Stable Wraps: Post-Exercise Horse Care
If you missed our previous blogs in the Post-Exercise care series, check them out here:
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When you have a 1,000-pound animal that is exercising on delicate legs, care of a horse’s legs after work becomes a large priority. One of the best ways to care for your horse’s legs after hard exercise is to wrap them in stable bandages. These will help prevent swelling in the legs, and are great after exercise, as well as for horses that tend to stock up or swell when stabled overnight.
**Applying stable wraps correctly takes practice, and should be supervised by an experienced wrapper when you first begin. Please seek help from a trainer, veterinarian, or other experienced horse-person as you begin to practice your wrapping. If not done correctly, wrapping can do much more harm than it can good.**
- Pillow, quilted, or no-bow wraps (provides padding)
- Measure the height of your horse’s leg, from fetlock to knee joints, to purchase appropriate length
- The wraps for the back legs will typically need to be a bit longer than the front wraps
- Track wraps (stretchy wraps to provide tension over padding)
- Roll your pillow wrap inside out, beginning with the label nearest you.
- Roll the track wraps beginning with the Velcro end, so that the Velcro ends up on the inside of the roll.
- Hold the pillow wrap with the roll facing you and the loose end facing the horse’s leg.
- Place the edge of the pillow wrap on the inside of the leg, halfway between the cannon bone and tendons.
- Begin wrapping the pillow wrap around the leg, moving from the inside of the leg to the outside.
- Pull tension on the wrap backwards, towards the horse’s back legs, so as to avoid pulling across the back tendons and possibly bowing a tendon.
- Try to evenly wrap the pillow wrap so that the top and bottom edges stay aligned, making sure that the wrap ends on one side of the leg (not across the cannon bone or tendons).
- When you reach the end of the pillow wrap, hold this in place with one hand and grab your track wrap with the other.
- Hold the track wrap with the roll closest to you and the loose end closest to the horse’s leg. Begin the track wrap in the middle of the leg (vertically).
- Tuck approximately three inches of the track wrap underneath the end of the pillow wrap, and counter clockwise on the left leg and clockwise on the right.
- Again, apply tension backwards (never forwards) across the leg, and lay the wrap across the tendons.
- Apply the wrap with equally overlapping sections, each section should overlap about one half to one third of the previous (depending on the length of the track wrap).
- Wrap down to the fetlock joint, you can cup around the back of the fetlock if this area may also swell.
- Leave 1/2 inch of the pillow wrap visible on the top and bottom of the wrap to ensure no pressure points.
- Then wrap back up the leg, all the way up under the knee joint, then back down to end the wrap in the middle of the leg ideally.
- Secure the Velcro on the track wrap, and cover with electrical tape if needed for extra durability.
- If covering with tape, apply in a spiral over the Velcro so that there is never a continuous ring.
To check that you applied the wrap with even tension, tap or flick the wrap in multiple places and listen for a similar pitch. The similar sound ensures that the tension was even. You should be able to comfortably fit about two fingers inside of the wrap. Remember to take lots of time to practice, and do not leave the wrap on for long periods until you are very confident in your wrapping skills!