The right horse leg protection - part 1 Bandages
A year ago I watched this video about the "inside the giants" - the episode about race horses and how they are able to run so fast. I was amazed and surprised about the amount of force the tendons in a horse’s leg have to endure during normal movement. Makes you wonder what happens at a full gallop, or a canter pirouette.
It also shows very clearly (at least to me) the importance of protecting your horse’s legs during exercise.
[ Check out the video on YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsvS6gEBJuE ]
Move straight to 16:14 minutes into the video to see what could happen when your horse clips their front tendons / ligaments with their back legs / hoofs….
Once you’ve decided that you want to protect your horse’s legs, how do you know what type of protection to use?
Traditionally people used to wrap their horses legs in Polo wraps or bandages.
Benefits: Bandages are not very expensive. Most can be machine-washed and dried. Correct wrapping produces a custom fit so you don’t need to worry about sizes and measurements. And when you wrap your horses legs neatly it looks very professional and smart.
On the down side: It’s a skill to wrap bandages and you need to practice this a lot. Bandages can be wrapped either too tightly (damaging soft tissues) or loosely (leading to dangerous slippage).
To protect your horse’s legs from wrapping too tightly it is recommended to start with pads underneath.
Bandages come in all colours so you can mix and match to your heart's content!
Most bandages are made of fleece type materials. This material traps seed heads and other debris, making polos unsuitable for riding outside the arena. Single closure is not sufficiently secure for high-intensity workouts, such as eventing cross-country (which is why you see the (insulation) tape over the wraps to keep them in place).
Applying and removing bandages requires squatting next to horse's legs for quite a while, which is something that you -again- need to practice at home. Be careful with a horse that likes to kick, or is easily spooked!
If you're not sure how to work with bandages, or you want something that is a little easier to put on your horse's legs, you can choose from many styles of horse boots:
Next time we’re going to look at boots:
* Jumping Boots & Cross Country Boots
* Splint Boots
* Sport Boots
* Dressage Boots