The right wage?

Following a job post I advertised recently, a post appeared on an eventing facebook page querying whether £350 was a sufficient weekly wage for a head groom, and I know that it was my post that triggered the post as the writer contacted me before posting it. And although I rarely comment on this sort of post I felt that this one merited some comment.

What I found fascinating was the 'it is not enough' cries. When you break it down- to £63 a day it doesn't sound like much, but what must be taken into account is that that money is for you...…… food, car and saving. No bills to pay, no electricity, gas, council tax...……. my direct debit obligation every month is eye watering for the bills on our house - and I can quite categorically say I would be delighted to have that much left at the end of each week to spend on me!!!! But this particular job is a very special one, and not every employer is as generous as this one.

I then began to think about other vocations - what do other jobs pay? what hours do you have to put in? what are the perks? And the fact is equestrianism is not alone with its pay crisis, in every sphere of employment there are those who will exploit those who can be exploited, and sad though it may be, earning a crust is very hard work. Long hours are not unique to equestrianism. We are not alone in early starts and late nights. What is not acceptable is exploitation, and we must all strive, as employees and employers not to allow that to happen.

But there are without doubt some grooms misguided with their career path and how it should develop. It saddens me to say, that when you first leave college and start work you cannot expect top dollar, you will have to prove that you are capable, reliable and conscientious and only then you can expect to be rewarded for your endeavours, but by the same token, you should be paid fairly and legally for the hours you work. So many grooms have their own horse in tow and expect its keep, training and competition opportunities to be included in their package. I wonder at the logic of those who apply for jobs, who tell me they will do their own horse/s before, during or after work -when the job they are applying for is a full time, they then wonder why they are exhausted!

The success of the equestrianism as a leisure industry has, in my view, impacted the grooming industry enormously. A few years ago, if little Lizzie wanted to ride a pony, she went to the local riding school and mucked out in return for a ride, which lead on to working in the holidays and then after school, a job and more responsibility; she started at the bottom and worked her way up. Now, little Lizzies parents get her a pony, keep it either in an electric fenced patch of the entrepreneurial farmers field, or at the local DIY stables. She grows up having a pony and subsequently a horse, she goes to college or university and after graduating begins looking for the dream job; working a 5 day week, keeping her horse and show jumping or eventing every week-end, when her employer would really like her to be at work! The industry can only stand as much as its benefactor; the owner - every single one of us relies upon the owner, their satisfaction and enjoyment of their hobby - the horse. Be it racehorse, eventer, polo pony, or show jumper, the owners happiness radiates to the workers far down the chain, and so much depends on the job that the groom at does at home. Whether you work on a huge racing yard or a tiny yard- if you do a good job, the horse looks well and performs well, the owner is happy and so it goes on!.

So I implore you, focus on your career, be a good groom, be dedicated and devoted to your horses. You will earn more in satisfaction than you would believe, as well as the respect of your employer and consequently the pay packet that all these factors dictate. If you are looking for a career with horses and are not sure where to start email Clare for an insight into your options to launch your career as a top groom and free advice on how to achieve your potential.

Don't forget you...………...

The life you have chosen as a top groom, means that you spend practically all of your time (and more often than not, money!) looking after your horse, tending for its every need, and often more beyond!

Henry is not too sure about his new bit of kit!

On the market for horses you can find every manner of grooming and pampering assistance, be it from spray to remove stains to technical brushes that ensure your horses coat is glossy and pristine with minimum effort! Me- I am the marketing mans dream, love a new bit of kit! Last week I purchased a massage machine and it is magic! Henry, obviously, was convinced the first time I strapped it on that it was be some form of medieval torture and much snorting and eye boggling ensued! But even he succumbed to the gentle vibrations, and he rather enjoys his half hour session now. I, of course, having read all the bumph, know that this guarantees us a sub 30 dressage and he will swing over all the show jumps and whizz round the cross country because his body will be messaged to perfection, the fact he still has me to contend with will make no odds- victory is clearly ours! Such is my belief in the marketing...……………..but it keeps the marketing bods in work!

My favourite

But, I digress from the true purpose for writing, we spend so much of our time and hard earned money on our equine companions it is easy to neglect ones self! Whilst I have always been good with hand cream, well reasonably good- only once a day, just before getting in to bed I slap on a good dob of Neutrogena. ( the only one in my eyes that is up to the task on outdoor hands!) I have to confess I have been guilty of serious neglect of my skin in the past, the sudden realisation that actually I was becoming rather wrinkly and weathered looking spurred me in to action to use some of the face creams and moisturisers gathering dust in the box on top of the wardrobe- years of Christmas presents that I just never got round to opening! I am now a morning and night devotee to the face cream - and yes I am still pretty wrinkly, but honestly - not so weathered looking! So ladies- and gents don't neglect your self! Slap on the face cream and the hand cream, keep those wrinkles at bay for as long as you can -then you will be able to glow next to your stunningly polished charge.

Breathable waterproofs
Waterproof jodhpurs

Gone are the days of rubber waterproofs that in even the coldest of weathers made you sweat unbearabley!!.The human kit available these days is stunning compared to 30 years ago. The technical materials alone make the woes of the groom, out in all weathers, so much more comfortable. I see pleas for cures for chilblains on social media; over trousers people - the best you can afford or long johns- (great name) but in essence under trousers - lots on the market, from cheap and cheerful to gold plated! I prefer overtrousers...….. just a personal thing, but with advances in technical materials you can find something to help you look after your self while you look after your equine!

Finally gloves - mucking out gloves have been the best invention-and the come in different colours to prevent me and my daughter rowing over whose is whose!! they are great to work in and with out them I feel like I have got a part of me missing! But they certainly help to reduce the cracked knuckles and the ingrained dirt on your fingers which no amount of scrubbing seems to shift! My favoured riding out gloves of the moment are the florescent seal skin ones bought in the sale, not only are they warm and waterproof they are great for waving to say thank you to passing cars - rather more noticeable that a black glove on a murky day!!

Essentially look after your self as well as you look after your horse, which I think means- if you are looking after your self- you can look after your horse - it is the circle of life! Please enjoy, and as one of my recruits is heard to say ''if you do what you love, you'll never have to work another day'' and if you need any advice on finding your self a TOP JOB check out the vacancies directly on or call Clare 07714236765

Driving Miss Bridget

Not quite 'driving Miss Daisy'; driving Miss Bridget when she first arrived was no mean feat!

She was a nightmare to load- she is the only horse I have ever had that I have had to get my husband out of bed to help me load for an early morning departure- a brush behind her to push her up the ramp was the only way, and the brush travelled with us where ever we went for a couple of months! She was very particular about where on the lorry she travelled and how the partitions were spaced, and who she was next to, mild hysteria and rocking dramatically from side to side indicted that in no uncertain terms she was in an unsatisfactory travelling position. And if we had to drive close to trees or a hedge and the offending greenery scrawked the lorry sides - all hell would break loose- usually resulting in snapped partitions or something equally expensive!I am a firm believer that with horses (well most things actually!) that repeated good experiences, calm manner and consistent approach will reap rewards, and Bridget now leaps on to the lorry, and doesn't care who she stands next to!!

My first ever experience of a bad loader was an ex racehorse named Charlie who thought my little baked bean can of a trailer was not any form of transport he would be taking! It was dark when we left home and I think he loaded not really realising he was doing so- but every corner involved him scrabbling dramatically to stay on his feet and no matter how carefully I drove, the noise was horrendous! After a lovely couple of hours with hounds I went back to the trailers where my horse firmly planted his feet at the bottom of the ramp and refused point blank to move. I had to endure the humiliation of a steady flow of people returning to their transport, loading their horse and spending some time (depending on how long it took for the next unfortunate volunteer to arrive so they could excuse themselves) helping me trying to load my very determined horse! Lots of ideas, suggestions, some more constructive than others! until eventually 2 rather burley men arrived, dismantled my partition and physically lifted him in to the trailer! I am eternally grateful - (and still occasionally reminded about it). Needless to say loading practice ensued, days of patient persuasion, feeding in the trailer, short journeys, more food and always leaving plenty of time. He became a great traveller and I never did put the partition back in- and he never scrabbled around corners again!

Over the years I have had a few aside from Bridget, who have been tricky to load and usually a rope around their bottom, or long lines either side of the ramp are enough to encourage them on board, but some you see when out and about are not having any of it.

I often wonder what has happened to horses that I see in lorry parks standing at the bottom of their ramp, ears back, toes firmly dug in to the ground flatly refusing to put a toe on to the ramp! I, rightly or wrongly, am convinced that it is usually down to contentment when travelling. If you had to stand braced to go round a corner, struggling to keep your feet or lurching at every junction, you too may think twice about travelling. So consider when you are driving your precious cargo how they have to deal with stops and starts and moving round corners. Consider driving a bucket of water from a to b - 3/4's full. When you get there- is it still 3/4's full? if so, good job- you are ready to drive your horse about, if not, think about braking time- watch the road ahead and plan. Think smoothly around the corners and gently through the gears - your horse will thank you for it and you will reap the rewards of a relaxed horse doing his or her best for you in return!

Employers often need lorry or trailer drivers, and if you are a groom looking for employment with out these qualifications it may be worth you investing in your future and doing your hgv or trailer test- if you need any free advice on the best way to go about this, speak to us at Premier Equestrian Recruitment - and improve you career prospects for the new year 07714236765

To rug or not to rug..........

photo credit Rupert Gibson Photography.

Autumn has to be the trickiest time of year for rugging up horses. The evenings turn chilly so quickly and temperatures overnight can soon plummet to frosty depths and then the next morning by 11am it is blazing sunshine. This year is a little more extraordinary than most with the consistent dry sunny days, (please don't let me be the curse that breaks the spell -although some rain to soften the ground would be lovely - I do have a fear that when it starts it won't know when to stop!!), and I seem to spend more time at evening stables debating which rug, if any, to put on, only to then be lying in bed thinking 'well I got that wrong then' as the temperature either plummets if I haven't rugged up, or doesn't go below 13 degrees if I have!

Breathable lining in new Zealand rug


I have lost count of how many times over the last couple of weeks have I left home early, horses nice and snug with their rugs on in almost freezing conditions to return to find them steaming gently in the baking sun! They are not unduly concerned, but it can't be that pleasant for them. So, I have invested in some new rugs, (any excuse my husband would say!!) And I have to say I am rather pleased with them. Shires Tempest; red rugs with a very effective breathable lining, so when I left the frost covered yard this morning the boys were as warm as toast in their new PJ's, and when returned at 11 o'clock they were as cool as cucumbers despite the temperature having increased by 16 degrees!


My horses spend the majority of their time rugged up if they are in work, it keeps their coats looking glossy and smooth and keeps the pesky flies at bay, and Henry being grey it helps to keep the worst of his stains at bay- well almost! My main aim at this time of year is to put off the clipping for as long as possible, but this week the tell tail signs of the ''blackberry coat'' have appeared. I have no idea what ‘'blackberry coat'' actually means, and if any one can enlighten me I would be delighted!! All I know is Triggers is worst- it stands up on end and looks fluffy - the clippers are revving!.


Lovely clean rugs ready for use this winter

And then the joy of the clean rugs!! At the end of the winter all of the rugs are packed off to the lovely Ruggles people who wash, repair, reproof and bag up for easy storage over the summer months. I just love opening them up and putting them on freshly clipped bodies- all nice and clean - SO pleasing. There are some fabulous rugs on the market, and I have to confess to having rather a penchant for a new rug or two, I would be far too embarrassed to share a picture of the shelves in the shed with rugs for every day of the week, for every horse wouldn't be too much of an exaggeration! If you look after them well and keep them clean and reproofed they last well, which is rather dull really as I do love to have a new rug delivered! When buying new rugs research well, some makes and styles suit some horses better than others, and it is well worth asking opinions before spending- especially as it is very easy to spend a rather large amount of money on new rugs!



Even in the depths of the beast from the east their coats kept them snug


At this time of year when their coats are changing, if you do not intend to clip them out I would not put a rug on at all...………….hairy ponies/ horses are happy ones. Their coat will develop over the next few weeks and produce the best protection for them, but if you rug up you prevent it from forming a proper winter woolly. Even in the hardest of last years 'beast from the east' the two horses that wintered out did not need rugs. Their coats stood up to trap air next to the skin and kept them toastie, by putting a rug on you prevent the horses body from doing its natural thing. The one foot note to add to that would be that my winter fields have great shelter in the form of high hedges and trees- if they were out in an unsheltered place I would think again - they need some thing to tuck their bottoms in to on a windy day! If you want to ride off the field and are worried about them getting too hot and sweaty, just clip out their tummy and under the neck - it helps enormously and won't affect their insulation too badly.

How do you negotiate the minefield that is being employed in equestrianism?

How do you negotiate the minefield that is being employed in equestrianism; an industry that for many an employer their horse is their hobby, financed on a shoe string and expecting their groom to do the job for love not money?

Well you don’t have to – there are some exceptionally good jobs out there, well paid, sensible hours and time off, pensions and holiday pay; at Premier Equestrian Recruitment we only deal with employers who understand the importance of employing their groom properly, paying a decent wage and offering decent working conditions.

But, YOU must be well equipped with knowledge and expertise to negotiate yourself a proper wage, and you must be capable of performing the job to the standard that wage will reflect. Be brave enough to know your worth and do not work for an unscrupulous yard that pays less than minimum wage and has no idea about days off. Keep your eye on developments in horse care and new products, keep up to date with any training that you are able to do, and always accept an opportunity to increase your skill set, even if it means extra work, or training after work. In the long run it will make you a more attractive candidate for a ‘TOP JOB’.
Working in any yard you need to be efficient, proficient, and capable of dealing with many different situations. Learning how do perform tasks quickly but properly will elevate you to the status of 'top groom'. Plaiting beautiful plaits, clipping immaculately, pulling a tail are all essential skills in any yard. But little things make all the difference; skipping out religiously (one of my favourites!) brush a tail before going on exercise, always pick out and paint feet, I certainly want my horses to look smart when they are trotting down the road and if you are working for a professional, what you do reflects on them so if you automatically assume every horse must look its best at all times, then you won't go far wrong.

If you are responsible for management of the yard make sure you keep your paper work up to date and tidy, passports with vaccination pages tagged, a calendar with due dates for teeth, vaccinations, backs etc. If you have liveries, a book with billable items, such as shoeing and worming and a book with all the kit that comes with each horse to avoid dramas when it goes home! Whiteboards – every yard should have at least one, we use them for feed lists and leaving notes for each other as well as exercise lists for the yard – SO useful!
With a ‘Top Job’ you will often find accommodation included in your package, which is lovely, as you don't have to travel to work, but be careful that you still get your time off- it can be all too easy to nip in on your day off, and before you know it you are 'just' skipping out or 'just' plaiting one ready for tomorrow- take your day and make it your own!! And while thinking about accommodation - make sure you look after it; keep it clean and tidy, throw the hoover round the straw and shavings that inevitably make their way in, and be proud of your space. If you share with other members of the team, have a rota, and for goodness sake DO THE DISHES!!!! The way you look after your house or flat will reflect on your work in the yard- if you have the mindset to put things away and keep everything tidy this principal will follow you into your workplace as well -elevating you to 'TOP GROOM' status.

Premier Equestrian Recruitment offers advice to job seekers about their interviews- turnout, presentation and conduct, and the secrets on how to be a ‘TOP GROOM' if you are looking for advice from someone with 30 years’ experience working with horses (and their owners!!) Clare can give you a valuable insight in to working in the equestrian industry. With workshops throughout the year to help you polish up your cv and hone your interview technique you can ensure you secure your TOP JOB, for more information or call 07714236765

The hunting season is nigh......

The hunters are back in, all whiskers and spikey manes.

Having had his shoes off and out in a field away from home for 8 weeks to chill out Snakey (as he is affectionately known -due to his tendency to chase you around his box with his teeth!!) has had a very relaxing holiday by the look of his tummy!

So the get fit campaign will start with him coming in every day for some respite from the sun and the flies, a little net of hay to keep him occupied and 15 minutes on the walker twice a day for 5 days before we get his shoes on and start the road walking. The dry conditions have really helped his feet as he has a tendency to thrush- and when the fields are wet he can suffer from this condition, even when out full time. This year there is no sign of it- his feet have survived very well and a couple of trims during his break to stop his feet breaking up has paid dividends and they look fabulous and ready for his new shoes!

His mane looks like a zebras! sticking straight up in the air- and will provide us with some entertainment to get it contained to look remotely respectable for hound exercise or autumn hunting - but Anna is an expert- and we will do a mane pulling masterclass on the blog over the next few weeks - the secret is little and often, resist the temptation to attack the Mohican all at once - you will be relieved when you plait for the first time - trust me! Like-wise the tail - be patient and your charge will look a million dollars at opening meet.

So this week has seen visits from the farrier, equine dentist and the physio. The whole yard has had a top to toe check over. I am a firm believer in a check up before you get going, that way if there are any issues with sore muscles from playing in the field you do not run the risk of causing issues when you get going with the fitness campaign. One thing to be aware of is you saddle fit- if your horse has spent a while out and has gained some weight- be careful that his saddle still fits - you may find that a saddle fitter may recommend using a different saddle if he is significantly larger (an employer will be most impressed if you are aware that this may be an issue!)

So during the next few weeks we will increase the work load gradually, building the muscle up and losing the fat that he has put on over the summer. We will walk him for 4 weeks, you have to gauge the amount of walking, taking in to consideration the amount of time your horse had off and what sort he is , and there is no doubt that some horses maintain their fitness more than others. We will then start adding in trotting, slowly building up to an hour and a half of ridden exercise, and then when that ground work is done we will start to add in canter work. After a week or so in to the trot work we will introduce some light schooling, working over trotting poles and small fences to help him improve his core strength before moving on to outings to Vale View or Aylesford for some cross country schooling. Our aim is the Belvoir Team Chase and the Cottesmore Fun ride as a pre cursor to the hunting season so not a day to be missed to ensure he is physically ready for a good gallop with 25 fences! We will keep you posted with his progress!

If you are a groom working with hunters and need any advice about getting your charges back to peak fitness please contact us at we are always happy to offer any advice! Or if you would like to work with hunters check out the vacancies we have here

Enjoy the sunshine!

Whatever equestrian job, dedication is essential

If you are contemplating a career in the equestrian industry, or are currently looking for a new job, it can be incredibly daunting looking at all of the possibilities on various web sites. There are reams and reams of jobs, you can select options to filter your results, but essentially your starting point must be know what you actually want to do and after that all you need a good dollop of dedication!

Eventing last week at Upton House I found my self looking around the lorry park and soaking up the activity. The grooms never stopped, grooming, studding up, tacking up, changing tack and boots, greasing up, washing off, de-studding walking round, bandaging, cleaning tack and finally loading up to go home. It was exhausting to watch, especially in the extraordinary heat we are experiencing at the moment, (although I did think the job is a little more appealing in these conditions with your shorts and strappy top on than when it is tipping it down with rain in a usual British summer) but at the end of the day, as girls and lads were sitting on lorry ramps eating ice cream waiting for riders/owners to return from the prize giving I was rather in awe of their work ethic, smiling all day, heads down and getting on with it.

And this is just eventing: what ever discipline you choose, whether you want to work in polo, show jumping or showing (to mention just a few) you will need to be dedicated. Professionals and amateur competitors alike require their grooms to have an understanding of the level of commitment that is required to be a top groom. I am never sure how to instill in a new candidate quite what is expected of them in any job, let alone a top job. The pre conceived idea of how much work a groom should be expected to do can be rather unrealistic, and when I learn that a groom has refused to start half an hour earlier on a show day, I know that he or she will not be in this industry for long. And with this statement I do not condone employees being over worked or abused, but there certainly has to be a degree of give and take from employees- if you start early one day, you will usually get an extra hour or two off during the easier non show days- it is the give and take attitude that is needed to make the job work! I worry that unless the next generation take on board the reality of working in equestrianism, and have the dedication necessary to stick at a job and learn their profession there will be a real gap in the equestrian employment market.

If you are a job seeker in the equestrian industry and are looking for a new job or a change of jobs give me a call, or drop me a message and let me help you unravel the tangled web of jobs that are available. I can offer you a personal approach to recruitment, I am very happy to chat about your career opportunities and options please call 07714236765 mail me at or to view the current vacancies we have

Bushy tails!

To keep a tail under control and looking neat and tidy on a horse with coarse bushy hair can be very tricky and time consuming!

Pulling them is often painful for the horse and for your fingers! and frankly if the horse doesn't like it - it can be extremely dangerous!

Over the years I have tried many different methods on tails that are too hard to pull and the video below is a quick guide on how to get a good result in minutes - the secret is simply to keep on top of the job!

Top grooms know that little and often is the best way- and keeping a tail regularly combed or pulled and bandaged for an hour a day can produce enviable results, and it is worth every day taking a look and having a trim/comb before bandaging for an hour. #toptipsfortopgrooms

Summer Stresses Part IV

Keeping hydrated.....................not just a thought for the horse!

Competing, or even just riding horses during the summer months can provide many headaches, as already mentioned in previous blogs, but a real headache can be self inflicted by not keeping your self hydrated, and I am sure many people have experienced that 4 o'clock head from lack of fluid.

If you are any thing like me you spend all your time rushing round; trying to fit in riding with work, school runs, house work (not overly obvious in my house that much time is spent on that!!), feeding the family and the ultimate time waster- shopping for the food to feed them all.....(which, with rugby playing son, William, home from Uni is crucial to keep the peace!!)

And with all that rushing round it is so easy to forget to drink - and i am not talking tea or coffee but water.........and you would be amazed how much you should really pour down your self to stay properly hydrated on an ordinary day, let alone on hot humid ones, as we have already had a few of this summer!

I try and keep a water bottle on hand during the day, drink and top up, and if I concentrate on drinking regularly can easily see off 2 litres of water during a day. Not only is it good for my head, but kidneys also really appreciate a good dose of water during a busy day, and skin too - when reaching an age- one has to consider ones skin!

But jockey aside, hydrating your horse is vitally important to their well being and achieving the best performance.

At home, it would be very unusual to need to stress about getting your horse to drink - they just do - although there is no denying when they are in during day and out at night, they save themselves up for a lovely bit of trough water, rather than a nice fresh bucket in the stable! But when staying away from home - or on a long day competing, it can be tricky to get your horse to have a slurp - let alone a significant and worth while drink of water.

When staying away from home I take a few apples, slice up one and drop slices in to a bucket of water.........Henry can't resist and while apple bobbing starts the drinking process and before you know it has had a good re hydrating!

If just on a long day trip, a large syringe can help to wet his whistle or sponging water into his mouth tides him over until we get home.

When it is warm and the horses easily sweat up during day to day exercise, I give them electrolyte powders in their feed as a norm, but the day before a competition and for 2 days afterwards I use liquid electrolytes to help ensure the balance of minerals and salts stay at the correct levels to aid recovery and help tired muscles repair -ready for the next excursion. There are many products on the market, and far be it from me to say what is the best product................but my electrolyte of the season is the Equine UK Products Restore-Lyte - it comes in a liquid as well as powder, the former is my preferred as it is so easy to mix with feed, and they do a really handy syringe to top up after a competition, easy to administer and you know every bit is used!

Stay hydrated and enjoy the sun!

Summer Stresses part III

The ground............and looking after those precious legs

Working horses in the summer can provide many challenges, and not the least of which can be the ground.
A wet spring followed by a dry spell and poached gateways are turned to rutted ankle breakers for humans and fetlock twisters for horses!

I am incredibly lucky to have a TROT ride (Toll Ride Offroad Trust) at home, which gives me 15 miles of offroad riding on my doorstep -it is bliss, out of reach of the school run mothers and commuting drivers, who whilst have got used to me, still think it is a pain to slow down for me! But, avoiding the traffic aside, the tracks are brilliant for getting and keeping horses fit. I can canter, and in some places practice circles for dressage - all on grass, which i think really helps for when you go to an event - training on a similar surface means your horse is used to the feeling under their when going round a corner or jumping a fence.

This though does provide certain challenges when the ground has firmed up. I agonize as to whether to go to the all weather gallops during hard periods - but Henry hates with a passion working on gallops, switches off and frankly doesn't try! So I try, whatever the ground to work at home. Long, and very slow canters seem to work really well for him in preparation for an event-the odd pheasant popping up keeps us both on our toes and the undulations of working on a rig and furrow field keep him foot sure and prepared for any eventuality when going cross country at an event.

As the ground is firm at home at the moment, when i have cantered i make sure i cool legs down as soon as i get home. I pop on cold water boots( that i put on to soak before i go out) as soon as we get home, untack and wash off and then either ice vibe boots or ice packs for 15 minutes. The ice vibe boots are great - using vibration to really help cool deep in to the tendons. If i am working more than one horse i only have one set of ice vibes, so i use ice cube packs, bought from the supermarket they are so easy to fill and freeze and wrap brilliantly round a leg - and i then put the cold water boot over the top to hold them in place- So as not to damage skin and tissue with the ice packs i use either green jay cloths or equisox, the latter are great as they provide support for the leg - just like you putting on a knee support! Both cooling methods are brilliant, and it just depends what mood i am in to what i use.

Enjoy the sunshine!