We followed Ann Jone’s Woodburn (ridden by Phillip Dutton) behind-the-scenes in his Wednesday jog preparation. Today we get to follow his step-by-step cooling out in the Rolex 3-Day Event vet box. If you’ve ever wondered how to cool a horse off after a four-star course, or if you want tips on cooling your own horse out efficiently, you’ll want to check out this step-by-step guide with both videos and photos. I hope you both enjoy it and find it useful!
Vets and grooms meet each horse as soon as they cross the finish line. In vet check #1 their temperature is taken and the grooms get to work immediately with buckets of ice water. As a team they sponge the cold water on the horse and immediately scrape it off. This draws the most heat from the horse as quickly as possible to bring down his temperature. That’s Phillip’s top groom, Emma Ford, at Woodburn’s head. This is what it looked like in real time. Note Dr. Kevin Keane, Phillip’s vet, looking on in the blue jacket.
I mentioned in an earlier post that troughs of ice water lined the vet box fence. Here a groom makes her own ice water with which to cool Woodburn.
Studs come out. Grooms unscrew the cleat-like studs from the horse’s shoes. The studs help the horses with traction on the cross-country course, but leaving them in too long could create strain on their legs. Phillip’s groom, Kelly, uses a wrench to unscrew them. Check out how quick she is about it.
Steps 3 and 4:
Ice bath, walk. Ice bath, walk. Grooms sponge the water on and immediately scrape it off which means cold water constantly pours over and off these upper-level event horses to bring their body temperature down. We can see this up close in this video as well as get a sense of the hustle and bustle in the vet box.
Vet check #2. A Rolex vet checks Woodburns vital signs (temp, pulse, and heart rate) to track his progress then talks it over with Phillip Dutton’s vet, Dr. Kevin Keane. If you ever wanted to be a fly on the wall around Rolex vets this is your chance.
More cold baths and walking followed by the Rolex vets checking Woodburn’s temperature again. Everyone is efficient and prompt. Woodburn is allowed to leave the vet box after this vet check meaning they have deemed him safely cooled out after his cross-country run. If you’re not into educational videos about how to check a horse’s temperature I’d, um, skip this one.
The True Prospect Farm team and the Rolex vets have the whole process down to a science. I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know Woodburn a bit more as you’ve watched him on his Rolex journey so far. Watch and cheer him on as he complete his journey in tomorrow’s show jumping!