Horse Leg Wraps

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Leg Wraps for Horses

  2008 Cherry Hill   Copyright Information

Dear Cherry Hill:  

    I 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.  


Hi Ashley,

  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:  

Trailering Wraps (also called shipping wraps)
Wound Bandages
Exercise Wraps
Stable Wraps (also called Standing bandages)  

  Trailer 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.

  Exercise 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.  


  2008 Cherry Hill   Copyright Information

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