Standing wraps are an excellent tool to have in your horse-care arsenal. They can be used for several reasons, including support of the lower limbs during trailering, wound care on the lower limbs, and overnight support of the tendons and ligaments in the lower limbs after a hard workout.
Maybe you’ve seen other people apply standing wraps, but it seems intimidating to you. There are some important rules to follow when applying standing wraps for maximum effectiveness and safety. Here’s a step-by-step guide to applying standing wraps correctly.
1. First gather your supplies. You’ll need bandage quilts and standing wraps or polo wraps to wrap your quilts with. Generally, you’ll need longer quilts for hind limbs and shorter quilts for fore limbs. These can be found at local feed stores or online.
2. Clean the lower legs thoroughly before applying your wrap. You do not want to wrap over wet or dirty legs, as this can create painful rubs.
3. Roll up your quilts and wraps before you begin. This will make wrapping more efficient so you are not struggling with long amounts of material. To roll up your standing wraps or polo wraps, start by folding the Velcro section on top of itself. This will cause the Velcro to face out when you’re finishing your wrap.
4. Begin by placing the end of your quilt on the inside of the leg. You should be looking at the inside of the rolled up portion of the quilt as you work your way around the leg. It is very important to wrap the left legs counter-clockwise and the right legs clockwise. This creates an even front-to-back pressure on the tendons. One phrase to help remember this technique is “tendons in,” as in pulling the tendons toward the inside of the cannon bone. Hold your quilt in place after it has been completely wrapped around the leg.
5. Start your standing wrap or polo wrap on the inside of the leg, just as you did with the quilt, about halfway down the leg. As you wrap, use a steady, even pressure spiraling down to the base of your quilt, back up to the top, and once more down to about the halfway point. Each turn around the leg should cover about 50% of the wrap’s width. Use your Velcro to secure the wrap. If your wraps are for shipping purposes, longer quilts are more suitable so you create a sling for the fetlock. Otherwise, your wrap should end just above the quilt and the fetlock. The wrap should be smooth from top to bottom, void of any wrinkles or bumps.
Now that you know how to wrap, there are some cardinal rules to follow.
1. If you are wrapping an injury on one leg, wrap the corresponding leg for even support and circulation.
2. Always wrap legs pulling the “tendons in,” and do not pull too tightly or too loosely. A poorly wrapped bandage can most often do more harm than good.
3. Standing wraps are for horses who are, you guessed it, standing. These bandages are meant for stall rest or trailering only.
4. Practice makes perfect. Your wrapping skills will only improve with time and experience. This is a great activity for rainy days when you can’t ride.
Lastly, if you need to apply a bandage but don’t feel confident in your wrapping abilities yet, don’t attempt it. Call your vet for help!