Movement significantly increases the temperature of a horse’s skin underneath a boot or bandage, which could have implications for the warm-up phase of exercise.
Researchers at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna in Austria attached thermal sensors to the bare cannon bones of 10 horses and collected data while the horses were at rest and after a session on the longe line.
Next, the same horses were outfitted with a tendon boot on one leg and an exercise bandage on the opposite, and thermal data was again collected while they were at rest and after longeing.
The data showed that when the horses’ legs were bare, there was no significant change in the temperature of the skin between rest and work; the skin remained at about 57.3 degrees Fahrenheit. However, when the legs were covered in boots or bandages, the skin temperature increased significantly—from 59.5 to 76.6 Fahrenheit under a bandage and from 59.5 to 69 Fahrenheit under a boot.
The researchers note that the temperature increase under boots or bandages could accelerate the warm-up phase of exercise. They call for further research on the effect of the warmer temperatures on anatomic structures such as tendons.
Reference: “Effect of a bandage or tendon boot on skin temperature of the metacarpus at rest and after exercise in horses,” American Journal of Veterinary Research, April 2014
This article first appeared in EQUUS issue #442.