Protection of a horse’s lower legs is important whether you’re training it for competition or just exercising your horse to keep it healthy, and there are many ways you can stabilize a horse’s legs. In addition to various types of boots, you can also use bandages to support the leg, although bandages are usually used only when horses are recuperating from injuries. Bandages also come in many different types, and if you decide you want to use stable bandaging because your horse needs additional help with its recuperation, it is super-easy for you to find the information you need to be successful at it.
Stable bandaging is also called standing bandaging, and it involves bandaging the lower part of a horse’s legs, starting at just below the knee or hock and extending to the bottom of the fetlock joint. This means the fetlock joint, cannon bone, and the ligaments at the lower section of the leg are all well-protected, provided you bandage the leg properly. Although the right way to bandage a horse’s leg isn’t that complicated overall, you still have to follow certain basic rules so that the job is done right, because if the job isn’t done correctly, it can make the recuperation period longer instead of shorter and even make things worse in some instances.
Different Reasons to Choose Stable Bandages
Just like there are many types of boots to protect a horse’s lower leg area, there are also many reasons to choose to bandage the leg. These reasons include:
- To keep an injury clean: injuries have to remain clean to heal properly, and when you use a stable bandage on a horse, the injury stays clean and free of stall dirt and other types of debris. A dirty injury is also more likely to become infected, but a good stable bandage can prevent all of these things from happening and speed up the healing process.
- To use as a base: stable bandages can be used as a “base” for another bandage that is placed higher up on the leg area. If you’re planning to put a bandage on the knee or hock area, a base bandage on the lower part of the leg goes a long way in preventing the swelling from moving down further on the leg.
- When the injury is only on one leg: if a horse has an injury on one leg only, it’s important to use a stable bandage on both legs instead of just the one with the injury. If not, the horse will learn to walk a little lop-sided due to the uneven pressure on each of the legs. Having a bandage on both legs allows the horse to walk more evenly so that it doesn’t wobble or limp while walking.
- To prepare the horse for traveling: while it’s true that you can use shipping bandages to transport your horse from one location to another, regular stable bandages are less time-consuming and simpler to use, which is why so many owners use them instead of the shipping kind.
- To protect a dressing or poultice: when the injury sustained by your horse requires a poultice or dressing of some type, stable bandaging can be applied over the dressing to keep it more secure. This way, the dressing won’t move around or slide up and down its leg as it goes about its daily activities, making it more comfortable for your horse in the end.
- To reduce swelling and inflammation: if a horse spends a lot of time in a stable, fluid can build up in its legs, causing inflammation and swelling, which is uncomfortable to say the least. By applying stable bandages, a lot of that inflammation can be reduced or eliminated quickly.
As you can see, there are numerous reasons to apply bandages to a horse’s lower legs, but there are also some things you should look out for if you intend to place bandages on your horse’s legs.
How to Correctly Apply Bandaging to Your Horse’s Lower Leg Area
As with everything else concerning your horses, you want to make sure that bandaging its legs is always done correctly so that additional problems don’t happen once the bandages are applied. One of the most important steps to stable bandaging is the first step, which is making sure the leg area is both clean and dry. You can clean the leg with warm water and mild soap – baby shampoo is perfect – or even with a little iodine. You should also make sure the leg is completely dry before moving onto the next step.
If your horse has a wound on the leg, which is likely since this is the main reason owners apply bandages in the first place, it is important to take proper care of the wound before you go any further. If it needs a dressing or you need to stop it from oozing, always take care of that first before you start cleaning the leg. If you aren’t sure what to do with the wound, check with your vet so you can get the expert assistance you need to take care of the wound before you go any further.
If you use padding underneath the bandage, make sure it is applied evenly and smoothly, which means no bumps or creases should be present once the padding is applied. If you don’t, it means uneven pressure is going to be felt by the horse, which means localized swelling and discomfort is always a possibility. If you’re applying the padding and you notice any ridges in the fabric, unwrap it and start over again so that you get it perfect in the end.
When you start the bandaging process, the most important tip to remember is never to start on either a tendon or a joint. Instead, start on the inside of the cannon bone and unravel the bandage in a clockwise motion. The reason for this is simple: the very beginning spot where you first start applying the bandage is always an added pressure point. If you start on a tendon or joint, the bandages have a tendency to become looser quickly, whereas starting on the inside of the cannon bone usually means the bandage will stay on tighter for a longer period of time.
As you’re applying the bandages, use consistent pressure and, just like with the padding, the bandages should be smooth and wrinkle-free with every step. Again, any wrinkles in the bandages can cause uncomfortable pressure points once the bandages are applied, which can be very uncomfortable and even painful for the horse. Don’t be hesitant to unwrap the bandages if you need to and reapply them, because they have to be perfectly smooth and even once the job is complete.
If it sounds a little difficult, not to worry because this task is just like anything else – the more you practice it, the better you’ll get at it. It will likely take you a lot of time to do it right the first time, but by the time you’ve gotten a few bandaging sessions under your belt, it will start to be both easier and faster each time.
Tips for Successful Bandaging
Just like anything else, there are tips you can remember to make your bandaging more successful. A few of these tips include the following:
- Always start at the top part of the lower leg area and move down until you get to the bottom of the leg.
- For the best effect, wrap the leg a total of two times.
- Every day, rebandage your horse’s legs to keep fresh bandages on at all times.
- Always wash the bandages regularly, and only use the disposable ones the proper number of times and then throw them away.
Of course, there are a few different ways to bandage a horse’s legs, and you can learn more about them either through your vet or some research on the Internet. The job of bandaging a horse’s legs is both simple and complex – simple because it won’t take you long to learn to do the job right, and complex because it must, in fact, be done right to be successful.
Suggestions When You Want the Best Stable Bandages
As with any other product, stable bandages come in various widths and sizes, but the good news is that most of them are very reasonably priced, which is good considering that you have to apply new bandages to your horse every day for the best results. Below are some of the horse stable bandages that have the best customer reviews.
- Challenger fleece bandages for horses: with an argyle design and available in eight different colors, the bandages are 10’ long by 5” wide, and there are four of them in this set. Made out of brushed pile fleece, they are soft and comfortable yet provide the perfect amount of flexibility for a perfect fit every time, and they are great for lunging, training, shipping, and much more.
- Kavallerie wraps for horses: if you’re looking for stable bandaging made by a company that is known for its high-quality equine products, this is it. The set comes with four bandages total and has a touch-tape closing system for a perfect snug fit in the end. They are both non-slip and breathable, making them super comfortable for all horses to wear.
- LotFancy vet wraps for horses and other animals: this set is perfect if you’ll be needing a lot of bandages for your horse because it contains 10 bandages, each of which is 3” x 5’ in size. They also consist of two rolls each of red, blue, tan, green, and purple, which means you can get bandages that are both efficient and attractive.
- Lux ceramic therapy quick wraps for horses: perfect for rehab, recovery, and even preventative measures, these wraps will reduce inflammation, break down scar tissue, and reduce wind puffs even without applying liniment first. They expand blood vessels and increase circulation for a speedier recovery, and they are cost-effective as well.
- Ovation climate-control bandages: with these bandages, the moisture is whisked away from the skin so the entire area stays drier, and their cushioning material makes for perfect support for your horse’s ligaments and tendons. They let the air flow through them to keep the leg clean and dry, and their top-notch materials offer your horse the ultimate protection every time it wears them.
- Prairie Horse supply 4-inch self-adhesive bandages: available in sets of 6 to 24 packs, these bandages are available in colors such as red, green, blue, purple, and orange, and not only do they need no pins or clips to close them, but they will also never stick to the horse’s hair or skin. The bandages are four inches wide and five yards in length, so each pack offers a lot of applications for your horses.
- Professional Equine Stable Bandage set: this set comes with four bandages that are each 4” wide and 7’ long. They are lightweight, breathable, and stretchable, and they are machine washable as well. Available in teal and many other colors, the bandages are also very reasonably priced at just under $22 for the entire set.
- Tough-1 standing wraps: available in a 5.5” x 9-foot size, they make wrapping your horse’s legs even easier because they keep the legs secure and clean, are made with fine-gauge netting for extra durability and longevity, and come in a variety of colors so that your horses are both recuperating quickly and looking great while the healing is taking place.