Crossing the finish line in first place in the race is the goal. But just getting to the starting gate takes a lot of grit. And more. Much more.
The truck, van, tractor all need maintenance. The fences need mending. The barn needs constant fixing.
However, there’s no doubt that the horse is the most important part of the equation. It’s a risky business. One swollen hock, one pulled tendon, one infected fetlock—and it’s a no-go for the track.
Keeping a Thoroughbred in top form takes instinct, a keen eye, critical know-how. Just ask Thoroughbred racehorse trainer/owner Stacy Machiz.
As Stacy enters the barn each morning, she peers carefully into each stall, taking note of coat, eyes, respiration, attitude—and those four legs.
A good trainer can take a mere minute or two to correctly assess each leg. Did the leg blow up because of pressure sores when the groom wrapped it? Did the horse’s medical bandage slip, exposing the wound to every kind of bacteria imaginable? Did the horse injure himself when stomping his leg to rid himself of flies?
“When I arrive at the barn in the morning,” Stacy says with conviction, “job one is to check the legs for inflammation, cuts, sores and bruises. And I have figured out over the years that the bandage itself can be the culprit. Fleeces or pillow wraps, even when applied to what looks like perfection, can sometimes cause bandage sores. A second-rate caretaker can bandage bow/cord a horse even with new fluffy bandages.”
In her three-plus decades of training Thoroughbred racehorses, Stacy has, like most trainers, amassed a lot of ‘quick fixes.’
“I had a bad habit of trying lots of pricey new horse things that usually ended up in the garbage can,” notes Stacy.
But then she tried Silver Whinnys by Sox for Horses, Inc.
“After watching the directions on their website, I tried these easy-to-pull-on socks on a white-legged stable pony who had big problems—fly bites, legs not being thoroughly dried, and sensitivity to skin irritation and fungus,” comments Stacy. “He was the reason I bought my first pair of Silver Whinnys. These ‘Sox for Horses’ quickly resolved the skin issues on his legs and made him quit stomping at flies, so it just made sense to buy a few more pairs and see what would happen.
“Well, what I saw was that Silver Whinnys socks solved many problems in my barn. And they’re often preferable to standing bandages,” remarks Stacy. “At first glance, you may not believe me, but just try a pair. They helped different horses in my racing stable with cuts and scrapes. Then I watched as wounds healed more quickly than with just a bandage. Plus the socks stayed in place.”
These “magical” socks, as Stacy calls them, helped to resolve skin irritations and wounds, and reduced her fear of groom errors. “They also kept flies off horses’ legs during turnout, without the dangers associated with polo wraps,” says Stacy.
These socks provide a safe, light, resting compression to the legs. In addition to their value as a hygienic barrier against the skin, the socks can also be used to hold poultices in place and help horses that tend to stock up after exercise or in their stalls.
So what one element makes these Sox for Horses so “magically” effective?
The answer: Silver.
Dr. Carl Moyer of Washington University, Barnes Hospital, in St. Louis, Missouri (Head of Surgery 1951-1965), discovered that silver was useful for sterilization. In burn cases, silver compounds speed up the healing process dramatically. It’s for this reason that the vast majority of burn centers across America use silver sulfadiazine today.
Doctors and hospitals have relied for years on an array of silver-infused medical products, from bandages to catheters, to prevent the proliferation of bacteria.
And as early as the 1960s, NASA was using silver-copper ionization for drinking water production aboard the Apollo spaceships, allowing clean water to be produced safely in space without the use of chemicals.
Silver Whinnys provide the critical qualities in bandaging/leg protection that allow non-responding cutaneous (affecting the skin) lesions to finally heal by ending the cycle of infection/re-infection. These Sox for Horses are safe, non-toxic, drug-free bandages that obstruct disease-causing pathogens, insects, dirt, debris and sunlight (UV) from penetrating the socks and reaching the skin.
The moisture-management properties of the yarn dry and cool the wet, warm tissue surface, making it inhospitable as a breeding place for bacteria and fungi. Leaking serum and other exuding body material are absorbed by the socks and moved away from the wounds/sores where it can evaporate. Because the socks are a porous knitted construction, the powerful healing aid of oxygen reaches the skin.
“Oh, one more thing,” adds Stacy with a smile. “I’m saving hundreds of dollars in bandaging costs! Have I mentioned that I just throw them in the washer and dryer? The sock manufacturers have made them so the silver in the socks will never wash out or weaken in strength. My husband loves the dollar savings, but what’s important to me are the many benefits for my horses. It’s fairly amazing that a pull-on sock has helped me both prevent and help heal problems.”