Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Mass Review: Back On Track Stuff!

To date, I own an almost embarrassing amount of Back on Track products. The addiction started with the hock boots, then the pillow and no bow leg wraps. I won a Back On Track sheet from a facebook contest, acquired the neck cover, and then knee braces for myself... then a scarf, and most lately, I scored the best BOT deal in history (probably).

I found a mislabeled Back On Track AP pad at a consignment shop online... for a whopping 18$. And 26$ later (shipping kills, but also... #still cheap) and a small temper tantrum involving a "Where is my package??" inquiry to USPS, my  pad showed up at about 9 pm Tuesday night. I'm not sure if a neighbor brought it after it had been mis-delivered, or if my USPS person actually sucks, but either way... it's here now.

It's not pretty, but with some quilt binding or ribbon (thanks for the idea, Monica!) to clean up a frayed edge, it looks like any normal used white pad. Meaning it's kind of not white, but we're schooling so... whatever. Either way, I want to work my way through the items I have and review them, since I don't think I actually have ever taken the time, and since I've basically mind-controlled my closest equine friends into loving the Back On Track, it's time to rope my readers in, too.

Back On Track Hock Boots

If you squint, you can see hock wraps.
I own the pair without the "pillow" look to them - they honestly look like a human knee brace with straps that go above and below the hock joint and one that goes across it. I purchased these to try and eliminate or at least further space out Foxie's need for a vet to "deflate" or puncture the thoroughpin on one of her hocks. Fluid collected here and would eventually get to the point where the pressure started to impair the joint. We'd deflate it in the fastest 150$ vet visit ever and start the process all over again.

Likes: These hock boots did help with the Thoroughpin, and visibly impacted it's size especially when used over night. Foxie also seemed to benefit from the heat in her general hock comfort, as her jump schools after wearing them were always awesome.

Dislikes: The padded boots weren't yet available, and given the choice, I would purchase those over the plain ones I have. Depending on hock shape, it's hard to get good contact with the hock, which I believe is needed for the celliant to do it's job. They're also not very flexible fit-wise(they're clearly made for one shape of hock, and while Bailey is pretty close, Foxie was far from it, and only got further with her suspensory injury) and generally require the leg to be wrapped under them to keep them up.

Rating: 6/10.

Would I recommend this? I'd recommend the padded version that appears to have the pillow wrap like material inside of it. I believe they sell for similar prices and I can see the pillowed ones (sometimes called the "Royal" version) working better.

Back On Track Mesh Sheet & Neck Cover

Blanket with slinky before I added a turnout over top
I won my mesh sheet from Back On Track and got into a fight with Horseloverz over a neck cover they "accidentally" listed at a rockin deal (hint, I won, that's why I have it). Older versions have red stitching on the shoulder, while newer ones have gold. The mesh sheet is two layers, and the top mesh layer seems to be easy to damage. The shoulder gussets can technically be opened for a more spacious shoulder, but I haven't done this; I find (especially when layered) that this sheet slides back and will be tight on the shoulder regardless simply due to it's stretchy nature and the straps/binding being heavier than the sheet. Update: A commenter has confirmed that opening the shoulder gussets causes the sheet to slide back further as the shoulder gussets are oversized. 

The neck cover is similar and does try to sneak down the neck; I secure it to a halter when in use, but haven't layered it under a blanket with a neck cover. 

I use this sheet year round,  though far less in the summer. I have layered it under a turn out blanket for Foxie, but wouldn't suggest that for a horse who plays hard or is destructive to blankets (Bailey, we're looking at you). Bailey wears it at shows and clinics, and Foxie wears it for general maintenance, as she has muscle soreness and general  bodysore tendancies from her whole body being damaged from a r acing/sporthorse career as well as unbalanced from the suspensory injury. 

Likes: Again, this sheet really benefits my horses. The longer you can leave it on, the more pronouncecd they become, though taking a break between periods of long term wear are suggested.

Dislikes: I wish the shoulders or the entire blanket were lined; I don't love the way the blanket sticks to the hair vs sliding over it, and use a shoulder guard for any prolonged use. The hardware was a bit cheap, and until I removed the t-lock bands from the belly straps, they were very hard to secure. The sheet does slide back. but stays pretty secure with all straps done up and leg straps added. I find myself wishing that the tail flap was removable or smaller so it's less likely to stick out under a turn out blanket and get wet/torn.

Rating: 9/10.

Would I recommend this? Yes. It's expensive, but probably one of the more useful products. I wish they had a blanket liner version, or a stable blanket version, but they do offer a turnout blanket version which probably eliminates the annoying issues I have with layering this blanket.

Back on Track Pillow Wraps / No Bows

I own a set of each, in part because it took some time to complete my collection. In that time, the pillow wraps were discontinued (SO SAD) and I had to suffice with the No Bows. After the encouraging results of my hock boots, I knew I wanted leg wraps to help out Foxie's legs, which tend to hold fluid especially after hard exercise and stalling (like at an event), but have been known to fill just from extended stall time.  I use them on Bailey, because while she doesn't have the same filling problem, it definitely doesn't hurt at shows, when she's aggressively stall walking on top of the work. My usual routine for them is post XC:

Walk back to barns from XC
Untack quickly while offering water
Walk more if breathing hasn't slowed down yet (usually only when very hot)
Cool bath with lots of scraping if needed to further cool the horse
Stall time; hay, water, and often times hay pellet soup
Before leaving show grounds / later in the afternoon/evening I will apply Sore No More spray or gel and wrap with the BOT wraps. I also pack hooves with poultice if the ground was hard. The next day, when unwrapped, legs have always been cool and tight. 

Likes: I like the pillow wraps more than the no bows. I'm not sure if this is because I have more experience wrapping with pillows or what, but I would kill to replace my set of No Bows with a set of pillows (like, if you are the opposite and have some in great shape, LMK). Both seem to be well made, the materials hold up and I've used the Pillow wraps on myself (photos of this won me my BOT sheet!).

Dislikes: This may be a No Bow thing, but I find the foam fill hard to wrap. I generally end up redoing those wraps because I don't like the tension or fit, as they're a bit too fluffy and stiff for my wrapping tastes. 

Rating: 10/10

Would I recommend this? Yes (even the No Bows). These wraps have been great and are especially helpful if you have a horse who gets stiff in a stall or stocks up, like Foxie does. As long as you're a competent  wrapper, the BOT varieties don't seem to go on any differently than regular wraps, and standing wraps work better for Bailey's stall walking than I think the quick wrap boots would, simply because she interferes while stall walking in a 10x10 show stall and I can wrap the standing wraps higher and snugger than I think I could the quick wraps, giving me better insurance against them being destroyed. 

Back On Track Knee Brace (Human)

I have no doctor-confirmed knee damage, but my knees do get angry especially behind the knee cap, and will often fill with fluid and become painful enough to wake me up overnight, especially if I have been walking/standing all day, like at a horse show. I have two knee braces, since my knees often flare up at the same time, but I've also adapted them with an ace bandage to treat a mal-treated ankle or calf. I have the braces with the elastic strip across the top that you can sort of (and I mean, sort of) adjust.

Likes: These work. If my knees are bad, I will feel an almost instant increase in heat and almost a... pins and needles type feeling in my leg, often down to my toes as the bloodflow increases. They fit well and so far, while there has been some stretching from wear, I haven't had to wash them, nor have I had problems with them stretching too large to fit me. 

Dislikes: I don't trust them to stay up for exercise, if that would be your intended use. I feel that they are adequate for use when sleeping or not being super active, though the velcro bit is kind of uncomfortable if I am wearing shorts. 

Rating: 9.5/10

Would I recommend this? Yes, and I have. I don't think they would hold up to athletic use or provide support like a prescribed brace will, but for post ride/overnight care, they are great! I almost always wake up from a night in them pain free, cool and generally feeling less achy and fresher than if I hadn't worn them. 

Back On Track Fingerless Gloves (Human)

I have some carpal tunnel pain  that recurs when I don't use good ergonomics and spend too much time on the computer. I also am one of those "coldest fingers in the world" people, which isn't helped by old frostbite damage and general bad circulation. The BOT fingerless gloves provide some relief from my palm pain associated with the carpal tunnel symptoms, and definitely warm up my cold, achy fingers. They're fleece, and while the binding hasn't held up fantastically, they do the job and don't look like a brace, and aren't too weird to use in an office setting. 

Likes: Again, they work. I like the flexibility they unwittingly provide, because my hands are small and I can pull them up onto my wrist if the pain is localized there and not my palm.

Dislikes: The construction is so-so. I might have gotten a fluke pair, because I think there was an imperfection that caused a thread to run and then.. boom... binding is loose in one spot. I could probably repair it nicely now that I have a sewing machine. I wish the fabric was fleecy on both sides instead of being kind of smooth inside.

Rating: 8/10.

Would I recommend this? Yes. True Carpal Tunnel sufferers may benefit more from a brace design, but for occasional discomfort that has been manageable without a doctor so far, these are great. They may not hold up in a barn situation, but I can't say for sure as I only use them in the office.

Back On Track Scarf (Human)

I'm wearing it as I type this, so here's a work selfie with it on.

The scarf is pretty much my most recent acquisition - my lovely sister in law gave it to me for Christmas. While I haven't had any spectacular pins and needles reactions while wearing it (like I get with the knee brace) I do definitely feel warmer when I wear it (and I wear scarves every day, nearly, and this is definitely warmer) and while it hasn't been black and white, I do feel like it's helping keep my neck and shoulders more relaxed.  I have the grey color, and the color is pleasing and looks almost iridescent until you realize that it's two colors of thread creating the illusion. It has black tassels, and I've knotted the tassels to make it an infinity scarf.

Likes: It keeps me warm, and seems to offer some benefits to my neck and shoulders. 

Dislikes: If you get flushed, like I do when I get embarrassed or stressed or whatever, it's very hot. The fabric is naturally kind of stiff and wrinkly, though I haven't washed it to see if it softens some. 

Rating: 8/10. 

Would I recommend this? Yes. If you have legitimate pain, something that has more true contact might be more beneficial, but this is a stylish way to get some relief or add some extra warmth. 

Back On Track AP Pad

Full Review To come - I've only used it once! So far, it's more useful than I was expecting- my dressage saddle seems to work with it when I didn't think it would (note, it "works" with my jump saddle as much as any pad that isn't cut for an extra long extra forward saddle does). The material is thick and it lays nicely. Both horses went nicely in it, but don't have enough use to confirm if it was part of the difference or not. The white cotton top seems to stain easily, and the bottom is quite pilled, but the pad itself was heavily used (or so it appears). The dog seemed to like it, but it also could be that he's clingy and likes to lay on smelly things. 

I swear I'll get some better photos for you guys...


  1. So many BoT things!! I've heard ppl swear by the ppl products and am pretty happy to have the mesh sheet now for my guy

    1. I'm so interested to see how Charlie reacts to his sheet! I feel like a BOT is a super wonderful thing to have for an off the track horse - at least with Foxie, it helps a ton with the stiffness, tension and general bodysoreness she's experienced for years, and I feel like a lot of people with newly off the track horses see a lot of that.

  2. I really want a pair of Quick Wraps that the barn workers can throw on overnight. Bobby's old injury to the RF makes his leg fill when he's stalled and he comes out creaky on it.

    1. I bet the quick wraps would work perfectly for that! I kind of hate having to do standing wraps to use mine, but also... I would cry so much if (when) my stall walking menace destroyed the quick wraps. She just doesn't get to have nice things.

  3. I have almost all of those products, and more! Opening the shoulder gussets on the sheet is not a good idea I've discovered, the gussets are too large and the sheet slides back really bad.

    1. That is great to know! I will update the post with that advice, if that's ok, because I definitely have talked to people who have thought about it. It's good to know the ramifications!