Leg wraps are one of the tools used to keep equine athletes at Stonestreet Training Center in top shape.
There are many variations, but the universal rule among all wraps is application in a counterclockwise fashion on the left leg and clockwise on the right leg. Why? To avoid straining the tendon, which runs up the back of the foreleg from fetlock to knee. Poorly applied wraps can cause injury and discomfort.
Fleece polo wraps are used during exercise. The wrap runs from below the knee or hock and extends like a sling beneath the fetlock joint. Bandages conform perfectly to the individual leg, unlike boots, and also cover a greater area. The wraps prevent interference injury and also protect from abrasions caused by run downs (where the fetlock drops down into racing surface).
A horse in training will wear flannel wraps covering a padded bandage when in the stall or shipping. These run from below the knee to bottom of fetlock. They protect from bumps and scrapes as well as preventing filling in the legs. The increased heat promotes greater blood flow to the area, which can aid healing.
Cold therapies reduce pain, inflammation and the heat associated with inflammation. The wraps worn while racing or training can cause tendons to retain heat and should be removed when a horse is cooling out. Cooling warm legs after exercise is an important part of injury prevention. We use polo wraps soaked in ice water; the stretchy polo wraps are applied soaking wet to the lower legs, and worn while hot walking after a breeze.
As you can imagine the laundry room at the Stonestreet Training Center is a busy place! The wraps and pads are washed after every use and have to be rolled up neatly before being put away.
Don’t be a Bad Bandager!
- Pull from the shin backwards, not from the tendon forward
- Ensure even tension and even rows
- Apply equal pressure to each limb (so the horse doesn’t alter how he bears weight on his limbs)
- Have the bandage end on the outside of the leg (so the closure isn’t dislodged by other leg)