The Benefit of Poultices During Show Season

Photo: Shirley McQuillan
Photo: Shirley McQuillan

This Week's Wellness Zone Tip is brought to you by Uckele Health & Nutrition

During show season, horses are worked harder and stalled more often. This can generate a greater amount of stress on the muscles and connective tissue. Jack Grogan, Certified Nutritionist and Chief Science Officer at Uckele Health & Nutrition, believes that it is vitally important that the strong, yet delicate muscles and connective tissue in the legs be protected and cared for day in and day out, especially during show season, “As a result of the increased work load, it is very common for muscles, tendons, ligaments and connective tissue to be overworked or strained; not necessarily to the point of injury, but as a normal consequence of the extra training and performance.”

Grogan emphasizes that the muscles and connective tissues of the legs require rest and care to recuperate as completely as possible to perform at the highest level of the horse's physical potential, “One of the first lines of defense to protect the muscles, tendons and ligaments from the stress of training and performing is a high quality poultice. This functions as a drawing substance, which soothes and comforts the tissues. A good poultice reduces tissue heat and swelling caused by the connective tissue stress that occurs from the substantially greater work load and increased demands of high intensity training and performance.”

In addition, Grogan points out that there is also great benefit for all horses, not just performance horses, to support and soothe the legs, muscles and connective tissue. A high quality poultice can reduce pain or discomfort from normal daily exercise and activity, relieve soreness and stiffness in muscles and joints after a hard workout, and provide natural astringent properties.

Photo: Shirley McQuillan
Photo: Shirley McQuillan

Grogan, who has developed highly effective liniment and poultice formulas, recommends a clay-based formula to provides a temporary cooling benefit for inflamed tissues and natural astringent properties, which can support a faster recuperation. He points out that when it comes to injury, a good rule of thumb is: cold for fresh trauma and as a preventive after heavy work, “In the early acute phases after injury, cold minimizes the aggressive stress response to the injury, and can reduce pain.” Grogan adds that by reducing the initial stress of the injury, the risk of further, more damaging injury from swelling and inflammation is minimized.

“While ice is the preferred cold therapy, it’s not always a convenient option,” Grogan concludes, “Poultices are an excellent alternative option to cool things down and are frequently used as cold therapy on the lower legs (tendons, ligaments, joints) and hooves (traumatic injury, bruises, abscesses) to reduce swelling and aid healing.”

Jack Grogan has worked extensively in the fields of biology, biochemistry and nutrition, is an expert in tissue mineral balancing, and has demonstrated considerable success in balancing equine mineral chemistry to strengthen the basic metabolism and improve efficiency in horses. He is a consultant to numerous veterinarians, chiropractors, trainers, naturopaths and nutritionists.

Uckele Health & Nutrition has built a reputation over 50 years in the formulation, development and manufacture of quality nutritional supplements for fifty years. With leading edge experience in nutritional research and science, the Uckele team provides private label and custom manufacturing from concept to shelf, formulating a vast array of high potency, balanced nutritional supplements to support optimal health and performance at the highest level.