Welcome to EN’s Product Review series! Who doesn’t love shopping… especially when the object of your search is new gear for yourself or your horse? As an enthusiast of all products equine, I LOVE trying out new gear. Which is why I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to try out products, so that I may share my many adventures with all of you! Please join me as I narrate my personal journey of trying out all of the products featured. While I will make no recommendations, I hope that you simply have fun and find entertainment while reading about my many adventures of trying new products, and that hearing about my personal experiences might help give you factors to consider when you are on your own quest for new gear!
Being involved in eventing, or really any equestrian sport, can involve a lot of commitment. We invest much in our horses and partners; giving tangible things like time and money. But there are also those intangible things; I’ve certainly poured blood, sweat and tears in along the way. You fall off. You get banged up a bit. You heal. And you get a leg-up to get back in the saddle, and kick on.
When you love the sport, and love your horse, you keep going in spite of the difficulties that you may face. Looking back, I feel like I’ve poured my heart and a piece of my soul into my own riding, and training my horses. It’s not a hobby, or a passing fancy. This is a lifestyle.
With having so much of ourselves invested in our horses–and I’m talking about pleasure horses to upper level event horses, and everything in between–it is very stressful when an injury pops up. Not only are riders invested financially in their horses, but they are oftentimes invested emotionally as well. In any case, riders want to get their horses to recover as quickly as
humanly “equine-ly” possible. So what can we actually do to help speed the healing process?
I’m someone who favors therapeutic methods for healing, rather then surgical. So, I was extremely excited to recently have the opportunity to try the UltrOZ Equine Ultrasonic Therapy System that is available through Hamilton BioVet.
Prior to my trial of the system, I read a number of testimonials, case studies, and published research available on Hamilton BioVet’s website, in which the system demonstrated that it could produce some truly fantastic results.
The system was originally created, as the observation was made by both scientists and clinicians, so that a low intensity type of treatment administered over a longer period of time helped to increase the healing rate of the body. The technology was originally geared towards helping to heal fractures (in the instance of a non-union) and expanded to also treat soft tissue injuries (such as tendons and ligaments).
I have recently had the opportunity to chat with Dr. Holly Schmitt about her experience with the UltrOZ system. One of the case studies that we chatted about involved a Grand Prix jumper who had sustained a carpal bone fracture. At the time that the UltrOZ system was introduced as a treatment for this particular horse, the fracture was approximately three months old and the bone had not healed back together yet. One month later, after having introduced the UltrOZ system as a part of treatment plan for the patient, the bone was fully healed (not to mention that the patient was 100% sound within two weeks after starting treatment).
I also was able to connect with upper-level rider Lizzie Snow, who is sponsored by Hamilton BioVet. You may have recently seen her competing at both Jersey Fresh and Bromont at the CCI3* level.
Lizzie uses UltrOZ on her own young horses that are currently in competition, and here is what she has to say about the use of the system and the results that she has experienced: “I’ve been using the UltrOz system on one of my horses with a minor soft tissue injury and it is incredibly user friendly and straightforward. I have seen significant improvement with the use of the system on this particular injury and also on a variety of different injuries. I am very impressed with the outcome of all of them! I love how small and portable the system is. It’s easy to take to the events and easy to use anywhere.”
As part of my trial of the UltrOZ system, I decided to begin by trying the system out on my older Quarter Horse gelding, Ripley. If you have been following along with my series of product reviews, you may feel like you have gotten to know Ripley fairly well. For anyone not familiar with Ripley, he is in his mid-20s (but just try telling him that). I have noticed that Ripley has been showing signs of aging during the past several years: he started to come out of his stall stiff in the mornings, and would generally have a cranky attitude when he would go for turnout after morning grain. I also noticed that he was very short strided when I would start out any rides on him and it would take about 10-15 minutes to get him warmed up and moving more forward.
I can’t really say what exactly I was expecting after starting to use the UltrOZ system – definitely a higher comfort level for Ripley, and I was hopeful that it would help reduce stiffness in the morning, and short-strided warm-ups for him as well.
So, I started my journey with the UltrOZ system and Ripley. I was a little concerned at first, because I wanted to make sure that I used the system properly—after actually using the system, what I realized is that it is super easy to use, convenient with my busy schedule and extremely effective for me.
To start out, I want to note that the case in which the UltrOZ system comes in is very useful in keeping everything organized and stored properly. The unit arrived fully charged, and I took out the UltrOZ device and attached tab (the tab is how the therapy is administered), and selected an UltrOZ Wrap to use it with.
The wraps are very convenient to use – the hock wrap includes a pocket on both sides, so switching it from one leg to the other makes no difference. To operate, I put the actual unit into the pouch on the wrap – and then passed the wire with the application tab through a slit on the back side of the wrap. It was super easy and convenient!
Application was a breeze. Really. To set up to start a treatment, you need to use the UltrOZ Ultrasound Gel (a bottle is included with the system) to coat the area to be treated, as well as the side of the application tab that will lay against the horse. UltrOZ will be more effective if the area to be treated has been clipped at the application site – this will allow the ultrasonic waves to penetrate better.
Of course, I also wanted to make sure to be precise with my placement of the UltrOZ, so that treatment was administered right where it was needed. The UltraOZ actually radiates about the size of a softball, so having the exact placement isn’t really necessary.
And the best part was, once I set up Ripley and started the treatment, I left him unattended in his stall, while I headed off to spend my time elsewhere. No supervision during treatment is needed, as the system has been designed to leave your horse unattended for up to four hours while being treated!
I targeted one of Ripley’s hind legs that had become a bit of an issue for treatment with the UltrOZ system. He had developed a hardened windpuff in the leg, and the inflammation would not go down. Nothing seemed to help; increased turnout, applying therapeutic wraps, and even medication would not bring the leg down.
I even spoke with my vet about Ripley’s leg. After taking a look at it, she told me the appearance of the leg basically was what it was. She was happy to see that Ripley was sound, but that there really wasn’t anything that could be done to remedy the “filled up” appearance of his leg. While I wasn’t thrilled to hear this news, I figured that the upside was the Ripley was basically sound on the leg (and just had the stiffness issues that I mentioned earlier).
I can say that I absolutely noticed a difference in Ripley after starting him on UltrOZ treatments, and I loved the convenience of being able to start a treatment in the morning before leaving for work, and then leaving Ripley to hang out in his stall. I started to notice a difference after only the first few days of administering treatments. He now seems much happier when I come out for morning feedings, and he cruises right out to the pasture after coming out of his stall. I even notice that when he gets down to roll, that he appears to pop back up more easily then before.
The most pronounced difference I notice is how well Ripley is performing for me under saddle since we started UltrOZ treatments. I certainly can tell that he is feeling better, because when we start our rides, Ripley’s stride is longer, and he wants to move forward right from the start.
I don’t miss his short, choppy strides during warm up. In fact, I’ve even returned to schooling him over small jumps again since he has been feeling better, and he truly seems to love it. I can only guess that his heart soars over each and every fence, even if they aren’t as big as the fences that he used to tackle “back in the day”.
It is fantastic that Ripley seems to have such an improved attitude, and appears to be more comfortable (and much more willing to move forward), since he started UltrOZ treatments. But I never in my wildest dreams imagined that his hardened windpuff would actually decrease in size. Which it has gone down, to the point that Ripley’s leg basically looks normal to me.
I was absolutely shocked; I truly couldn’t believe what I was seeing, because I was convinced that Ripley’s leg was going to have that filled up appearance for the rest of his life. I was ok with that; it made me a little sad on the inside to see, but as long as he remained sound and seemed to be in good health for his age, I was ok. But I am simply astonished at the difference that I’ve seen in Ripley.
With his leg returning to looking basically normal, his improved attitude and overall better mobility (both in the pasture and under saddle), I feel like I’ve gotten my horse back. Truly, I did not believe that Ripley could come back to this level of physical (and I would even say mental, with his improved attitude) well being. I’ve never been more glad to be wrong.
So what are some of the features and benefits that I really like about the UltrOZ system?
- Convenience of Unsupervised Treatments: Do I like being able to start a treatment and then move on to my next activity? YES! The UltrOZ system was designed so that you can start a treatment on a horse, and then leave them unattended for up to four hours in their stall. I personally don’t have time to hang out with my horse for hours at a time to watch as a treatment is delivered. After I start a treatment on Ripley, I just leave him in his stall to comfortably wander around, munch on some hay, and lick his salt rock. It’s that easy and I have not had the wrap slip during usage.
- Easy to Use: The UltrOZ application tab radiates ultrasonic therapy waves in an area about the size of a softball from the site of treatment, so you don’t have to be precise in your placement of it. And an aspect that is important to me is that a horse owner, trainer, barn manager or groom can administer the treatments; a medical professional does not need to be present to do so.
- Specifically Designed Wraps for the UltrOZ System: There are a number of easy to use wraps available that are designed to work with the UltrOZ system, including a leg wrap, a hock wrap, a stifle wrap, and a back wrap. The hock wrap does come in a standard horse size and a pony size. I’ve personally used both the leg wrap and hock wrap, and they work beautifully. The unit goes into a pouch, and the application tab passes through a slit in the back of the pouch to apply to the treatment side, so there are no exposed wires.
- No Danger of Overtreatment: The low intensity of the treatment allows it to be delivered over a longer period of time – I’ve done anywhere from one to four hours. I’ve been told that there is no danger to your horse if you leave it on for hours. Something that I found interesting is that the UltrOZ treatment radiates at such a low intensity, that you can’t even feel that it is on (there is no vibration type feeling). There is a blue light that lights up to indicate that the UltrOZ unit is in operation.
- Range of Effective Uses: The UltrOZ system is versatile enough to be effective to use for young horses in training and equine athletes in competition, while still being able to help improve the life of my senior horse. It can be used in both a maintenance capacity, and to heal soft tissue injuries or even fractures. I like that different horses at various stages of their lives and with different work loads can benefit from treatments.
- Compact and Portable: With the UltrOZ being such a small and portable system it is very convenient to grab and go with it – that makes it easy to use at the barn, or while on the road traveling to an event.
I personally believe in the UltrOZ after what I’ve seen the system do to bring Ripley to an improved state of well being. So much so that after my trial, I am purchasing the system myself – not only so that I can continue use on Ripley, but also so that I can use the system in a maintenance capacity for Mark and Rufus—my two young geldings in training.
While the UltrOZ system is an investment, having a retail price of $1,295, Hamilton BioVet offers 6 months of interest free financing through Paypal in order to make the system more affordable.
When I look at how much I’ve previously spent on multiple types of therapeutic wraps, and medication from my vet to alleviate symptoms of stiffness, well, I’d much rather make an investment into the UltrOZ system to maintain the health of my horses.
The fact that it is also able to help treat some injuries that I could face in the future also is a plus in my mind. I think my biggest take away here is the fact that I’m glad that Ripley is “back”.
Go Ultrasonic Therapy. Go UltrOZ. Go Eventing.