Kate Chadderton is an Australian native who operates a competition and training business in Maryland. She recently began offering weekly tips and advice, and we're pleased that she's graciously allowed us to share them here on EN. Keep an eye out for a new tip each week from Kate!
No, I don’t mean rap battling with 2 Chains on a Saturday night. I’m talking about protecting your prized possession’s most breakable body part: his legs.
In a 24 hour period there is an almost innumerable number of ways your horse can jeopardize their eventing career. He can kick himself on the trailer, your half pass could be so exuberant and have so much cross over that he nicks his tendon, he could cut himself on the way from the barn to the indoor spiking at a butterfly, he could use his stall as a jungle gym and cut himself, he could extend his trot so hard he strains a tendon, the list goes on and on.
Wrapping your horse correctly can help to prevent any one of these ghastly scenarios.
There are two types of wraps I use on a daily basis:
I use wraps while schooling for two reasons: to protect against bumps and scrapes, and to provide support for the tendons and ligaments. For most horses your regular polo does the job effectively. But for horses in a high level of work, for example Civil Liberty, I use elasticized wraps and underneath we use padding.
These provide support for your higher level movements and more intense work. It’s very important when wrapping to do so correctly as incorrectly wrapping creates as many problems as they prevent. I teach my girls to wrap firmly but not tight.
You should always wrap the tendon in (e.g. left legs are counter clockwise and right legs clockwise) and start from just under the knee progressing down to half way along the fetlock and back up to just below the knee. Each rotation should progress one third of the width of the bandage and tightening should be done along the cannon bone as opposed to the back of the tendon.
Another thing I’m fanatical about is that the wraps must come off immediately after schooling to allow the tendons to cool. Done correctly schooling wraps will help to save you some serious heartache.
I use standing wraps for several different purposes, one being trailering, I find them useful in offering protection and support. I will also use them at night time on horses in three-day event preparation to help support and protect their legs.
Very fit horses can do very weird things in there stalls and I like to be prepared! For example, I had a horse who was prone to weaving who, in his tall prior to cross country, clipped himself with an opposing shoe. It was very minor injury but enough to prevent him from competing that day.
Standing wraps can be used for a multitude of injuries, to prevent excessive swelling which in turn put pressure on tendons and ligaments. I am also forever poulticing my horses after cross country, a hard jump session or a gallop, so I use the standing wraps on top of the poultice.
As with schooling wraps it is imperative that you wrap correctly. The same rules apply to standing wraps as with working wraps: you start from the top and go down and back up, etc. You do however want to make sure you are using thick, seamless padding underneath your standing wraps.
I highly recommend getting practical experience from someone well known for their wrapping skills. Wrapping correctly could mean the difference between that show you’ve been eyeing up or a couple of months hand walking!