I can admit to being a bit obsessive about my horse’s leg care. While Ax doesn’t often have very strenuous workouts, I’d rather play it safe than show up to a warm or puffy leg the next day. In my book, jumping, lessons, horse shows, and hunter paces are all activities that require wrapping and sometimes poulticing afterwards, but with Ax’s current rehab routine based off of the Mystery Lameness of 2017, my urge to wrap has increased significantly.
If I am wrapping, nine times out of ten it is with standing wraps, and the majority of my wrapping is for overnight. This is mostly because Ax doesn’t like being inside alone, and I don’t like the idea of him being turned out in them. I typically do all four, but I go by feel based on what we did during our ride and how his legs feel after. Bless my poor barn owner—she is probably so sick of unwrapping Ax’s legs in the mornings.
Wraps and Bandages
I am super picky about my no bows and have narrowed my must-haves down to two brands—Vac’s and Draper Therapies.
For plain, regular, nothing fancy no bows, I use Vac’s “Jersey No Bow” Wraps on all four. I like them the best, they are soft, they hold up well, and they have horizontal stitching, which is my preference. Apparently these can be a bit hard to find, but I usually just pick them up from a show vendor and they are always under $20.
For something with therapeutic benefits, Draper Therapies No Bows are my go-to. They are fluffy, super easy to toss in the wash, increase oxygen flow to prevent fluid buildup, and are made with Celliant fabric that is FDA-approved for a quicker recovery (among other things), which I love. So far I am pretty impressed with them—they have kept Ax’s legs super happy and tight, and really helped reduce swelling when he nicked his right hind last week.
My standing bandage preference is also Vac’s. I find them to hold up the best, the velcro stays without needing tape, and they come in a bunch of different colors (though I am boring and have black because Ax gets them covered in manure anyway).
I save poulticing for after super strenuous rides and always after horse shows and hunter paces—if there is any chance of inflammation, heat, or swelling, I slap it on in a thick layer and wrap the leg for the night.
Though I haven’t tried them all, my poultice of choice is Uptite. It came recommended to me from a friend and does a good job of keeping his legs cool and tight. After applying it (with gloves!) on his wet leg, I’ll wrap it with a wet piece of Spitfire’s Poultice Paper and put on my normal no bows and bandages. (I make sure to not use my therapeutic no bows with poultice since they are warming and the poultice is intended to cool the leg.) When I get to the barn the next day I will curry the dried poultice off, run a damp rag on his legs to get rid of any leftover dust, and carry on like normal.
Of course all of this has variations depending on the situation, but this is my normal routine for the most part. Tough ride? Wrap. Worried about swelling? Therapeutic wraps. Really tough ride? Poultice. When all else fails? Wrap and poultice.
Because it changes with horse’s needs and workload, what is your horse’s leg care routine?