Wrapping legs and using boots on horses is essential to the management of equine athletes. Except for a few cases, wraps are typically used on horses when they are not being worked. Wraps protect the legs, support joints, help control swelling, and keep the legs warm. Boots are typically used for horses in work and function to prevent horses from interfering while in motion.
Types and Uses of Wraps and Boots
Stable Wraps: This is one of the most basic types of wraps every horse owner should be familiar with. Quilted padding secured by cotton or neoprene type material covers the bottom of the knee or hock (depending on the leg) to just above the fetlock. The main use for these wraps is support and keeping swelling down when horses are stalled. These are often used in a time when horses are injured with a chronic stress injury such as a bowed tendon. In this case, the wrap supports the injury at the beginning stages of recovery. The whole recovery can take 8 to 11 months to fully heal, but the first weeks are the most important for stabilizing the injury.
Polo Wraps: Horse polo wraps are one of the few wraps used for exercise. These are traditional wraps that were used by early horsemen and women and still carry an element of prestige today. Nothing is more flashy than a dolled up dressage horse in stark white polos. Today, they are not as commonly used because sport boots are more user-friendly, but a well-done polo wrap still has its advantages. Polo wraps are flexible and are able to conform to the leg. Unlike sport boots, they provide equal coverage around the entire leg and typically cover the fetlock. Polo wraps are a great alternative to sport boots with horses that may be sensitive to rubs or have an injury that needs to be adequately covered from arena dust.
Sport Boots: The different kinds of sport boots are endless. There are splint boots which protect the splint bone. There are open front boots mainly used by showjumpers. These protect the tendons of the horse but allow the horse to feel the rail if they hit it with a front leg. There are all-purpose cross country boots that provide protection all around the leg with an enforced splint area. There are sport boots which are a simplified version of a polo wrap that encases the leg often used in gymkhana events when horses are likely to interfere when running at speed and making sharp turns.
Horse Hock Wraps or Boots: The hock is one of the most important joints in the horse. As animals that can weigh up to 2,200 pounds, the hock must support the weight of the horse when it shifts from the front end to the hind end during performance work. Horse hock wraps are typically used in times of injury to aid in the healing process. Like stable bandages, they can reduce swelling, but are also used to help immobilize the joint.
Horse Knee Boots: In addition to the hock, the next joint most likely to experience injury is the knee. Like horse hock wraps or boots, the knee boot can provide stability and protection. Our Welltex technology can help promotes blood circulation to help with healing injuries.
Wraps and boots have all been designed with the best interest of the horse in mind.