Horse bandages – “Yes or No ?”
Actually I don’t like to say “no” to things in general, because then you lose one option in advance.
So instead let’s see what the effect of bandages on tissue is, it doesn’t matter human or horse. Even if it’s wrapped really softly, a bandage interferes on a normal blood flow (oxygen and nutrients supply of tissue), mobility of the joint, tendons, ligaments or even some muscles. In warm weather bandages could overheat tissue. Moreover, the horse has in his hairy, lower part of the pastern few tactile hairs, which give him information about his legs coordination and terrain under him. So if we bandage them or trim (cut) them, we deprive him of this information. So I don’t really like these properties of bandages, but there are some exceptions when I use them anyway.
When I do use bandages:
- When I’d like to present a horse on a video, especially if he has only one or three white legs, then I use white bandages.
- When I transport a horse on a trailer, I can use a bandage on his tailbase, to prevent his hair to be damaged during the trip (instead of using a tail protector).
- When a horse hurts his leg and I have to apply e.g. a tendon creme, or the purpose is to keep warm that part of the leg. Vets do raccomend to put a bandage with padding also to prevent excessive swelling of the leg under a wound.
- For kids and ponies, when teaching the gates or just for playing or having fun.
- For show events with horses, then I like to combine colours of bandages, undersaddles and even rider’s clothing.
I don’t use bandages for everyday training. When I do jumping or pole gymnastics I sometimes use leg protectors or boots, usually with horses that hurt themselves easily or young ones that are not yet balanced or coordinated well enough. And I never wrap them tight.
This is what my horses and I think about bandages and bandaging horse’s legs.