttons and carted my out of shape butt over a handful of jumps. Jumps where I was unable to see a single distance, where I jumped so far up his neck I was between his ears and where my my entire timing was so hilariously off it was like I’d never jumped a horse in my life before. And what did he do? Took every joke in stride without much more than a, “I do the thing and then I get the cookies so it’s ok hooman.”
Needless to say I was smitten. It took a month and some to get arrangements worked out between transportation, the holidays and a stall at the barn, but he arrived Friday night! He’s the happiest of campers, totally chill and settled right in.
I’ve been on him three times at home now and each time he just comes out better than the last. We rode outside on Sunday and it was incredibly windy with things flapping around, horses leaping and galloping around their pasture next door and he didn’t bat an eye.
Iggs has this amazing personality I’m loving getting to know – he wants to be intimately involved in everything happening at the barn. Must say hi to everyone, must make sweet faces, must stick nose into everything. Must sniff and lick all dogs, must examine all walls, must investigate everyone’s stall. We quickly found out he likes facing other horses in the crossties, as facing him away will result in his bending himself into a U-shape to watch them, making tacking up slightly more difficult.
He’s a little guy compared to all the big warmbloods and Irish horses at the barn, only 15.0-15.1ish and cob sized everything (and i just had to buy a 20” dressage girth OMG), but cute as a button. And damn does he have a speedwalk in him! Plus new size horse means shopping for new size tack and every good tack ho loves an excuse to shop. (Even if Michele tried to sell me her XC boots while I still own her previous pair…) And having a jump saddle that doesn’t fit him (someone please buy it PLEASE I WANT TO JUMP MY HORSE)
Because of said jump that saddle doesn’t fit him I’m spending some quality time in my dressage saddle which isn’t a bad thing for anyone. (Um, except me. I want to jump my pony, ok?!) We’re getting to know each other and having the best time and I couldn’t wait to finally publicly introduce him!
So bloggers, meet Iggy! (And don’t mind me quoting every Iggy Azalea lyric until forever)
We’re 10 days into 2020 and it’s been… a year. Already. Could we just chill and have a drink here for a second and not jump headfirst off a cliff? Apparently not.
First things first, I came back from vacation to a box from Genny for Secret Santa! She knocked it out of the park too. The Charlie Mackey book I’ve wanted, a snuggly navy hat, an adorable keychain charm and the best smelling hand lotion (that mayyyy be already partially gone) – it’s like she knew everything that would make me happy and sent all of them.
But then the new year came and with it, brought a gross disgusting virus that laid me flat out for four days and had me hacking my lungs up. Lovely. Luckily, I recovered from that in time to go pick up the cabinets for the kitchen island I’m building – had a whole plan how I was going to prime and sand this weekend, lay out the island next week… Well.
In unloading said cabinets (yes, ALONE I KNOW IT WAS DUMB OKAY), I managed to get two of the three done. And then promptly dropped the third and caught my right middle finger between it and a metal pole. After cursing a lot, I went inside and watched it gradually grow larger and turn fun colors all night. But, I mean… it’s a finger, right? I was out of tape at home so I figured I’d just ask a nurse at work the next day to tape it.
Not so straightforward seeing as one of the docs I work with looked at it and went, “Uhhh you’re not taping that, you’re going to a hand specialist like.. tomorrow.”
Sure enough, I can’t do ANYTHING STRAIGHTFORWARD.
Normal people break their foot – maybe an easy to fix bone, a toe, etc. I break my foot (circa 2016), I break a weird ass bone and end up in a boot for 5 months.
Normal people break a finger, they buddy tape, go about life. I break a finger, I end up in a massive splint contraption for 10 days before finding out if I need surgery to fix the fact that my finger is now crooked. Awesome.
Mix in we’re also working on a scar on my chin and that appointment happened Wednesday afternoon so I have a bruised face.
I am well on my way to being in pieces by February.
But at least my health insurance deductible might be hit by then?
(HAHA I haven’t even mentioned the bunny I found and how I fostered a damn RABBIT with a Jack Russell in the house…)
It’s hard to believe it’s the end of 2019 and with it, the end of a decade! Emily did a fun ‘decade in photos’ look back that seems to have caught on and I’m nothing if not a copycat.
I was in my second semester of undergrad and my mom was showing Lucy as an amateur. This is the year of her second suspensory tear and we pretty much retired her at this point to hang out at my parents’ place full time with Sancho the Mini Donk. I did go hop on a friend’s horse at Auburn once, but there’s no photographic evidence. I was burned out beyond belief at the end of high school and was thoroughly enjoying being a “regular” college kid.
Still didn’t ride much (at all). Hopped on Lucy a few times over the summer before my sophomore year of college, but mostly was still being a college student. Went to Pinto Worlds to watch Coorina’s baby show (and win a world championship!)
I spent my summer hacking Lucy around and riding my aunt and uncle’s horse, Harry. Interned at the Pinto World Show in one of the most awful and sleep deprived experiences of my life, but learned for once and for all I had no desire to go back to breed show life. Found my college major and went back to school for junior year in the fall as an officer on sorority exec board where some geniuses trusted a 20 year old with a half million dollars.
Finished out junior year, still no ponies in my life at school. Came home for the summer and interned, lost 22lbs and took my favorite photos ever with Lucy. Turned 21, went to Vegas, enough said. Back to school, football season, the best day of my life, the Kick Six, lost a national championship by 13 seconds. Living with my best friends in the world in the best townhouse in the best city.
Did some more college senior things, interviewed for grad schools, got into grad school, put two deposits down and changed my mind on a school at the last minute. Oops. Graduated. Went home and rode a family friend’s OTTB, Lane. Moved to Chapel Hill and started grad school in August. Found a barn to ride at and started riding consistently for the first time in four years.
Went XC schooling for the first time and get bucked off, but also fall in love. Decided I want to event. Started half-leasing Skylar who was spooky and scared me half to death 75% of the time. Did… grad school things. Interned in Chapel Hill over the summer, started second year of grad school, stopped riding as applying to fellowships and flying all over for interviews took over my life.
Travel in the spring, watch UNC lose a national championship to a buzzer beater, compete in a case competition at Minnesota, break my foot in a Minnesota bar, graduate from grad school in a boot and move to South Carolina to start fellowship. Spend what feels like the next 7 years in a walking boot (5 months but STILL). Didn’t ride once all year, but start volunteering at Tryon for events, including working at AECs. Found out Lucy tore her deep digital flexor despite being retired and doing… nothing. She stays retired and happy.
Adopt Finn the Jack Russell! Refinish my first piece of furniture, go on a girls’ trip to NYC, volunteer at The Fork, go to DC for a wedding, finish fellowship, move to Indiana, immediately find a horse. Start leasing Doc! Complete our first CT together in August, visit Olivia in September, fall off Doc for the first time in October. Do our first BN CT in November, buy my County and head home for Christmas!
Stuck inside until March thanks to the coldest winter of my LIFE. Immediately fall off the middle of March and break my back. Out of the saddle until June, but back in it just in time to go to Event Camp! Have some of the best rounds of my life, go down to the Hoosier Horse Park and spend all day getting run away with. What can you do. Go on lots of trail rides, spend all summer conditioning and complete our first BN HT in the fall, finishing on our dressage score.
Start my new (fantastic) job and readjust to my commute. Jump around BN a few times. Have an amazing week at Event Camp where we jump Novice height and some Training questions, but cut short by some funky steps. Back by the end of the summer where we have an amazing time schooling XC at the HHP including jumping a N/T trakehner. Find a dressage saddle after 10 trials. Ready to go to Team Challenge in KY when we get the news that we’ll have to retire him from jumping. Cry, drink, and in the end, say thanks that he’s still happy and healthy and nobody got hurt. Start looking for a new horse and end up taking a trip to Lousiville and making phone calls to vets, barn owners, hauling companies and send lots of fun text messages… to be continued.
I can’t say I have any overwhelmingly fun news to share… yet. But at the risk of jinxing anything, things are happening and 2020 is looking bright and shiny and… chestnut?
I did get to go down to Louisville last weekend though and in between trying not to be sucked into a mud bog and getting distracted at ALL The Pretty Farms (can we agree heaven has rolling green pastures and four rail fences? K) I got to see Emily and May!
OMG she is so much fun.
And it even gets better than that because I got to ride May. Emily was trying out my jump saddle (which fits them beautifully) and so when she offered me the chance to pop on the World’s Best Thelwell Pony, the answer was obvious.
On the ground she’s a snuggly little bug with the best manners. I wanted to pack her up and take her home to live in my living room. Under saddle, she’s so sensitive (in the best way) off the leg and smooth to ride. I love her. Emily popped her over a few fences to try the saddle and May is even cuter over fences than pictures show. I was being a chicken about the footing along with not being able to feel my hands (genius, gloves are a thing for a reason) so I just flatted her around for a few minutes. She’s so safe and comfy feeling – like a very sensitive athletic couch.
In non-pony news, my office moved to the children’s hospital which means we get All the Fun Things like full blown ballets in the lobby and therapy dogs in Christmas attire.
I shipped off my blogger Secret Santa gift today (sorry for the delay!), my Christmas vacation starts at 5pm tomorrow and I will soon be on a beach soaking up every last bit of warmth before Indiana beckons me home to its cold tundra of January.
I may (or may not…) write more about 2019 in summary, but I can say while it wasn’t the year I planned on (like, at all), it ended up being a great year. I’m so grateful to have a wonderful family and friends, the greatest ponies in my life, my health, a job I adore and more blessings than I can count. Signing off for the year to say Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and have a wonderful New Year!
I have no horse to write about (YET. Poor Emily has heard it all…), but I’m bored reading and not actually writing (uh, probably because I have too much free time because see above no horse). So, L’s questions it is.
1. What discipline do you ride? What would you ride if you could pick any other one?
Well, I’m an eventer these days. Or was/will be again? An eventer in purgatory? But I grew up riding on the Quarter Horse/Paint circuits showing all-around, using spur stops, wearing ALL THE SPARKLES, and going extremely slow. I’ve also spent a little bit of time in the hunters, the QH hunters (yes, distinguished from the USEF hunters, although not as much now as in the past) and on working cow horses. If I had unlimited time/money/sanity, I’d definitely have a cow horse again.
2. How many horses have you ridden in your entire riding career?
Like… a lot? I sat here and counted off 35 and I’m sure I missed some along the way.
3. Most bizarre activity you’ve done with your/a horse?
Poor Lucy has put up with like… everything. I routinely came home from college in the summers and hopped on her bareback with a neckstrap or halter and did dumb stuff like ride her backwards. In a bikini. At a lope. (The only time I’ve ever come off that saint of a mare and she just stood there like, “What did I do to deserve this idiot?”) We also “herded” (um, lacklusterly chased) alpacas around once.
4. Do you consider riding to be your outlet? If yes, why?
Yes… and no? It’s an outlet from work, but my mind also goes 900 miles a minute about horses too, so I’m not sure it’s entirely an outlet. I’m far too competitive as a person for that. But being physically in the barn I might consider to be more of one. Or cleaning tack, sweeping aisles, that kind of thing. Riding uses more of my brain power than I’d like to publicly admit.
5. Have you ever read horse-related magazines? If yes, which one(s)?
All of them? Definitely read Horse Illustrated, Young Rider (I was even in it!), AQHA Journal, Chronicle of the Horse, The Equine Chronicle, Horse Connection (a Colorado/NM local magazine), Practical Horseman… I was even known to pick up a Western Horseman. These days I consume most of my media online, like every other millennial.
6. Most memorable advice given to you?
Yikes, there are a lot. But honestly probably my mom just saying something along the lines of, “it has to be fun.” When it stops being fun, it’s not worth it. But in more practical advice, hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. Also, to breathe.
7. Did you ever collect Breyer horse models or similar?
Only somewhere in the range of 150-200 of them, whoops. My mom and I got really, really into model horses for a while (actually mom still is). Lots and lots of Breyers and a large number of Peter Stone models. We actually met Peter Stone and he made my first mare, Coorina, into a model. Every once in a while I see a Coorina model floating around on eBay or something.
8. Favorite “celebrity” horse?
Can I pick Lil Sebastian? If I have to pick a real one, probably Funny Cide, Mr Medicott or Vital Signs Are Good.
9. If you could spend a day learning from any horse person (past or present), who would you choose?
I hate these pick one questions. The eventer in me says Ingrid Klimke, the practical person says Sharon White and the girl who grew up on a Quarter Horse says Jack Kyle (who my mom actually rode with growing up).
10. If you could ride in any international arena in the world, where would you choose?
Can I just go hack around at Burghley? Or can I really piss off all the golfers and go ride around Augusta National?
This… just sucks to write. And live. And just general suckage.
Doc’s retired from jumping as of Saturday morning.
Yup, still hurts to say.
What started as an appointment for, “Oh, I think he needs Adequan,” ended with “this horse will never jump again.” Well shit.
In the matter of an hour vet appointment, I managed to cancel two HT entries, a hotel room, an online order, a clinic entry, my team challenge team… nothing but ruthlessly efficient, I guess. And you know, cancel my optimism and dream of galloping through the finish flags at the KHP next month. Told you it sucks.
I went home and ate donuts and pizza and drank and watched TV and slept and tried to avoid looking at all the things all over my kitchen I’d purchased and was organizing to take to Kentucky. After 30 hours of wallowing, I pulled myself together, left the house and tried to be a normal person.
A hot shower, a good night’s sleep thanks to a hefty dose of melatonin, and a yoga class later, I feel a little better. Enough to think about what’s next without wanting to cry.
So next? Finding another horse that’s financially workable (horse shopping with a budget of… nothing is great fun), spending the winter getting to know a new horse, trying not to lose my mind in the meantime… Sounds like a party. A Halloween horror party maybe.
I’m not all doom and gloom. I’m so grateful for everything Doc gave me. I’m 100x the rider I was two and a half years ago. He’s the horse who took me through my first HT, who I jumped 3′ on for the first time, who taught me more nuances and feel than I’d ever imagined. I’m so grateful that we didn’t have the potential catastrophic injury happen on course. I’m thankful for the times he taught me how to let go and go for a gallop and just experience the joy of watching the world thunder by, wind in your ears.
But I’m also heartbroken I won’t get to have the feeling of taking a horse I trust so intrinsically around a Novice XC course. Of galloping down to a line that scares the hell out of me, only to feel entirely weightless and unable to contain the cheer of excitement on the other side. That I won’t be showing off how damn smart and athletic and funny my big red Saddlebred is at any more events. He may have “just” been a lease, but I love him as much as if he was my own.
I was recently lamenting to a non-horsey friend about trying to find a pair of ice boots I liked that wouldn’t break the bank. They inquired more about what we used them for and how – and then proceeded to turn my world upside down. I’ve been a loyal ice-er for years of my horses (and self) – not after every ride, but certainly after a XC school, on any soreness, at a HT or a tough jump lesson. It’s good horsemanship, right?
Until she told me I might still be stuck in the 90s and… totally wrong? Apparently the most recent research is showing ice may not be the most beneficial thing for recovery. Think I’m crazy? Me too.
Because I’m good at writing about shoes, horses and spending money, but not great at science, I just straight up brought some quotes in to do the talking.
“The rationale behind recovery ice packs, baths and cold tubs goes something like this: the cold stimulates your sympathetic nerve fibers, which react by signaling blood vessels in the area to constrict and send blood back to your core to protect your vital organs. This rush of blood away from the extremities reduces blood flow to the areas you’re icing and slows the metabolic processes in these regions, including the inflammatory response, and thus reduces any swelling that might otherwise happen. The pressure of the water may also provide some compression against your muscles and blood vessels, which could also slow swelling and inflammation. Finally, icing relieves pain by numbing sore areas, at least temporarily… There’s no question that icing can reduce pain, at least temporarily, he told me, but it comes at a cost. “Anything that reduces your immune response will also delay muscle healing,” Mirkin says. “The message is that the cytokines of inflammation are blocked by icing — that’s been shown in several studies.” Instead of promoting the process of healing and recovery, icing might actually impair it, he says.”
“Athletes love icing sore muscles, but that cold therapy might make things worse” – Washington Post
In other words – sure, ice will numb things, but for how long and at what cost to performance?
“Gary Reinl, a personal trainer and prominent icing skeptic who over the years has worked with professional athletic teams, elite military squads and coaches and trainers around the world, says the problem is that icing merely slows blood flow to the area, it doesn’t halt it indefinitely. Once the icing stops and the blood flow returns to normal, whatever process you were trying to hinder will proceed again. The swelling will continue and the inflammation will start. The only thing you did was delay things, he says.”
“Athletes love icing sore muscles, but that cold therapy might make things worse” – Washington Post
Well. Huh. So I decided not to take this at face value and to use my university journal access to dig myself. And… sure enough, that’s what I found.
“There was marginal evidence that ice plus exercise is most effective, after ankle sprain and postsurgery. There was little evidence to suggest that the addition of ice to compression had any significant effect, but this was restricted to treatment of hospital inpatients. Few studies assessed the effectiveness of ice on closed soft-tissue injury, and there was no evidence of an optimal mode or duration of treatment.” – The use of ice in the treatment of acute soft-tissue injury: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials, American Journal of Sports Medicine
“The authors reported ice to be no more effective than rehabilitation only with regard to pain, swelling, and range of motion. Ice and compression seemed to be significantly more effective than ice alone in terms of decreasing pain. Additionally, ice, compression, and a placebo injection reduced pain more than a placebo injection alone. Lastly, in 8 studies, there seemed to be little difference in the effectiveness of ice and compression compared with compression alone. Only 2 of the 8 groups reported significant differences in favor of ice and compression.” – Does Cryotherapy Improve Outcomes With Soft Tissue Injury?, Journal of Athletic Training
“Cold packs were applied to exercised muscle for 15 minutes at 0, 3, 24, 48, and 72 hours after exercise. The exercise significantly elevated circulating creatine kinase-MB isoform (CK-MB) and myoglobin levels. Unexpectedly, greater elevations in circulating CK-MB and myoglobin above the control level were noted in the cooling trial during 48-72 hours of the post-exercise recovery period. Subjective fatigue feeling was greater at 72 hours after topical cooling compared with controls. Removal of the cold pack also led to a protracted rebound in muscle hemoglobin concentration compared with controls. Measures of interleukin (IL)-8, IL-10, IL-1β, and muscle strength during recovery were not influenced by cooling. A peak shift in IL-12p70 was noted during recovery with topical cooling. These data suggest that topical cooling, a commonly used clinical intervention, seems to not improve but rather delay recovery from eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage.” – Topical cooling (icing) delays recovery from eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage, The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
“Significant training effects were three times more frequent in the control than in the cold group, including increases in artery diameters in the control but not in the cold group. It is concluded that training-induced molecular and humoral adjustments, including muscle hyperthermia, are physiological, transient and essential for training effects (myofiber regeneration, muscle hypertrophy and improved blood supply). Cooling generally attenuates these temperature-dependent processes and, in particular, hyperthermia-induced HSP formation.” – Post-exercise leg and forearm flexor muscle cooling in humans attenuates endurance and resistance training effects on muscle performance and on circulatory adaptation, European Journal of Applied Physiology
Similarly, a 2015 study reported on two experiments looking at how cold water immersion influenced how muscles responded to a strength training program, and found that cold treatment reduced gains in muscle mass and strength and blunted the activation of key proteins in the skeletal muscle. The studies “challenge the notion that cold water immersion improves recovery after exercise,” the authors wrote.
“Athletes love icing sore muscles, but that cold therapy might make things worse” – Washington Post
So – definitely a conclusion saying more research is needed, but also not an insignificant amount of research saying that cold might be doing less good than we thought, or even hurting recovery?
Needless to say, this has my little brain spinning. Do I keep using ice? Stop using ice? Only compression? I haven’t come to a complete conclusion yet. Not to mention, a lot of these are talking about muscle recovery – a moot point in horses who have no muscle below the knee.
For now, I’m going to continue to ice after XC schooling and at horse trials, but maybe lay off after any general rides, even if they’re harder jump schools.