Onlookers could be forgiven for thinking horses have entered the space race, but the cutting-edge full body suits have a more down to earth purpose.
The compression suits have been developed by an Australian firm to assist horses during travel and help them with recovery from exercise.
The suit’s inventor, Matthew Spice, says the suits are designed to reduce muscle vibration during travel and to enhance blood flow, which can reduce muscle soreness and speed recovery.
He is the director of Hidez, a company based in Windsor, New South Wales, which plans to market the suits in key equestrian markets.
He said he recognised that horses were athletes in their own right who, like their human counterparts, would benefit from a compression garment
Spice says the suits use a graduated compression system, which helps circulation and supplies more oxygen to muscle groups.
Resembling a second skin, the suits take just a couple of minutes to zip on, and Spice says they can be removed even faster. He describes the material as a special moisture management fabric, which keeps the equine wearer dry and comfortable.
They will be available in Australia and New Zealand in June and will be available at specialty equine retailers in the United States by June or July.
Hidez expects to have them available in Europe, the Middle East, Japan and Asia before the London Olympics.
Spice says his company has worked on the design features with many trainers and equestrians, in particular Australian Olympic gold medallist Stuart Tinney.
Tinney said he first used one of the suits at the Alltech World Equestrian Games in Kentucky in 2010 on his horse, Vettori.
He says he uses a compression himself to recover from exercise and felt it might be equally useful for Vettori. He assessed the suits as a very useful recovery tool.
John McNair, trainer of the Australian Group 1 winner Hay List, regarded as one of the world’s best sprinter, is also a convert, believing the use of the suit had helped in the horse’s recovery from exercise and in travel.
“It doesn’t worry them,” McNair said. “They don’t take any notice of it once it has been on for a couple of minutes. It keeps them safe and stable.”
More information: www.hidez.com.au