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Leg Wraps-Why do we do it?

I have had horses for the last 25+yrs and in that time, I have seen people wrapping horses legs to ride them, sports boots have become quite popular, as well as bell boots, etc. During these years, I’ve only used these items on my horses if they had injuries, and have spoken to trainers and others about why they do or don’t.

My track trainer, I agree with him-less is more! If his horses don’t need their legs wrapped, pouticed, etc, he leaves them alone!  ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ type of attitude. Some trainers wrap every leg, everyday. When you ask them why, most times, it’s because everyone else does it.

Asking riders about wrapping legs, most say it’s for support-well, why do they need support? If you’re wrapping tight enough to support the leg, tendons, ligaments, etc…then you are not allowing them to build while working them-trying to ‘leg them up’. So basically, defeating the purpose of the riding.

If the horse needs ‘support’ because of an injury, then perhaps you shouldn’t be riding the horse until the injury is healed.  I have a horse, who had a bone chip in her leg which finally fused after a couple months-so yes I used the support boots on her, but I had a reason for it! If you have no reason, then don’t use them.

The sports boots, unless they are made specially to dissipate the heat, or are made of ceramic fiber, will heat the leg, and possibly CAUSE the horse to bow a tendon! Heat is not a friend to the horses leg, you want a cold leg.

Polos, unless you know how to wrap, these are even worse to use than the sports boots! If you do not know how to wrap correctly, you can bow a tendon by wrapping wrong. They also definitely heat the leg up-so unless there’s a really good reason that you have, then wrapping/riding with polos is not a good idea.

The only good reason I can think of to use the sports boots, is to support the horses legs during  a competition-for 5min or less. Many barrel racers, reiners, etc…go to other arenas to show, and some footing is different than where they’re used to riding-and can be cause for concern. In this instance, I would agree with sports boots for support-just during the ride, then take them off an cold hose the leg.

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