The SmartTherapy line includes sheets, wraps, pads, and more that use Ceramic far infrared radiation (cFIR) technology. Ceramic particles are embedded in the fabric to absorb body heat and reflect it back to the horse as soothing far infrared rays that activate blood flow, which may help to decrease inflammation, improve recovery, and protect from oxidative stress.
Full view of the SmartTherapy Mesh Sheet. Photo by Lynn Mueller.
The SmartTherapy Mesh Sheet itself contains the ceramic fabric on the chest, shoulders, back, and hindquarters (the key muscular areas that often need the most warm up or recovery from a ride). The rest of the sheet is made of a light mesh. The product itself is easy to put on and remove, as it’s lightweight. Once the front chest straps are adjusted, it’s also easy to use the quick clips instead of fiddling with buckles. It comes with belly surcingles and a tail cord like a “regular” blanket would. However, because of the mesh and the therapeutic nature of the product, I wouldn’t recommend using this for turnout. Furthermore, my mare isn’t destructive in her stall, but if you have a blanket chewer, he or she might be able to make a meal out of the mesh.
The sheet I reviewed was a size 78. My mare, Classy, is a slightly narrow Thoroughbred and typically takes a size 75, but with the adjustability options and the nature of the sheet (the fabric breathes and isn’t so heavy that it pulls like it would be if she was wearing a 78 winter turnout), she didn’t experience any rubbing.
Front adjustable panel. Photo by Lynn Mueller.
Classy is turned out all night, so she wore the sheet during the day in her stall. She started off wearing the sheet for two hours per day, as she’s never had any experience using a cFIR product before. I’ve heard of horses getting rare allergic reactions to cFIR technology fabric, so I wanted to play it safe by not leaving it on all day. After a couple of days of the two-hour trial, we moved her up to wearing it for four hours per day, then six. Though the sheet is mesh and the item description indicates that it can be worn during hot weather, I was still hesitant for her to wear it when it was exceptionally hot out (over 80 degrees and humid, in Illinois), as I didn’t want her to overheat. It’s not terrible in the barn as there is a lot of air flow and we have giant aisle fans, but especially for her well-being as well as with her being up for sale, I wanted to really play things safe. She wore the sheet most days for our two week testing period but did go a few days without it.
Close up view of therapeutic material. Photo by Lynn Mueller.
After a few days of wear, Classy seemed to be able to move into more strenuous work more quickly, rather than taking a longer time to warm up. Typically, she doesn’t come out stiff (usually this only happens in the winter when she’s not turned out nearly as much due to the weather), but sometimes it can take a bit of persuasion to get her to move forward. I also was able to jump her around some low fences after a short warm up, and she felt great, especially having not jumped in a couple of weeks. She did have a few days off and wasn’t ridden every day, as I was at a show with my other horse, but other than that she performed well. I took her for a long trail ride with another boarder and she put out a nice, marching walk that’s hard to get her to do sometimes (maybe that’s an attribution to my riding, but still…) Meanwhile, she continued all-night turnout, which certainly helps with keeping things flowing.
Close up view of mesh. Photo by Lynn Mueller.
All in all, I’d say that this sheet would be beneficial for anyone looking to add a little “extra” to help their warm up or recovery, and I think it will be even more useful in the late fall or winter as opposed to the summer when I was a little worried about the heat. Together with turnout, ample warm up, and appropriate days off/work load, it could be a great addition to your horse’s wardrobe and your own program.
To purchase the SmartTherapy Mesh Sheet, click here!