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Wrapping for Health

The application of bandages to the limbs of a horse is an important skill that any horse enthusiast should master. This obviously requires practice as well as the tutelage of an experienced equestrian. It is important to realize that a bandage that is improperly applied will oftentimes harm the animal.

On the one hand the circulation may be cut off, while on the other hand the tendon may be pulled downward to such an extent as to present an injury.

The goal of an effective wrap is to provide pressure that is equal at each point of the actual wrap, so as to provide a uniform look and feel to the wrapping. While someone else may show you how to apply a wrap, only you can master this skill for yourself, and practice is really the only way to do it safely and adequately. If you practice on your horse when it is not required to wear bandages, both you and the horse will receive the experience you need to deal with the situation when bandages are suddenly required.

Of course, there are different kinds of bandages available and each accomplishes different goals, so it is important that you know what you are trying to accomplish first before beginning the wrapping of the horse’s limbs. Generally speaking, you will either want to medicate the lower limb, support it, or simply protect it from injury or strain.

Open wounds require a thorough cleaning, the application of proper medicines, and then a sterile gauze pad that needs to cover the wound. Once you put the latter into place, you will need to use a dressing that is neither sticky nor adherent in any other way to cover the pad completely. Sheet cotton is preferred, but in a pinch you can also use a pillow wrap that will be kept in place by a bandage. It is best to use thick cotton or pillow wrap underneath simply because it lessens the possibility of your putting too much pressure on the limb. Do not worry about covering either the coronary band or the heel. Some like to also use bandages to apply heat, ice, magnets, and also poultices to the limbs.

Additional uses are indicated when sutures need to be supported and healing is aided by the wrapping of the lower leg. The support function comes into play when a bandage prevents fluid from filling the legs when the animal is temporarily confined to a stall. Another use it for the sake of protection; you can use shipping wraps to help protect the legs from cuts and bruising that may either temporarily force the animal to rest or make it unfit altogether for future athletic endeavors. These kinds of bandages are usually applied from the hock to the ground, covering the coronary band and also shielding the heel itself. Yet if you are unable to consistently monitor to the bandaging, it is better to forego this practice altogether, since bandages that are not supervised can create more problems than provide solutions.

Read the next horse health tips article on Feeding Older Horses.
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