Wraps for Horses
2008 Cherry Hill ©
have a fairly simple question. What are leg wraps for? What is the point
of putting them on if you are riding, and not moving a horse in a trailer? Are
they a good idea to have on your horse on a trail ride? Whet exactly do they do
for the horse? Thank you.
Good question and one I am glad you asked. There can be confusion about
leg wraps because there are several types of wraps.
I'll describe the four main types of leg wraps:
Wraps (also called shipping wraps)
Wraps (also called Standing bandages)
wraps are comprised of a thick quilted layer that runs from BELOW the coronary
band and bulbs of the heels up to and sometimes over the knee or hock. The
leg quilt is held in place by a long bandage that must be put on fairly tight
or you will find all the bandages on the trailer floor when you get to your destination.
Quite honestly, I don't use trailer wraps any more since there are so many well-padded,
conforming styles of trailer boots on the market that are very easy to put
on and really do a better job of protecting a horse's legs.
As far as wound bandages, which I hope you don't have to use, they are usually
comprised of a gauze pad, a self conforming gauze wrap, a light quilted layer
and topped with a self adhesive, conforming crepe bandage (common brand name Vetrap),
and conforming adhesive tape. As you would suspect, they are used to cover
a wound while it is healing.
wraps are just one single bandage roll - a cotton, fleece or slightly elastic
bandage that is carefully but snugly applied to support the flexor tendons during
work. The essential part of applying an exercise bandage is to never
put uneven pressure on the tendons or pull on them when you are wrapping.
Exercise wraps should be used for short periods of time, such as an hour, during
work. There are also stretchy, neoprene sport boots that can perform a similar
function to exercise wraps which some people prefer to use. It is important
that these only be used on a horse's leg for an hour maximum as neoprene concentrates
heat against a horse's leg which is not good.
Standing bandages traditionally cover the cannon area and are usually made
up of two layers - a light quilt and a bandage. They are used by some stables
routinely at night or for portions of the day. Sometimes liniment is applied
on the horse's lower limb and then the quilt and bandage is applied loosely.
Their purpose is the keep the legs from swelling after work and while the horse
is "standing" around, thus their name, I believe.
You can see all of these bandages demonstrated with step-by-step how-to photos
in my book Horse Health Care.
Now that I have answered all of your questions about bandages, here are my recommendations.
Use trailer boots whenever you transport your horse in a trailer to protect
him from stepping on himself and injuring his heel bulbs or coronary bands or
from bumping his knees or hocks on the trailer walls.
Only consider using exercise wraps on the advice of your veterinarian who might
recommend them or boots for tendon support. And the same goes for standing
bandages - only use on the advice of your veterinarian or an experienced trainer
who knows your horse would benefit from them.