BANDAGING YOUR HORSE - Do's and Don't s of wrapping

The art of bandaging is a much underestimated skill which if done incorrectly and carelessly can produce added problems and swellings for your horse.
Bandaging is not only used as a veterinary aid but also in exercising, competition and travelling - therefore it is very important you learn how to apply them correctly. 
Reasons to Bandage.


To provide support, for tendons and ligaments during strenuous work schedules.

To protect limbs from concussion and impact.

To prevent or reduce swellings during stabling, after injury or exercise.

To protect wounds from outside contamination and shield any medications applied.

There are a number of wonderful bandaging products available on the market that all have specific qualities and specialised fabrics for their desired purpose. Always be sure to use the correct type for the use intended, if in doubt seek advice.

The basic rules are as follow:-
1. Always ensure the leg, padding (if using) and the bandage are clean and dry.
Any dirt, bedding or dust can invade the skin during the spell it is covered and cause an irritation or swelling.
Appling the wrong sort of bandage to a wet leg may mean that when it dries the bandage contracts and may inhibit blood pressure around the leg area.
bandaging diagram
2. Make sure any padding you use is totally flat and wrinkle free when presented on the leg.
Any slight ripple or bump can encourage increased pressure to that particular point, resulting in a localised swelling.

3. Begin bandaging on the inside of the cannon bone and unravel in a clock wise motion. Never start on a joint or tendon.
The beginning of any bandage is an added pressure point and if started on a joint with constant movement it will become loose quicker.

4. Maintain consistent pressure when applying not too tight and not to slack.
Differences in pressure will again compromise the blood flow and a loose bandage does no good whatsoever and may come off completely.
5. Bandage in a lateral yet gentle spiral pattern keeping the distance between each turn equal all the way up and down and up again trying to finish towards the top.
This will help with by keeping consistence pressure to the area and reducing the likelihood of it becoming undone.

NOTE: This image clearly shows how not to apply. The angle of the bandage is to acute resulting in ripples and uneven pressure.

well bandaged

The picture on the left shows a  bandage that has been applied correctly.
It is tidy, equidistant rounds, supporting the fetlock joint and tied off smoothy just below the knee

6. Re- bandage your horse everyday unless otherwise instructed by your vet.
Minimises the chance of circulatory problems and the area can be thoroughly checked for any foreign bodies or new swellings.

7. Machine wash the bandages frequently or if disposable do not use time after time.

Disposable wraps are never as tight and wrinkle free after the first use. Washing your fabric bandages is essential to ridding them of any contaminates left over from medications or debris acquired in the initial use. 

8. Always be aware of a horse's quickness. Do not sit on the ground or place your self in a vulnerable position when applying a bandage to a front or hind leg.
A horse can be startled by any number of things and if you are in the wrong place you may get knocked over or even kicked. It is often advisable to have a third party to hold the horse whilst you apply the bandage.

9. When treating an injury always apply the  recommended dressing material in the correct order.
The use of the wrong application to a wound may inhibit repair or even irritate the wound further, seek professional advice.

10. When only one leg is under treatment always support the other leg with a bandage.

If you are bandaging and injury to one leg, the horse will undoubtedly stand heavier on the other limb so apply a soft padding and bandage with the same consistency to support this limb.