As they say at Peter Lock Racing in New Zealand, “Prevention is much better than cure!”

“Some people believe that icing and or poulticing a horses legs is only needed when there is an injury but as my vet reminds me, PREVENTING damage from heat and exercise is much easier, cheaper, and less heartbreaking than TREATING damage from an injury.”

This is what we do around the stables at Peter Lock Racing.

Clay Poultices and Icing

This routine is something we do all year round, more common in the summer months or when the tracks are starting to firm up but we believe this clay poultice routine is very important.

Young horses who are feeling their shins, older horses with that wear and tear on their joints and horses who are galloping on firm tracks will all receive this routine to keep them at their utmost best.

For the benefits of clay poulticing, we use the product SwellDOWN

  • SwellDOWN is a fast-acting clay poultice preparation containing active ingredients which aid in producing a soothing, cooling reduction of inflammation and swelling.
  • Application of SwellDOWN clay poultice quickly removes heat
  • Has a cooling effect on the injury site to remove heat-induced inflammation
  • Helps ease muscular aches and pains
  • Washes off easily with water after use
  • Non-toxic and non-irritating
  • The combination of wet montmorillonite clay, essential oils and minerals in SwellDOWN has a cooling effect on the skin.
  • Heat produced by heavy work or injury is drawn out at a rapid rate, aiding in recovery and preventing damage to the soft tissue.
  • SwellDOWN‘s unique formula should be used post training as a preventative to aid in tightening loose joints.


We have an ice machine, which provides us with unlimited crushed ice daily. Horses will be iced for 15/20 minutes after working and then clay poulticed.

Horses carry a very large amount of bodyweight on relatively small legs, with about 60% of this weight carried on the front legs. Because of this, the front legs will often take a pounding, particularly if the ground and footing are hard, uneven, or muddy.

Icing is a fantastic practice to get into after a hard gallop or run on firm ground. If begun very soon after exercise, icing can help to take down any inflammation before it is even noticeable to you.

Focus primarily on the tendons running along the back of the legs, and secondarily on any joints that might be overly stressed in your discipline (i.e. fetlock and knee).

Icing benefits

  • Icing your horse’s legs cools the tendons, soft tissues, and hooves
  • Reduces inflammation in the tendons, ligaments, and joints. Arthritis in joints is painful and can be helped by icing
  • Helps prevent long term wear and tear on your horse’s legs
  • Works to prevent soreness after exercise – the same soreness that you get after a workout.

We hope this provides you with a little more information on what we do here at Lock Racing, we are always out to provide the best possible for our horses.

Kelato’s SwellDOWN contains a special mixture of montmorillonite clay and unique therapeutic ingredients that have a cooling effect on tissue damage often caused by hard knocks or jarring. The clay, used as a poultice, draws out heat and reduces swelling commonly generated at damaged sites to aid a more rapid recovery. It is fast, effective and has an excellent astringent action around knees, fetlocks, ligaments and tendons.

SwellDOWN Ingredients

  • Magnesium Sulphate: Delivers the cooling drawing action to lessen pain.
  • Potassium Aluminium Sulphate: Works to ‘tighten’ the leg and keep swelling and inflammation at a minimum.
  • Calcium Carbonate: Adjusts the poultice to the correct pH level.
  • Oil of Peppermint and Eucalyptus:
  1. Reduces muscle pain and inflammation.
  2. Creates a cooling sensation and keeps horse comfortable during treatment.
  3. Antiseptic properties help to disinfect any minor cuts/abrasions present under poultice.
  • Glycerine: A humectant (retains moisture) which softens & moisturises the skin. Reduces itchiness.
  • Wet montmorillonite clay: Binds the actives together and keeps them wet, so they are effective for longer.

The take home message is to cool things down quickly after exercise to reduce inflammation and start the healing process. So, keep a tub of SwellDOWN handy during training and for after each race!

SwellDOWN is the original and the best! 



Written in conjunction with and thanks to Peter Lock Racing and Kelato Animal Health 2020.