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Understanding the Standing Bandage

Often used in conjunctions with liniments and other medications, standing bandages are often used overnight after a horse has undergone severe exercise or competition. Yet because of the ability to cause severe damage to the animal if the bandage is applied improperly, it is essential that you understand the standing bandage before you apply it. Here are some step by step instructions that will help you to get started. Keep in mind that no set of instructions can make up for the guidance of an experienced tutor in this area!

You will need an outer wrap, bandage pins, and also leg cotton, all of which are available for purchase at your local equestrian shop. The cotton should be thick to add as padding. Do not reuse cotton that has become worn, has lumps or holes, and is generally in bad repair as this will do more damage. For a properly applied cotton wrap, you will need to take two sheets of cotton and put them one top of the other, where the very perimeter of the upper sheet lines up with the center crease of the lower sheet. Then you will want to use a third sheet that you apply to the top, folding over the flaps. Now go ahead and roll up this package.

For an outer wrap you will want to use flannel simply because it will not allow you to pull it too tight. Although easy to use, stretch bandages are bad since they do more damage than good to your horse’s limbs. Bandage pins are akin to diaper pins, and each bandage will require two pins.

Now that you have accumulated the necessary materials, here is how you will want to apply the bandage:

1. Restrain the animal and sit next to the limb that you will bandage.

2. Clean the affected limb and brush the hair so that it is lying down.

3. Next you will want to roll up the cotton and flannel. Obviously, this will help you to work easier when applying them, but when rolling them for use be sure to put on the inside what you will want to have on the outside later on. By way of a hint, the shaggy side of the flannel should be on the outside when you put on the bandage.

4. When you reuse a bandage for an animal that is treated nightly, keep track of which bandage goes on which limb, since the material will begin to conform. Yet if the cotton is soiled or simply becomes flattened, you will need to replace it.

5. Position the cotton so that the top reaches just below the knee and the bottom just below the pastern. Begin unrolling your cotton from the inside of the leg, and keep it close to the limb as you are working. The flannel on the other hand should be placed in between the pastern and knew, permitting you to wrap once around the leg going in the same direction as the cotton. To assist you in maintaining the cotton’s position, you might want to consider tucking an edge of the flannel underneath the cotton.

6. Once you wrapped once around the limb and the cotton looks anchored, work down the leg rather than upward. Flannel should be applied over half of the previous go around to make sure that no line of tension is being formed.

7. Once you reach the bottom edge of the cotton, you want to make sure that the flannel and the cotton line up. Then you will be able to once again work upward the same limb. As you line up the flannel with the cotton, make sure that you do not leave too much hanging loose since the animal might decide to chew on it.

8. Now you are ready to place a pin on the flannel on the outside of the leg in front of the tendon since the animal will not be able to remove it with its teeth. The pointy edge should be facing down and you will need to ensure that you stick through enough material that it will not loosen up.

9. Now feel your handiwork and make certain that the bandage is firm but not so tight as to cut off the circulation. Similarly, you want to make sure that it is not so lose that it will shift on the limb as the horse moves at night. If you can fit two fingers underneath the bandage right under the pastern, and if you can fit only one finger underneath the bandage on the top, you have done a good job.

For those horses that simply cannot resist the urge to chew on their bandages, a popular remedy is soap as well as red pepper mixed with water. This will prevent the animal from taking off the bandage or getting hurt with the pin. If your animal has never been bandaged before, it might panic because of the tight feeling around its legs, and you may need to calm it down by walking it around gently.

Read the next horse health tips article on Wrap a Horse's Leg.
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