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Release of new research – Cryochaps ice leg wraps – available from The Comfy Horse Company

Research conducted by Dr David Marlin a scientist with more than 25 years experience in physiology and biochemistry was commissioned to compare the most commonly used leg cooling methods.

CRYOCHAPS, follows the principles of ice bath technology & provides a lower leg ice wrap chap for everyday use. Tendons & ligaments undergo heavy stress & strain during everyday exercise & temperatures in the legs can rise to very high levels. Both the heat & strain has been seen in studies to cause damage, which may lead to inflammation. CRYOCHAPS provide cooling & compression & used together, cooling & compression may be used to target the build up of heat & inflammation. This may aid in recovery after exercise as well as return to fitness after injury.   



A range of different commercial equine leg cooling products were tested in accordance to the manufacturer’s instructions. These included CRYOCHAPS front and hind boots, a leading brand of ice boots, two leading brands of water cooled (evaporative cooling) boots, clay (covered and uncovered) and a cooling gel.

CRYOCHAPS boots cooled around 1.2x faster than a leading ice-boot competitor, 1.6x faster than the a cooling gel, 1.7x faster than a clay (uncovered), 2.1x faster than water-evaporative-cooled boots, 3.4x faster than clay (covered) and 4.6x faster than no treatment.
CRYOCHAPS ice boots performed the best of the commercial products tested, outperforming the leading ice boot. Cryochaps cooling efficiency was around 70% of that of cold hosing and half that of standing in ice and water. The boots performed better after 24h at -23°C compared with 4 hours, however, the tests indicate that using the boots after only 4 hours in the freezer would be acceptable.

The cooling gel and clay (uncovered) had the next highest efficacy, although for both products the main effect was due to the actual initial application and a conductive heat transfer rather than any longer cooling effect due to evaporation of water. Thus, the efficacy of these products is related to their initial temperature. In this case the initial temperature was 17-18°C (the store room temperature). If these products were warmer, for example after being left in a horsebox or in a tack-room on a warm-day then their cooling efficacy would be considerably lower. If these products are used then they should be kept with ice in an insulated box. However, given their low efficacy, the time to apply them and the need to clean the legs afterwards, there seems little to justify their use

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From 1990 until 2005 David held the position of Senior Scientist and Head of Physiology at the Animal Health Trust.

His main areas of professional interest are exercise physiology, nutrition, fitness, training, performance, thermoregulation, competition strategy, transport and respiratory disease.

He has worked as a consultant to the British Equestrian Teams since 1994 and was a member of the World Class Performance Scientific Advisory Group chaired by John McEwen when it was created in 2006. He was also trainer for the British Endurance Team when they won the Silver Medal at the Endurance World Championships in Compiegne (France) in 2000 and has consulted for many endurance teams and stables in the Middle East. He has recently been appointed Performance Advisor to the British Endurance Team.

David’s recent projects have included a review of the effects of temperature on horses during transport for the British Government, an investigation of welfare in Endurance racing for the FEI, development of testing methods for equine protective leg boots, scientific study of the training methods of Monty Roberts and investigations into factors associated with elite equine performance. He is currently working on projects related to welfare in endurance, headshaking, nutrition and personality types in equestrian sports.

He holds the academic position of Professor in Physiology at Oklahoma State University. He is the author of over 200 scientific papers and book chapters. David’s other affiliations and positions include past Chair of the International Conference on Equine Exercise Physiology (ICEEP) and editor of Comparative Exercise Physiology. He is also the author of Equine Exercise Physiology (Blackwell) and author of All Systems Go (a book about getting horses fit).

Please refer to the website for further details.

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