Yesterday I found a use! Two days ago, about 3/4 of the way through our ride Charlie and I had a nice soft canter going down the long side of the arena, everything was beautiful and smooth, and then I felt him take a random misstep and suddenly become quite "crooked". There he was, tripping over his own feet and coming up lame for the first time since I've owned him. I couldn't find anything obviously wrong so I cooled him out and gave him some bute, watched him for awhile as he meandered around eating grass, and then set him back outside for the afternoon. To be safe I kept him in overnight but by morning his right rear ankle was pretty stiff and a bit puffy. Bring on the cold hosing and *aha moment* liniment!
It sure makes my hands feel good, so I figured it must at least be somewhat cooling and refreshing on a hot, sore ankle. And if it does increase circulation like it claims to, then it should help the swelling at least a little. All I know is that after ten minutes of cold-hosing and a few applications of liniment Charlie marched right out to the field with much less of a limp, and by today (no cold-hosing, no bute, just liniment) he was nearly 100%. The verdict? Liniment may not be a miracle drug, and I don't think I'll be full-on bathing with it anytime soon, but it's re-earned a respectable space in my medicine cabinet.