As horse owners, we work hard to ensure our horses are healthy, happy, and safe. When it comes to preventing injuries we sometimes wish we can wrapping our horses in bubble wrap, but that isn’t a realistic option. What we can do is utilize different types of horse boots and bandages to give the best leg protection for horses. This helpful guide will explain some of the most common types of horse bandages, boots, and wraps, so you can learn when and how to use them on your horse properly.

What are the Different Types of Leg Wraps for Horses?

There are many different types of leg wraps for horses, including polo wraps, standing wraps, shipping wraps, and more. The variety of horse bandages and leg wraps have many uses for horses. They can offer protection during exercise, keeping your horse safe from cuts, scrapes, bruising, splints, and even help prevent soft tissue injuries to tendons and ligaments.

Standing Wraps

Standing Wraps

Standing wraps are typically used while your horse is stabled to help prevent stocking up, which is when fluid can be retained in the legs, whether from lack of movement, poor circulation, or an injury. They can also be used to keep liniment, sweat wraps, poultices, or wound dressings in place. Standing bandages are usually made from a knit fabric and used overtop of quilted or fleece no-bow wraps to hold them in place.

Polo Wraps

Polo Wraps

Polo wraps are typically used during exercise to protect your horse’s legs from cuts, scrapes, or bruises. Polo wraps are popular in dressage, polo, and with riders that like being able to easily wash their wraps every day and not use heavier boots. Polo wraps are usually made from a soft, stretchy, fleece material. However, you can now find more breathable, moisture-wicking polo wraps on the market these days. Oftentimes you will find polo wraps in a variety of fun colors that will help you show off your personality or style.

No-Bow Leg Wraps

No-Bow Wraps

No-bow leg wraps are used underneath standing wraps and are popular among horse owners and trainers for their convenience and added safety in preventing wraps from being applied too tightly or unevenly. Many no-bow leg wraps are made from polar fleece and foam, easily molding to a horse’s leg while still being supportive. You can find No-bow wraps with therapeutic properties such as ceramic fibers woven into the fabric on the market today.

Quilted Leg Wraps / Shipping Wraps

Quilted Leg Wraps

Quilted leg wraps, or commonly called ‘cotton wraps’, ‘flannel wraps’, or ‘shipping wraps’, are designed to be used under bandages, standing wraps, or stable wraps to distribute pressure across your horse’s entire leg. They are great for horses traveling to give them plenty of protection over their legs from bumping into each other, kicking, impact during sudden stops if they lose their balance, while also reducing stocking-up from standing in one spot on a trailer for long periods. They also work well for covering wounds or injuries as they can easily be washed to ensure you have a clean bandage with every bandage change. Quilted Leg Wraps are made with an inner layer of foam or padding between the layers of the quilting.

When using quilted wraps as ‘shipping wraps’, you use them just the same only using a taller size that will cover a bit more of your horse’s leg than when used as a standing wrap (which should end just below the fetlock). Shipping wraps should fit from below the knee to the hairline just above your horse’s hoof, giving them coverage on all the sensitive areas during trailering.

Adhesive Vet Wrap

Adhesive Vet Wraps

Adhesive Vet Wrap, or commonly called flex bandage or adhesive wrap, has numerous uses from wrapping hooves when your horse has an abscess or stone bruise, to wrapping over cotton or bandage materials to cover a wound. Vet wrap easily wraps around a horse’s leg or hoof, conforming to the shape of the area, while staying snug yet maintaining stretch to stay flexible. The self-adhering material sticks to itself, eliminating the need for Velcro or pins. Always keep vet wrap handy in your horse first aid kit! See a full horse first aid kit list here.

What are the Different Types of Horse Boots?

There are many different types of horse boots on the market today, including splint boots, sport boots, hock boots, bell boots, and more. Horse boots are a quick and convenient way to protect your horse’s legs during exercise and training, without the need for wrapping. Some horse owners don’t feel comfortable wrapping their horse’s legs, often ride in wet or muddy conditions where a wrap could sag, or they just like having the extra durability and impact protection that a horse boot offers. Learn more about the different types of horse boots and their uses in providing the best leg protection for your horse with this horse boot breakdown.

Splint Boots

Splint Boots

Splint boots, sometimes called ‘brushing boots’, cover the inside of a horse’s leg, protecting them from injuring the delicate splint bones from interfering. When your horse injures their splint bone or “pops a splint”, it can cause lameness or required time off to heal. These boots are easy to put on, clean, and can be used for all types of disciplines.

Sport Boots

Sport Boots

Sport boots are very popular among Western disciplines, trail riders, and dressage riders as they cover the inside splint area, front, back, and fetlocks of a horse’s legs. These are a nice all-around protective boot. Some boots, such as ‘sports medicine boots’ which are made from neoprene, can get a bit hot so they are best used for shorter periods of time such as lunging or riding, and not for turnout. There are sport boots with fleece lining that are popular for turnout, riding, and lunging work as they wick moisture and heat away from the legs with plenty of coverage.

Open Front Boots

Open Front Boots

Open Front Boots, designed for jumping, allow your horse to have protection from impact on the inside and back of their legs while still feeling if they hit a rail on their shins. Many trainers prefer this style of boot for jumping so that the horse can feel if they knock a fence down, hopefully picking their feet up a bit tighter the next time they jump.

Horse Ankle Boots

Ankle Boots

Horse Ankle Boots are made for you horse’s hind legs and are meant to protect the back and insides of the horse’s hind ankles, which is common with horses that interfere behind or travel close. Popular in jumping and eventing as horses tend to tuck their legs uptight when going over a fence and can get rubs or bruising.

Hock Boots

Hock Boots

Hock Boots are usually used while stabled as a therapeutic option for arthritis, swelling, and soreness. There are even hock boots with ceramic therapy, cold therapy, or copper therapy, designed to reduce inflammation and stiffness. Hock Protector boots are usually lined with fleece and can be worn in the stall to prevent hock-sores from laying down.

Knee Boots

Knee Boots

Knee Boots for Horses protect the horse’s knees and are popular in disciplines such as reining that involve a lot of cross-over action with the horse’s front legs. There are even ceramic therapy knee wraps to aid in inflammation, arthritis, and swelling.

Skid Boots

Skid Boots

Skid Boots for Horses help protect the fetlocks and pasterns from injuries such as burns, scrapes, or bruising. Skid boots are popular in reining or cutting events, where horses practice sliding. Thick strike pads below the fetlock offer shock absorption during those quick stops, turns, and slides.

Bell Boots

Bell Boots

Bell Boots are often used when your horse tends to overreach with their hind feet hitting their front feet, forge, clip their heels, or easily lose shoes. From pull-on, Velcro, fleece-lined, and no-turn nylon boots, there are numerous options that can work for your preference. You can learn more by reading our blog, What are Bell Boots for Horses.

Hoof Boots

Hoof Boots

Hoof Boots are the ingenious fix as a temporary shoe to protect a sensitive hoof, or to give your horse extra traction and protection if they are barefoot but you plan to ride on rough, rocky, or hard terrain. Hoof boots are a great alternative or temporary replacement to traditional shoes. They even make hoof boots for soaking, which is an easy way to treat bruising or a hoof abscess without needing to force your horse to stand in a bucket.

Shipping Boots

Shipping Boots

Shipping Boots, an alternative to shipping wraps, are commonly used for traveling to protect your horse’s legs. Shipping boots are easy to put on with just a few Velcro tabs and can even provide coverage over the knees and hocks, whereas traditional shipping wraps only cover the lower leg.

It may seem like all these different types of horse boots, horse bandages, and leg wraps can seem a bit overkill, but as many horse owners know if a horse can find a way to hurt themselves, they will! Horse boots and leg wraps just offer that extra layer of protection that can make the difference of instead dealing with an injury, lay-up time, or a vet bill!