Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Apply Polo Wrap For Exercising Horse

Unlike a standing wrap, which protects a horse at rest, a polo wrap is placed on a horse for a protective role during exercise.

There is debate about the effect polo wraps have on the mechanics of the limb in motion. Generally, it is thought that there is little protective effect for tendon strain. They do, however, protect the tendon area from direct traumatic damage from another limb or object.

It is important that polo wraps be placed correctly. Incorrect placement of a polo wrap can cause serious injury to vital parts of the limb, especially the flexor tendons.

Supplies Needed

Procedure

Always have contact with and some control over your horse before starting this procedure. Groom and remove any debris on the limb before applying the wrap.

Start with a properly rolled polo wrap. To wrap a polo properly, start with the velcro end. Fasten the velcro to itself and roll that into the center of the roll and evenly complete the roll.

Begin in the upper third of the cannon area. There is debate about which direction to wrap a limb. I was taught to wrap "tendons in" meaning that I wrap counterclockwise on left limbs and clockwise on right limbs. This allows me to more easily control my stretch across the front of the limb.

The key is that tightening takes place over the front of the limb, not over the delicate flexor tendons in the back of the limb.

The first wrap secures the end in place, then roll downward to the base of the fetlock joint. Here, make two wraps in a figure eight pattern to conform better to the fetlock. Then start wrapping back up, overlapping by 1/2 width and maintaining similar tension wrap to wrap. End at the base of the carpus and attach the velcro.

Tips for safety & Success

Overlap each turn by approximately 1/2 the wrap width. Lay the wrap as flat as possible. Avoid any creases or wrinkles. Maintain the most even tension you can.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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