Bandages or wraps used while riding protect a horse from scraping itself on obstacles such as jumps or gymkhana props and provides support when doing high-performance activities such as jumping, barrel racing or other sports that put a lot of strain on a horse's legs. Overall, this is a staple part of horse riding and key as a means of protecting any and every type of horse. |
Improperly applied Leg Wraps can do a lot of damage. The blood supply to the tendons in the back of your horse's leg is compromised if the wrap is too tight, is applied with uneven pressure, or if it slips down and bunches up. How much tension to use when applying a wrap depends on the materials you use. A properly applied bandage will stay in place without slipping and will lie snug against your horse's skin, but not snug enough to indent it. You should be able to slide a fingertip between the bandage and your horse's leg. You need to make sure it goes on in the correct way and from this, this will mean your horse is able to ride with a greater degree of comfort too.
Stretchy materials are easier to work with than cotton-flannel Leg Wrap bandages, but can also be pulled too tight. As a rule of thumb, never stretch to more than 1.5 times the resting length of the fabric, and never, ever stretch as tight as it can go. To get an idea of how much pull/force this requires, first unravel a 4- to 6-inch length of bandage, hold it in front of you and gradually stretch until it is 1.5 times the original length. One of the trickiest things to learn is where to start the outer bandage so that you finish wrapping at the top of the leg without too much bandage left over, or not enough left. This is going to depend on the length of your bandage (9 or 12 feet), the width (between 4 and 6 inches) and how much stretch it has, as well as how long the horse's cannon bone is.
Expert application is even more important than Wraps for stall use because there is a much higher risk of the bandages sliding down due to the greater movement. This can put uneven pressure on the tendons and cause injury. Horse Wraps that come loose and unravel are an even greater danger, for obvious reasons of the horse getting tangled up in them and spooking or even falling.
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