I recently received some products to test out from my friends at Hansbo Sport NA and Competitive Edge PEMF. I cracked most of the products out on my trip to Washington and Utah to show Shorty, and they definitely got used and tested. I'm a big believer in alternative therapies and products. I love a good therapeutic product that I can leave on, and walk away from. I've used and really liked other blankets and wraps on the market for many years, so I was excited to try out something new and a little different. I had heard the hype, but was it true? The "hype" around Hansbo is that it's slightly different than other products on the market because it combines magnetic and ceramic fibres, called ICM. On the ceramic end of things, Hansbo Sport products are said to generate their own Far Infrared Rays (FIR) radiation. In ceramic-based products you'll notice your horse can warm up when wearing them, this is due to those Far Infrared Rays accelerating blood circulation. Hansbo boasts the products increase oxygenation and regeneration of the blood which aids in healing while activating and soothing the nervous system, which in turn reduces muscle tension. Hansbo claims that the "use of ceramic fabrics can increase blood flow by up to 80% and reduce muscle spasms. Increased blood circulation speeds up healing in skin and muscle, tendons and ligaments, as well as bones." Then there's the magnetic therapy. Hansbo claims that the, "body’s cells have electromagnetic properties which means they can be energised by a magnetic field. Magnetic Therapy also encourages blood flow and increases cellular activity in the body. When a powerful magnet is placed against the body, cellular activity is increased, and this in turn can increase the rate at which cells regenerate and repair." Okay, so I'm not a veterinarian, and although a quick google search did find one study on therapeutic fibres used on horses in blankets, it was not for any of the popular brands found in Canada. I'm not here to say that Shorty's blood flow was increased by 80%, I'll tell ya that right now. But from a pure helicopter-rider stand point, I did like the products for a variety of reason. So let's get into it... 1. The Hansbo Sweat and Travel Rug with Attached Neck
The first thing I immediately liked about the Hansbo products are the quality, everything just seems really... sturdy. I feel like I'm going to use that word a lot, but it's the truth. You can kind of see in this photo but the shoulder gussets run really high up, right up to the nylon lining at the shoulders which is really nice and then there's fleece lining at the withers, to prevent chafing. Shorty is an old man with a bit of a shark fin wither happening, so the extra reinforcement in that area is really nice. The front chest straps are once again really strong and durable, and my favourite thing about this blanket is probably the belly straps. They have an extra section of fabric where the buckle lays on reinforced nylon, instead of on the blanket itself. The neck piece attached easily and comfortably, with a lot of overlap on the nylon lining on the shoulders, so again reducing any chance of chafing or rubbing. That's pretty dang important when it comes to neck pieces, I don't want a single piece of mane perturbed! All the straps had a lot of elasticity and give as well, nothing felt static or unmovable which is a big plus. I just felt the blanket was really well thought out structurally and that a lot of the horse's comfort was thought about in the creation.
I've noticed that with other products, the horse can get quite hot and sweaty underneath the blanket due to the effect the ceramic has on blood circulation. Scientifically, I don't know if this is a pro or a con for Hansbo - does the magnetic effect lessen the "heat" I've seen in other products? But I did notice Shorty seemed a lot less hot underneath the blanket and for hauling in the warmer months this is a BIG bonus for me. I like to use these products when hauling, but not if it means sacrificing comfort and having my horse sweating in a hot box for hours depending on the haul. Do I think these types of blankets are the answer to all your 75's and buckle-winning runs? No. Have I done a personal study on my own horse to see if they are better with, or without, these blankets on? Also no, but that's because I'd rather have the products on! But I will tell you that when I started showing Shorty he had a tendency to get a sore back, and the combination of these blankets, as well as chiro, PEMF and equine massage has been very helpful and his back is strong and muscles are much more relaxed. Blankets like this are a great way to have passive therapy occurring between sessions with your practitioners. 2. Hansbo Quick Wraps
Alright, this product requires a rave from me. I LOVE these quick wraps for a variety of reasons, and similar to the blanket, the first one is the DURABILITY. The wrap is made of two parts. The lining closest to the horse’s legs are made of a soft, infused ceramic/magnetic polyester. Then, the outer shell is made of a strong neoprene with four practical Velcro fasteners. They are attached via velcro. I found these wraps to be exceptionally durable and the neoprene fabric seemed to stay a lot cleaner, and easier to clean as well. In Washington Shorty was in a stall with a small attached turnout, and I would leave these on overnight. In the morning he had no dirt on his legs where the wraps had been, and they hadn't budged at all. The interior wrap is molded really well to the legs and the four velcro fasteners are really equally spaced and easy to pull around the wrap. The combination of this makes it easier to pull the boot a little tighter than other wraps on the market, adding a compression factor I think other products lack. Of course, you need to be concerned about bowed tendons and the like with wraps, but I was never concerned that these boots were too restricting or too tight, they were honestly just right.
A client of Competitive Edge PEMF enjoying the benefits of PEMF AND the Hansbo Wraps
If I was going to recommend one Hansbo product I tried above all the others, this would be it, hands down. To finish off Part One of my Hansbo Sport Review, I also tried some of the newly released topical products that Hansobo North America brought in by Exlipse Biofarmab. We'll start with my favourite... 3. Ice Gel Cooling Liniment
I'm a big fan of using liniments. Generally I like to cool my horses out post-show, then give them a good bath, let them dry off enough that their legs aren't slick and wet, and then apply a liniment to their legs and hocks. For a horse that really stocks up, I might apply a liniment and then wrap with a standing wrap for stalling or trailering. Liniment is nice because it's just a lot cleaner and easy to use than mud and poultice products. A product I've used forever, Mineral Ice, is effective... but blue... so if you have a horse with any white on their legs, it will stain. Only slightly, but you can still see it if you look close. Ice Gel is clear, so NO stain, vicious enough that it was easy to apply and comes in a pretty handy squeeze bottle, so you aren't globbing handfuls out of a big bucket. The scientific thought process behind liniment and cooling legs post work, is that it reduces the flow in the bloodstream, so that small hemorrhages in the skin and the surface tissue, that occur during exertion, can heal faster. I can also easily prove that liniment works to ya'll, because it was on my hands and I could definitely feel the effects for about an hour to two post application. I also knew my horses could feel it for hilarious reasons. I decided to apply some to Shorty's SI area and then I had him tied at the trailer to dry in the sun. When the liniment started to tingle he LOST IT, started bucking and causing a total scene at the trailer because he couldn't figure out what that weird feeling was. Poor boy. Another technique I employed with this product was to apply it, and then use a Quick Wrap over top of it for the added compression benefits. I've done a similar technique with a standing wrap and poultice before, but again.. takes a lot longer, leaves a lot of room for error if someone is inexperienced with wrapping, and also leaves you with messy wraps and hands post-application. If you are like me, when you mud, it get's EVERYWHERE. Well, I used this technique on another horse, and the poor horse spent ten minutes in his stall staring at his tingling and wrapped up legs, trying to figure out what the heck was happening. So, proof is in the pudding, both horses could definitely feel the effects of the cooling gel, and I felt both benefited from the application post-show.
So there you have it, on Part Two of my Hansbo Sport Review, next week, I will talk about the Hansbo Halters, as well as the new Biofarmab Arnica Gel and Poultice. If you want anymore information on these products make sure to get in contact with Cali Brandt of Competitive Edge PEMF, she carries everything we discussed today, plus has sample sizes of the new Biofarmab products available to try! Find her information here: https://www.facebook.com/competitiveedgepemf.