How to wrap a horse’s legs

How to wrap a horse’s legs

Hi, my name is Dr. Lydia Gray. I’m the Staff
Veterinarian and Medical Director here at SmartPak. Today, I want to share some tips
for wrapping your horse’s legs, something that every horse owner will need to do eventually,
whether it’s for exercise, for shipping in a trailer, for adding support in a stall,
maybe even covering a wound. We’ll cover choosing the right materials, preparing the
materials and your horse, and then some basic do’s and don’t’s. The choice of which materials to use for wrapping
is somewhat personal preference. There are some next generation bandage materials that
are becoming quite popular. I still use the traditional polo wraps and standing bandages
and quilts, so we’ll talk about those. Polo wraps are a soft, stretchy, fleece-like material
with Velcro on the end. They’re about four or five inches wide and maybe nine feet long.
Those are used for exercise. The standing bandage, also called a shipping
bandage or a stable bandage, is a little bit wider – maybe six inches –, a little bit
longer – ten, eleven, maybe twelve feet – , and they’re more a knit-polyester material
that’s less stretchy, and you put those over a quilt or pillow wrap. This is made
of cotton. There are different heights to support the length of your horse’s cannon
bone, because the front is a different height than the back. There is nothing more frustrating than finishing
the perfect wrap only to find at that last turn that you didn’t roll the bandage right
and the Velcro is on the inside. So, in preparing your materials, whether it’s the polo wrap
or the standing bandage, when you first get it out of the package, unroll it and reroll
it inside-out, Velcro first, so that when you’re applying the wrap on your horse’s
leg, you end with the Velcro on the outside. Now for preparing the horse, just make sure
that his legs are clean and dry, that he’s standing on a clean and level surface, and
that he is safely restrained, which can either be tied, cross-tied, or having a helper hold. Wrapping seems complicated, but it doesn’t
have to be. There are really just two things to remember. The first is don’t wrap too
loosely, because the wrap could slide or fall down and trip your horse. The second is don’t
wrap too tightly or unevenly, because this could compromise your horse’s circulation
and cutting off that circulation could cause cording the tendon or a bandage bow, which
is damage to the tendons on the back of the leg. It’s really just as simple as those two
things, but if you’re looking for some additional help in wrapping, here are a few tips. If
you have to wrap a leg for a wound, let’s say, wrap the pair. So, if there’s a wound
on the left front leg, wrap the right front leg, also. It provides extra support to the
leg that’s not injured, and then if a horse has two wraps, he maybe isn’t distracted
enough to chew or to kick one off. Another tip. Start with the roll to the back.
This is my horse leg, and he’s looking that way. I put the front edge of the bandage in
front of the leg and the roll to the back, and then I start. If you always start the
same way, you will always end correctly. Another tip is to wrap smoothly and evenly.
Try to avoid tugging or pulling at certain parts of the wrapping, to avoid creating unnecessary
tension against the soft tissues of the leg. Next, when you’re using a standing bandage
and a quilt, always wrap the two the same direction, clockwise or counter-clockwise,
and try to leave a little padding at the top and the bottom of the pressure wrap. With practice, you will learn exactly where
to start, the correct tension to use, and how much to overlap, so that you end half
way down the outside of the leg. Try to do it the same way everytime, so that you develop
a consistent system or method that works for you. Happy wrapping!

12 thoughts on “How to wrap a horse’s legs

  1. I've heard that you must use padding even when using polo wraps because you can cause tendon injuries if you just use the wrap without padding. Is this true? Or did I just waste an extra $15?

  2. Omg I have been having trouble wrapping my horses legs and I would always forget how to use it- now I come back to this video a year later and because of this video I remember EXACTLY how to wrap my horses' legs

  3. Could I use this on an injured horse ? as my horse needs raps as it has something wrong with her tendon but I am not sure weather I could use this as I need to know for tomorrow
    Thank you

  4. Can I use combo boots in place of the shipping wraps? I'll be trailering for about 6 hours and then after a break another 3.

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