There are now a plethora of products designed to support competition horses in their holistic physical wellbeing and performance. From magnets to vibrating back pads and rugs for a range of budgets, it seems that these ‘must have’ accessories are becoming more and more popular.
One of the offerings that has had rave reviews throughout the disciplines is the ‘Back on Track’ Mesh Rug. Priced at £185 it is one of the less expensive options on the market but is still an investment for the average amateur rider. The EWW test team set out to trial this rug for themselves to see how well it performed.
The Practical Stuff
Manufactured using the unique Welltex™ ceramic infused polypropylene fabric with a thin mesh outer layer (making it breathable to offer maximum permeability for dampness). The neck opening is strengthened with soft quilting around the withers. The Rug has double chest buckles and criss-crossed belly surcingles (pop closures). There is a large tail flap with a tail strap and loops for a tail string.
This item is multifunctional, so can be used as a second layer underneath a conventional blanket, as a thin, soft training blanket, as a lightweight rug (especially if the horses coat is wet) as a cooler or as a light transportation rug, with the added feature that it helps to keep flies, other biting insects and dust off the Horse.
WATCH OUR VIDEO REVIEW HERE https://www.facebook.com/eventingworldwide/videos/10153198166509366
The Science Stuff
Back on Track™ is the name of a range of high quality products, developed in Sweden, designed to promote wellbeing amongst humans, horses and dogs. While being worn, Back on Track™ products provide an element of support but, more importantly, the Welltex™ fabric is infused with ceramic particles that cause long wave infra-red rays to radiate back towards the body. The body responds positively to the infra-red wave, increasing circulation, which can relieve joint tension, maximise performance and help avoid injury. This is a form of energy that has a documented and proven pain relieving effect.
The use of the Back on Track products made from Welltex is generally for remedial and preventative measures, targeting a specific area of the body (although they are extremely effective in warming up muscles prior to physical exercise or work, thereby reducing the risk of strains or injury) and, crucially, they can also expedite the recovery from established injuries.
The innovative FAR infrared garments, for Humans, Horses and Dogs, are non-invasive, comfortable, washable and, more importantly, can diminish the need for pain-killing medication. Because they are not disposable and are designed to be durable, they have become an environmentally friendly option. Plus, the unique material (the revolutionary Welltex™ fabric, a technically advanced woven textile, in which fine ceramic particles are fused into the fibres) with its FAR Infrared heat generating properties, may give much greater benefit than that of the basic neoprene, fleece or magnet products.
Our Tester’s View
‘I was really impressed with the styling and the quality of the Back on Track Mesh Sheet. It looked smart and because of this really can be used as a travel, cooler or under rug. It is made from durable fabric so washes well and dries quickly. I did wonder what the fabric would feel like and apart from feeling heavier it is similar to most mesh rugs I own. I have used the rug in all the ways the company suggests – and found it great for travelling in and post competition for warm down. I have more recently used it after hunting and overnight which has worked well. Style wise it’s really smart. My only criticism would be that the shoulder vents are taped at the bottom which does aid the snug fit, which is important for the rug to work, However, as my horse is wide in the shoulder she was slightly rubbed because of this restriction. I aim to replace the tape with wide elastic to eliminate the problem. It is only a minor issue though and the performance far outweighs this slight design flaw. As I explained in the video my mare is prone to becoming tight in her ovary area, into her hamstrings and sometimes in her shoulders. It is quite noticeable when I get on her and she can feel cold backed and slightly tight when I walk the first few strides. I have tired various other back pads and warming devices but nothing much has worked and made a difference. I used the Back on Track mesh rug as an under rug pre to riding her and also before competing (as a travel rug). I found this really benefitted her in terms of her looseness and cold back issues. She felt as if I’d already worked her for 10 minutes beforehand. My trainer also noticed a difference in her way of going and we both felt this could be attributed to her being ‘warmed’ by the rug.
In sum, I was really impressed with the Back on Track mesh rug and will be ordering their hock boots for an elderly child’s pony I also own. I would recommend this product because it is so versatile, is smart and easy to care for plus in my opinion it has made an improvement to small issues in my horses way of going. I would really recommend this for those experiencing similar issues or looking out for a suitable travel rug with additional and very useful qualities.’ Nikki Goldup