We all know SmartPak as the go-to place for all things equestrian shopping, but they do more than just give us the wonder of our supplements in über-convenient packages and have every horse item we could possibly want. They also hold seminars and informational sessions for fellow equestrians to learn more about their products. Last month while I was home for winter break I went to one of these sessions that focused on leg wrapping and joints.
The seminar was held at Boulder Brook Stables in New Hampshire and began with the staff going over the different types of wraps and boots, their uses, and the differences between them. Then the group was taken out to the barn for a demonstration on how to correctly wrap a horse’s leg.
- Polo Wraps – A soft, slightly stretchy fleece wrap that is used for exercise and is wrapped from below the knee, along the cannon bone, to cup the fetlock. These proved minor support to the tendons and ligaments during exercise while the stretch allows for flexibility during movement.
- Standing Wraps – A non-stretch knit bandage wrapped over a thick layer of padding such as a no-bow, pillow wrap, or quilted wrap that extends from below the knee to the fetlock. These have many uses including holding on a wound dressing and reduce swelling or stocking up in a horse on stall rest or after a strenuous workout.
- Shipping Wraps – Much like a standing wrap, these are a non-stretch knit bandage wrapped over a thick layer of padding, but these extend to cover the coronet band and heel bulbs. These are used to protect the horse’s legs during trailering.
- Open Front Boots – A flexible or hard shelled boot that covers only the back and sides of the horse’s legs and straps over the front of the horse’s cannon bone. These are only used on the front legs, and are typically used for jumping. These protect the tendons on the back of the front legs while still encouraging the horse to be careful with his legs over fences as he can feel if he rubs a pole.
- Sport Medicine Boots – These are the boot version of polo wraps, but are usually made of neoprene. These wrap around the horse’s cannon bone with a strap that cups the fetlock and are used for supports and protection during exercise.
During the demonstration, the group was given some tips and tricks about wrapping.
- Velcro always attaches facing the back of the horse.
- Begin wrapping on the inside of the leg towards the top of the cannon bone and wrap counterclockwise on the left or clockwise on the right.
- A wrap should travel down the leg and then back up to velcro at the top of the cannon.
- Pressure should be uniform throughout the wrap.
- Any tension in the wrap should be drawn across the cannon bone, not the tendons, and towards the back of the horse.
- Polo wraps are “ideal” if you create a V in the front of the wrap on the fetlock.
- Stick a finger into the wrap once it is finished to check the tightness. One or two fingers should fit snugly.
Next came joint supplements. Smartpak Barn Consultant Jacqueline started by speaking to the group about the different parts of a joint being:
- the bone itself.
- the joint capsule that surrounds the joint and contains the synovial or joint fluid.
- the articular cartilage on the end of the bones.
She also discussed some of the different things that someone should be looking for in a joint supplement.
- Hyaluronic Acid or HA – An essential component of synovial fluid and articular cartilage.
- Glucosamine – Combats cartilage breakdown and supports new cartilage growth.
- MSM – Builds and repairs cartilage.
- Chondroitin – Encourages HA production and fights cartilage breakdown.
Jackie finished by naming a few of SmartPak’s SmartFlex supplements, raffling off some prizes (sadly, I didn’t win), and taking questions from the group.
Overall, it was a great seminar and I walked out knowing more about joint supplements than I knew before. I went home feeling like I was prepared to choose a supplement for my horse and a few weeks later I signed Ax up for SmartFlex Senior Herb-Free. The goodie bags and raffle prizes were just a plus.
If you find a SmartPak Academy session near you, I definitely recommend attending.