Bandage Your Horse Correctly
With bandages for horses, you as a rider want to protect the joints of your horse during daily work. To do this, you need to put the bandages on correctly. Badly fitting or incorrectly applied bandages can even have a negative effect and damage the legs of your horse. With a little practice and the right bandages, you will quickly have the horse’s leg properly wrapped.
In our guide we give you useful tips on how to use the bandages correctly.
Why bandage a horse?
There are several reasons to bandage a horse:
Bandages protect your horse’s legs during exercise. Especially when your horse strokes itself, it benefits from bandages.
Bandages also provide protection from outside influences in the stable and during transport.
Bandages help keep tendons and ligaments warm. Especially for older horses, this is a benefit that should not be underestimated.
You can also use horse bandages to enhance the look of your horse. They come in many materials, shapes and colors, so you can easily match them to the rest of your horse’s outfit.
However, bandages are not without their problems. If you don’t wrap the bandages around your horse’s leg properly, problems can arise:
If the bandage fits too loosely, sand and small stones can collect underneath and chafe the skin.
There is also a risk that poorly tied bandages will come loose. This poses a risk of injury, as your horse can trip over the loose band.
If you tie the bandage too tightly, there may be problems with blood flow and lymphatic drainage.
Also, rain and wetness in general are not good for bandages as the fabric absorbs moisture and then becomes uncomfortable for the animal. The material can contract and press on the legs.
Basically, however, these are difficulties that you can overcome as an experienced horse owner.
Preparing bandages correctly
If you want to bandage your horse, you must first choose the right material for the bandages.
A distinction is made between:
The most commonly used bandages nowadays are those made of fleece. The wool and flex bandages are used less. Fleece bandages have the advantage of being soft and at the same time not too stretchy. They can be easily closed by a Velcro fastener.
With flex bandages you should also use a bandaging pad. Otherwise you run the risk of wrapping the bandage too tightly, which in turn can cause health damage to your horse’s leg. With the other two materials, underlays are not necessary. Some horse owners resort to using underlays anyway, as they want to make sure that the pressure around the legs is evenly distributed.
How long the bandage horse needs to be depends on the size of your four-legged friend. For ponies, the length should be between 2 and 2.5 meters and for large horses between 3 and 3.5 meters.
In its purchase version, you cannot wrap the bandage directly around the horse’s leg. If you are using a new bandage, you must first unroll it completely. The best way to do this is to roll it up by hand, with the Velcro at the beginning of the bandage facing up. Then tilt the beginning of the bandage upwards and roll up the whole bandage. Now you are ready to start bandaging.
Make sure that the legs are clean and dry. Dirt on the leg can cause the bandage to start rubbing on the horse’s sensitive skin.
Bandaging a horse: Instructions
Always pay attention to the following when bandaging:
Always wrap from the inside of the leg to the outside front and then to the back!
Avoid folds and thus pressure points!
Wrap tightly, but not too tightly!
Always apply the bandage to the front of the long bone and not to the back, where muscles and tendons run!
If you want to bandage the foreleg, start below the carpal joint and wrap the bandage evenly and slightly diagonally downwards. The distance between the layers should be between 3 and 5 centimeters. You bandage the fetlock head and then wrap upwards again. The distance between the layers should now be slightly larger. The Velcro is closed on the outside. Thereby it points to the back.
For the bandage of the hind leg you proceed parallel. Make sure that the distance between the layers is slightly larger. The length of the bandage must reach from the hind tarsal joint (also: tarsal joint or hock joint) to the head of the fetlock and back again.
It is difficult when putting on the bandage to maintain the correct distance and find the appropriate firmness. If it doesn’t work perfectly the first time: Don’t despair!
No master has ever fallen from the sky. Putting on a bandage is a matter of practice and will become easier over time. Especially for the first attempts it is worth asking an experienced rider for help. With a helping hand, bandaging is much easier.
Use a bandaging pad
Bandaging pads prevent more elastic bandages from being too tight on the horse’s legs. You will also need a pad if your horse has very sensitive legs or is injured. When bandaging with a pad, it is important that you place the pad smoothly and tightly on the horse’s leg. In this way you also avoid pressure points. The opening points to the back. Many underpads have a Velcro fastener, which means that you do not have to fix them awkwardly during bandaging. The actual bandaging is then done in the same way as bandaging without a pad.
Bandages are one of those items in equestrian sports that should only be used during the time they are really needed. This means:
After riding, free your horse directly from the bandages wrapped around his legs. This way you will prevent your horse’s legs from overheating. Also, there is always a risk that a small stone may have gotten under the bandage, causing pressure and friction problems.
Used bandages should be cleaned and stored carefully. If you have invested in high-quality material, you can use the bandages for several years without any problems. You can clean them in the washing machine at a temperature of 30 degrees. Washed bandages should be dried smoothly on a line and then rolled up until the next use.
If your horse needs special care or treatment of its legs after training, you can relieve the physical strain of training with soothing pastes and ointments from the stable pharmacy. Natural ingredients can cool, relax and regenerate. What else you should keep handy in the stable pharmacy, you can read in our blog “Stable pharmacy for the horse – These 10 remedies should not be missing!”.
Gaiters as an alternative to bandages
Since bandages are not easy to handle, many horse owners use gaiters as an alternative. These can also be a good choice, especially for beginners. In addition, the impact protection is high, for example when jumping, and putting on and taking off the gaiters is much faster than bandaging. They also absorb less liquid when it rains, for example.
If you want to use gaiters, you have to make sure that they fit properly, just like with bandages. If they don’t fit, they can chafe and become very uncomfortable for your horse. Like bandages, gaiters can also interfere with blood and lymph flow in the legs.
In general, both gaiters and bandages have their advantages and disadvantages. You’ll have to decide which of the two you want to put on your horse for each situation.
Are you looking for articles about bandaging your horse? We would be pleased if you visit the leg protection category in our store. Here you will find everything about bandages and boots.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
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