When I heard members of the U.S. vaulting team here at the World Equestrian Games were using an intriguing-sounding blanket on their horses for therapeutic use that has ceramic woven into the fabric, I wanted to know more.
U.S. vaulting star Megan Benjamin told me the product is called “Back on Track.”
“My groom swears by it,” Megan said in an e-mail. “We have blankets that the horses wear to relax after a day’s work and boots for specific leg injuries.”
OK, so what is this blanket from Back on Track, exactly?
Their Web site Ð backontrackproducts.com Ð says the “therapeutic sheet is a É mesh material with É fabric containing polyester thread embedded with a fine ceramic powder. Designed to reflect the horse’s own body-warmth, it creates É infrared thermal heat, which can help alleviate pain associated with inflamed muscles and joints. Used for both injury prevention as well as injury recovery É”
It sounds a little like magnetic therapy, but Back on Track says that its products are not and that they work with a horse’s body heat.
Testimonials on the product Web site include one from jumping star Ward McClain, who’s here at the World Equestrian Games.
When I was out reporting for my book Equine ER, I was fascinated by the number of alternative therapies used on horses and how widely accepted they are, whether it was acupuncture or a hyperbaric chamber. Many equine vets I met who didn’t fully understand how some of these approaches work respected the fact that they did.
Meanwhile, earlier this year, 630 readers of TheHorse.com