Exercise Bandages


Hi there.I was just wondering what exactly are exercise bandages used for?any advice will be appreciated thanx


What a super question. Exercise bandages are made from an elastic, stretchy type fabric and are typically applied from below the knee to the fetlock.

Some form of padding should ALWAYS be used under the bandages, as incorrectly bandaged legs become damaged and more harm is caused than the good the bandage was trying to do in the first place. They should only be fitted by experienced individuals and only with a particular goal in mind. Unfortunately it is true that bandages can sometimes become quite the fashion and many inexperienced riders apply them because they want to look good or fit in. Often these horses are bandaged incorrectly and very often without any padding underneath which causes injury to the horse. Bandages can not only be fitted too tightly, but can also be fitted too loosely by the novice rider, causing it to unravel as the horse is worked. A shocking example was once encountered by an American coach, who was called into the arena by a client to check that her horse’s bandages were tight enough. Upon enquiry as to why the horse was being bandaged, the rider replied, “he is a little sore today and I want to work him a little bit, so the bandages will keep his legs supported while I do so…” He noticed that there was no padding underneath the bandage, so immediately began to remove them. Upon removing the bandages, it was discovered that the horse had two very bad bowed tendons underneath… Ever heard of a ‘bandage bow’? He wasn’t sure what was worse – the fact that the bandages had caused such damage to the tendons, or the fact that his client was about to work a lame horse!

There is great debate on whether a boot or bandage actually offers some form of ‘support’ to the legs, although studies seem to show that in order to have any kind of support function, the bandage or boot would have to be fitted so tightly and restrictively that blood flow and movement would be severely impeded!

Exercise bandages have been very useful as a means of offering extra protection to the lower limbs. Examples of this include the schooling or lungeing of young horses that are not balanced yet, and often strike themselves with their legs, causing injury. Other situations where extra support may be required are in sports where extra protection of the lower limbs is needed, such as eventing (fixed jumps do not fall, so a hard knock can cause injury) and polo/polocrosse (high speeds and the risk of injury are greater than other disciplines).

My suggestion would be that if you are looking to bandage your horse, be sure you know how to do so correctly and that you are doing it for the correct reason. In many cases boots are a safer option and they do the job of protecting the limbs quite well enough on the average horse.

1 comment:

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