I am a former equestrian from New England. I have shown Pony Hunters, Junior Hunters, Green Hunters and Hunter Seat Equitation, winning many Championships in all these divisions. At one time, I was also a "working student" at a couple of New England stables, which afforded me the opportunity to experience many ways of dealing with many different problems.
It was not until I had serious, disabling injuries (not from riding) that I looked into the treatments for pain available to humans and animals. I discovered that some of the drugs given to horses for pain, used to be given to humans, until the medical community started seeing a lot of birth defects.
I have found through my own discussions with hundreds of farriers, vets, trainers, M.D.'s and Ph.D's, that a simple, common-sense approach to magnetic therapy on horses, is necessary. Many horse-people want to use magnetics on their horses. Their problem has been with the many different claims made about magnetics, and knowing how to properly apply the therapy. Or, some people have heard about magnetics, and want to know more about this therapy; and why is it slightly different for horses, as compared to humans.
My personal quest for knowledge about magnetics started when I become partially disabled. I went through a "song and a dance" with my doctor and her long list of anti-inflammatories (or NSAID's). I happen to have an encyclopedia about prescription drugs; and I would look up everything she gave me. Wouldn't you know it, these NSAID's were the same things horses get; just in a different dose according to body weight. Now I know how the horses feel. I had been treated like a horse, by my doctor!
Soon after that, I decided to apply "horse sense" to my own medical care and physical therapy program (as I was very disillusioned with my doctors). I have now been off of NSAID's for over three years. I get acupuncture from an R.N.; I go to a chiropractor, and most importantly, I use magnetics, every day. The difference in the quality of my life, is like night and day!
I am the kind of horse lover, who tends to translate from "horses" to "people". You see, horses are people to me! I have found in my research for my own health, that NSAID's can actually make arthritic type pain worse over the long term. For me, the NSAID's knotted my guts so much, it made my back pain worse! Imagine how this must affect horses that are sensitive to colic. That can kill a horse! What also causes me concern, is that the area that knots up on a horse is around where you sit when you ride.
I have also found that in both horses and people, most find faster healing and greater pain relief with magnetics, rather than with the drugs (and without the side effects). Strong, healthy, un-injured individuals with no pain may not notice or feel anything when using magnetics. That is because magnetics only do what is needed to properly align cells. If there is nothing wrong, the magnetics will only serve to pull proper nutrients to the area, as well as to keep the muscles and soft tissue loose. If there is nothing wrong, the magnetics are neutral (when administered in a non-toxic dose).
Horses, of course, are different from people; we humans can dissipate heat much better than horses — in other words, we sweat more efficiently. Also, both horses and humans have red blood cells, with metal in the blood that is pulled by the magnets. Faster blood flow opens the blood vessels, removing toxins from the effected area; while rushing oxygen and nutrients to this area. Faster blood flow is also beneficial for poor circulation conditions.
The stronger the magnetic gauss, the hotter the area will become from the increased blood flow. Therefore, since horses are not able to dissipate heat as well as humans, they need extra care in the timing, placement and gauss strength used. It is well known that the horses' hoof, in particular, needs to be treated with extra caution, because horses cannot tolerate excessive heat or moisture in their hoof; and conditions such as founder, laminitis and thrush can develop.
From my "one-to-one" research, I have found many master farriers who have told me about their experience with magnetics and navicular-type problems. There was concern about both implanting a magnet into a hole in the hoof; and with the non-invasive, external use of magnetics, being too strong (or too hot) for the hoof.
I've come up with a hoof pad that I think is a common sense solution to using magnetic therapy on a horse, especially, around the hoof area. I worked with master farriers, from the very beginning of my magnetic hoof pad idea, to make the best product possible. The farriers who tried my pads on their own horses, told me "it causes the hoof to grow more RESINOUS". At first, I did not understand, why these farriers were excited about this. I found out why. It would be a non-invasive way to correct the dry, cracked hoof problem; sore heels and many more conditions, due to it's support, shock absorption and low gauss magnetics. Thanks to master farrier, John Blombach's kind suggestions, (which I followed "to the letter"); I think my inventions' design makes "horse sense".
One of the best times to use magnetic therapy on horses is before or after riding, or during shipping or handling. When applied on the way to a show, I'm sure your horse would then be calmer (and more relaxed, or comfortable) and thus, give you a better performance. I know I feel more relaxed and comfortable when I use magnetics for my own arthritic pains, than when I must go without them.
There have been many discussions on what type of magnetic fields work best, whether to use bi-polar or uni-polar magnetics.. With bi-polar, you can use either side of the magnet. With uni-polar, you must be sure NOT to put the positive side to the pain point. From my own research, both work very well. As a matter of fact, ANY non-toxic gauss strength of magnetics will help, to varying degrees. (I have provided a chart which details varying gauss strengths to use, and some general "rules of thumb".)
Without testing to prove out this question, and other questions about magnetics, I feel it is wiser to play it safe with magnetic gauss strength. It has been considered safe to not go too high in gauss strength. I have heard of success, with using up to 129 gauss on VERY short treatments. I have also had success on the bursitis in my wrists, using the same strength magnetics I've used in the hoof pads (under 100 gauss).
Here is my list of DO's and DON'T's for magnetic use:
Never use magnetics over an open wound; it will 'weep' and bleed more.
Never exercise a horse with a high gauss magnetic on, damage could result.
Leave your low strength magnetics on, and put the higher strength magnetics on only for a short period of time per application.
Use care in the length of time, and strength of magnetics used.
Consult and work with a professional when using magnetics; whether a farrier, a vet or other equine caretaker.
Two short treatments a day, before and after riding, are usually plenty.
Good to use while shipping, the horse should arrive calmer, and more comfortable.
Good to use while working on your horse on the cross-ties, they should be calmer.
LOW STRENGTH Under 100 gauss, magnetic strength
MEDIUM STRENGTH From 100 to 500 gauss, magnetic strength
HIGH STRENGTH From 500 to 800 gauss, magnetic strength
VERY HIGH STRENGTH From 800 to 1290 gauss, magnetic strength
Anything over these strengths could be very toxic and harmful to your horse!