(CNN) -

How do you keep a 500 kg sports star in shape?

Like any leading two-legged athlete, the world's finest on four legs demand the best treatment.

Hopping in an ice bath, however, is not quite so easy.

So how do you keep horses in top condition at big events? CNN speaks to a champion Olympic rider and the physiotherapist behind one of the world's best equestrian teams.

Hot, hot heat

The strangest-looking technology is above your head: the solarium.

These overhead heat lamps look like a horse enjoying a private disco, but they make a big difference.

"You stand your horse under the lights on a cold day and they get the warmth," explains British rider Laura Tomlinson, who won individual bronze and team gold in dressage at the London 2012 Olympics.

"It gives them the equivalent of sunshine in the winter, when they don't get much outdoor time."

The lamps are the basic model. Some devices add hot air and even a light show to the solarium concept, morphing into huge, colorful computers above a horse's head.

Tomlinson's own ceiling-mounted device has a "hairdryer" function to give a horse a good, hot blow-dry after a wet day's training.

"It means that in the winter, when you've had to wash the horse down and they've been sweaty, they don't catch a chill," she says.

The manufacturer claims the light show, with four different color settings, will soothe your horse and alter its mindset -- while it enjoys the hairdryer and the heat lamps.

Green is "the color of nature and spring, relaxing and harmonious," reads the brochure. Blue is "the coolest, clearest and deepest color, (which) calms the body and has a balancing effect," while red is "the color of vitality, improves the formation of red blood cells (and) stimulates breathing." Yellow "has a stimulating effect on the glands and brain."

Tomlinson politely suggests she is unconvinced. (There is also the question of a horse's ability to see color, with some research suggesting the animals struggle to distinguish the color red. The manufacturer declined CNN's interview request.)

Sonic boost

Sticking with the theme of lights, lasers are now vital when treating and rehabilitating top horses.

Janus Marquis is at the top of her profession -- she has been the U.S. showjumping team physiotherapist at the past three Olympic Games.

"I do a lot with lasers, and laser therapy is changing so fast," she tells CNN.

"Lasers work at reducing inflammation and increasing circulation. The light is absorbed by the tissue, it makes tissue healthier on a cellular level."

There are different categories of laser: some you can see with the naked eye, like a laser pointer, while other, stronger lasers are invisible.

A similar tool in the equine physio's armory is ultrasound. Unlike many treatments, where bigger is better, ultrasound kits are getting smaller each year.

"Ultrasound has a very deep heating effect," Marquis says. "It's a very powerful therapy and therefore it's very effective, but it can cause tissue damage if done incorrectly.

"The newer units are a fraction of the power, so they take a lot more time -- you can leave them on for six or seven hours at a time to reduce inflammation and bring circulation to an area -- but you don't have the same risk of injury, because they are so much less powerful.

"When I'm treating an area of a similar size with a professional ultrasound unit, it takes me about five minutes. But the more things we can give people that they can use themselves, safely, that are still effective, then the more we are doing for more horses."