Correctly Using Horse Exercise Bandages
It's a good idea to use horse exercise bandages to protect your horse's legs during exercise. They provide excellent support for tendons and ligaments and are particularly useful for horses with strained or weak tendons or after certain leg injuries. Usually, horse exercise bandages are manufactured from a thin stretchy material which requires padding underneath. This reduces the pressure on the horse’s legs.
Putting on horse exercise bandages
It's vital that exercise bandages are applied correctly. If not, they may not do their job and they can even cause significant discomfort to your horse. They could restrict the flow of blood and even damage tissues and tendons. In fact, it's probably safer not to bandage your horse's legs at all rather than bandage them incorrectly. It's important that exercise bandages are applied by an experienced equestrian or at the very least that they're checked after they've been applied. Only one person should apply the bandages as this will ensure that there's even pressure on all four legs.
If your horse will be jumping, then you can secure the bandages with stitches or tape to stop them from becoming undone if they're caught on the fence. Bandages (and legs) should always be dry and clean. Any dirt underneath the material could result in discomfort, irritated skin and even injury. They should be taken off your horse's legs as soon as possible after exercise.
A guide to correct bandaging
- Make sure that the Gamgee/Fibagee is the right size for your horse.
- Wrap the padding around the leg smoothly. Work from the front to the back and finish on the outside.
- Begin bandaging from the very top of the padding, leaving a three-inch tab above the padding. Wrap in the same direction as the padding.
- After the initial turn of the bandage, fold down this tab and then do the second turn over the top to secure the end.
- Continue bandaging down the leg, covering roughly two thirds of the turn of the bandage every time. Be sure to keep the pressure even as you move down the leg and make sure there are no wrinkles in the bandage or the padding underneath.
- Bandage down to the level of the ergot and then return up the leg. Leave an inverted "V" at the front of the fetlock joint where the exercise bandage crosses itself. Maintain the same amount of pressure as you return up the leg.
- Keep the ties flat as you wrap them around your horse's leg. It's important to make sure that they're not any tighter than the bandage. Use a reef knot to secure the ties on the outside the leg. Never secure them on the bone on the front of the leg or the tendon at the back.
- Fold the top half of the bandage down in order to cover the knot. If your horse is competing, it's a good idea to secure the bandage with a few strips of tape. Make sure you don't pull the tape too tightly as this may damage the tendon.
- You can achieve greater security by sewing the bandage in place.