This site is reader-supported. Please note that we may receive a commission if you make a purchase through one of the links below.
There is little scientific evidence and studies that prove the miraculous effects of magnetic therapy. There are however many people that claim the magnetic therapy helped their horses to a great extent. The effect of the applied magnets is also highly dependent on the initial condition the horse was in. It has to be noted that magnetic therapy can not heal full blown, serious injuries and has to be used as an additional side treatment. Time that the horse was exposed to the generated magnetic force might also play a crucial role in the effectiveness of the treatment. Single, one time use will most likely bring no benefit at all. Regular magnetic treatment on the other hand is said to be useful especially with injured and older horses.
What Is a Magnetic Horse Rug?
Magnetic horse rug is a rug with built-in magnets. The number of magnets vary between different producers but most commonly there are around 50 to 100 magnets per rug. Neodymium magnets in the rug generate a stronger magnetic force (professionally referred to as remanence) than other commonly available magnets. Neodymium magnets are also characterised by a higher coercivity (resistance to being demagnetised). Sounds fancy, but it basically just means they are less likely to get demagnetized and stop working. So you do not have to worry about your rug becoming inefficient after a while of being used. It is also worthy noting that neodymium magnets have a lower curie temperature than other magnets. It means that they are the strongest under colder conditions and lose their force when it gets hot. As a result magnetic horse rugs are probably more efficient in the winter and less effective during the hot summer days. Magnetic horse rugs can be divided into two categories: electromagnetic veterinary rugs that release a strong magnetic field and can only be used for a limited time, and therapeutic magnetic rugs that are safe in a long time use and can be left on overnight.
Claimed Benefits of Magnetic Horse Rugs
Magnetic field penetrates through soft tissues (muscles and circulatory system) aiding in faster regeneration of a damaged tissue and quick recovery. Magnets produce heat (the stronger the magnets the more heat released) which itself can be beneficial for horses, especially during the colder winter season. Therefore magnetic rugs can be used prior to training to help warm up the muscles faster. It prevents potential damage due to insufficient warm up. Magnets used after a training can help your horse relax. Magnetic force also stimulates the circulatory system, by promoting a blood flow in the microcirculation. A good microcirculation means a better distribution of oxygen around the body and less soreness and tension. Therefore magnetic therapy is beneficial in conditions that result with back pain or during intensive training and competition season. Summing up magnetic rugs can be used for the following:
- Promote microcirculation: eliminating muscle soreness and the buildup of lactic acid in the muscles
- Penetrate through soft muscle tissue: speeding up the recovery process
- Release heat: giving your horse a moment to relax or warm up the muscles prior to your training
Do Magnetic Horse Rugs Really Work?
There is very little evidence if the magnetic therapeutic rugs really work. Many equestrians however share their magnetic therapy success stories and claim that magnetic rugs have significantly improved their horses’ condition. People claim that the best results are observed with the older and injured horses (as if the magnetic rugs sped up their recovery).
The treatment with veterinary electromagnetic rugs however is scientifically backed up and there is evidence that the treatment is beneficial. The veterinary rugs are very expensive and the generated electromagnetic field is very strong, so the rugs can be used for a maximum of 5-30 minutes a day. Veterinary electromagnetic rugs produce a noticeable amount of heat so a horse should be monitored throughout the whole duration of the treatment. During the intensive treatment horses often fall asleep, completely relax but also significantly sweat.
Veredus magnetic therapy rug is equipped with 32 neodymium magnets distributed in the lumbo-dorsal fascia, lats and shoulders (ideal for horses with back problems). The material is breathable, so the rug can be used both in the summer and can be placed under a winter rug during the winter. Cross over straps under the horse’s belly prevent the rug from falling off. The rug is produced in a black color, available in M and L sizes.
Bemer Veterinary Rug
Bemer rug is a veterinary approved rug for horse therapy. It uses the electromagnetic force to stimulate the microcirculation. It is wireless and the battery is integrated into the blanket. It operates in three settings (5,10 and 15 min). Horses that are new to the treatment should first be exposed to the 5 min treatment for a few days. The rug emits a lot of heat so pay attention if your horse is not getting overheated. Adjustable straps ensure a close fit. I have been using bemer rugs during the winter season on my own horses for a few years now and I have to say that the results are pretty impressive. The results are noticeable with dressage horses especially, after the treatment they are a lot more flexible in the shoulders and neck and engage their hind end a lot easier.
If you want more information on magnetic therapy in horses, we highly recommend you take a look at our complete guide to magnetic horse boots (UK-2021)
Alternative Therapies for Horses
Although the magnetic therapy might sound promising, it is also quite costly. Not all of us are able to afford it. One way to go about it is to rent the rugs for a shorter period of time or pay the physiotherapist for the treatment. However, if we want to see long term results all year round, there are also other promising therapies to consider. I believe that the most success can be achieved by regularity of the treatment.
Massage is one of the best tools to relieve tension in horses, improve the blood circulation and promote recovery. Massage is also super easy and the basic massage techniques can be done by yourself at home. The massage practical guide book is an easy to read book that all equestrians could benefit from.
Taking it a level up, you can invest in a massage gun. Massage gun for horses is the same thing as a massage gun for humans. By rapid and regular movement the gun massages the horse, getting rid of muscle knots and enhancing the blood flow. Massage guns are becoming a lot more popular these days and more and more equestrians recommend them.
If you would like to stick with rugs, you can invest in an ionic therapy rug, They are a little bit cheaper than magnetic rugs but provide similar benefits (improved circulation and oxygen distribution and faster regeneration). Tourmaline is used in the rug instead of magnets, a naturally occuring crystal. Ionic therapy rugs can be used throughout the whole year and are a safe at-home treatment.