Even ic­ing horses was chal­leng­ing in the 1920s and 1930s be­cause that most ubiq­ui­tous of mod­ern ap­pli­ances— the freezer— wasn’t in wide­spread use un­til the 1940s.

EQUUS - - Special Report -

Treat­ment op­tions for mus­cu­loskele­tal in­juries were also lim­ited in the first few decades of the 20th cen­tury. Even ic­ing horses was chal­leng­ing in the 1920s and 1930s be­cause that most ubiq­ui­tous of mod­ern ap­pli­ances---the freezer---wasn’t in wide­spread use un­til the 1940s. Train­ers and vet­eri­nar­ian in­stead turned to meth­ods we’d con­sider bar­baric to­day.

“They ended up us­ing a fir­ing iron and blis­ters for a lot of things,” says Bram­lage. “They had noth­ing bet­ter to use.” “Pin fir­ing” in­volved press­ing a hot iron against the ten­don area. Blis­ter­ing was done by ap­ply­ing an ir­ri­tant chem­i­cal on the area. Both were in­tended to trig­ger mas­sive in­flam­ma­tion and jump start the heal­ing re­sponse.

These prac­tices did have some foun­da­tion in phys­i­ol­ogy, says Bram­lage. “The idea was to in­crease blood flow to an area by ir­ri­tat­ing it. It’s not with­out any ba­sis be­cause that will hap­pen, but we have be­come so much more so­phis­ti­cated to­day and know there are bet­ter ways to ac­com­plish the same thing. Train­ers will still use lin­i­ments but rarely to the point of blis­ter­ing that dam­ages tis­sue. Pin fir­ing horses has

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