When your horse has a swelling or injury, the first step to recovery is helping the swelling to decrease. A swelling causes the blood vessels to close, making the removal of waste material caused by the injury and the supply of “recovery material” slow down. This delays the recovery. Also, a swelling can damage surrounding tissue causing the swelling in increase.
You can decrease a swelling by cooling the affected area. Cold causes tissue to contract, so fluids from the swelling can be drained and make way for recovery material. Cooling causes the circulation to slow down, so it’s very important cool no longer than 20 minutes per session. It’s preferred to cool the injury multiple times a day for a 20 minute period, instead of cooling it once a day for an hour.