How Do I Choose the Best Horse Bandages?

Amy Hunter
Amy Hunter
The best horse bandages depend on their intended use.
The best horse bandages depend on their intended use.

To choose the best horse bandages, decide the reason for bandaging your horse's legs. If the bandages are for protection while riding, chose exercise or polo wraps. For support or to keep medication on the legs while in the stall, use stable or standing bandages. Regardless of which type of horse bandages you choose, it is important to learn the proper method of bandaging the leg, because done improperly, the bandage can cause more harm than good.

Choose horse bandages based on use: Are they for protection during riding or for wound treatment?
Choose horse bandages based on use: Are they for protection during riding or for wound treatment?

Both exercise and standing wraps are typically made of flannel, and have limited stretch. Do not use elastic bandage, like the type used to wrap a person's ankle, on the horse's legs. Also, do not use the adhesive bandaging tapes used to bandage wounds. Both of these types of bandages have too much stretch in them to safely bandage your horse's legs. They can tighten, shift, or constrict, causing permanent damage to the tendons in the lower leg.

Do not use elastic or adhesive bandages on a horse.
Do not use elastic or adhesive bandages on a horse.

The end of the horse bandages will have some sort of closure so that you can secure the bandage when you are done wrapping. Some bandages are secured with string ties, however, more often the bandages are secured with fabric hook and loop tape. The hook and loop tape is a better choice, because it fastens flat, while the string ties can create a bump where you tie them, putting pressure on the tendon.

Standing wraps use a pillow wrap under the bandage wrap for cushioning and additional support. Choose a pillow wrap that goes smoothly around your horse's leg, and does not extend below the hairline of the hoof when in use. This will keep your horse from catching the end of the wrap while stepping, which could pull the wrap loose. This poses safety concerns as standing wraps are most often used while your horse is unattended in his stall.

To wrap an exercise or polo wrap, start just below the knee, at the top of the cannon bone, working your way down to the fetlock, or ankle. Wrap under the back of the ankle and then move back up the leg, overlapping the area you have already wrapped. Fasten the fabric hook and loop closure at the end of the bandage. You may want to secure the closure with a piece of electrical tape so the horse bandages do not come loose while riding.

For standing horse bandages, place the pillow wrap around the leg, with the top edge slightly above the knee. Slide the wrap down the legs, so the top edge is just below the knee. This smooths the hairs down in the direction they grow, preventing irritation. Hold the pillow wrap in place with one hand and start wrapping with the flannel bandage at the middle of the leg, working your way down. Move around the fetlock once, and then start back up the leg. Once you get to the top of the pillow blanket, work your way back down, ending at the point where you started.

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Discussion Comments

bear78

@literally45-- I use polo wraps for my horses and it has always worked well for them. It keeps the wound clean and protects against water and mud. It also keeps the legs warm, which can be beneficial in some types of injuries. The best part about polo wraps is that they are really easy to wash and can be used an infinite number of times.

literally45
@discographer-- I don't want to sound like I'm advertising for the company so I won't mention the brand. But there is a self-stick stretch bandage that has been made specifically for horses and other animals.

It's thin and wraps around the horses hoof or leg easily. You don't need tape or anything else to attach it because the bandage sticks to itself. It's very durable and will stay on. You can use it over dressing to keep the dressing in place and you can also use it on the horse's leg for support or compression.

Unfortunately polo wraps don't hold up too well, especially when the horse is active. The same goes for other types of wraps.

discographer

What is the best type of bandage to use on a horse's hooves? My horse has an abscess on a hoof and I need to keep the hoof protected so that the abscess heals without getting irritated or infected. Unfortunately the bandages we typically use for animal injuries on the farm don't do much good. They come right off and the abscess is exposed.

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    • The best horse bandages depend on their intended use.
      By: Eric Isselée
      The best horse bandages depend on their intended use.
    • Choose horse bandages based on use: Are they for protection during riding or for wound treatment?
      By: Justin 767
      Choose horse bandages based on use: Are they for protection during riding or for wound treatment?
    • Do not use elastic or adhesive bandages on a horse.
      By: chelle129
      Do not use elastic or adhesive bandages on a horse.