Horses can injure themselves quite easily, oftentimes in such simple ways, it can cause horse owners to question how they have survived in the wild for as long as they have! Knowing how to wrap a standing wrap bandage on your horse’s legs can come in handy for many different situations. From preventing swelling or inflammation, covering a wound, as a brace with liniments or poultice, or for extra protection while your horse is in the stall or during trailering.

Knowing how to wrap a standing bandage properly is very important. By improperly wrapping a horse’s leg, such as being too tight or in the wrong direction, you can cause significant and even permanent damage to the tendons and ligaments in a horse’s lower leg. Standing Wraps usually consist of using a quilted fabric or padded fleece leg wrap covered with a standing wrap bandages, wrapped over the top of the thick, padded quilt, to hold the bandage in place and keep it nice and tight. Standing wraps also come in styles called “No-Bow Leg Wraps” that have a thick, almost sponge-like feel to them. These not only help prevent bowing tendons if a wrap slips or gets a little tight in one area but can help keep legs cooler by wicking away moisture.

You should always learn how to wrap a standing wrap properly to prevent wrapping a horse’s leg wrap too tightly or incorrectly which can lead to the wraps falling down, twisting, and being uneven, resulting in injuries to your horse and its tendons. Practice these steps often until you are a horse-wrapping pro!

How to Apply a Standing Bandage

Step 1:
Holding your inner wrap (such as a traditional standing wrap quilt, pillow wrap, or no-bow wrap) place the bulky part of your rolled bandage wrap facing away from the horse’s leg, holding the end of the wrap up against the front of the cannon bone. (*The top should sit just below their knee with the bottom hitting between the bottom of their fetlock and the top of the hoof. You want to make sure you are using the correct size standing wrap so that it is not too low where the horse could step on it.)

Step 2:
Holding the bandage against the front of the cannon bone, have the very end sitting centered on the inside of the leg. Begin wrapping the quilted wrap counter-clockwise, with even pressure, as you wrap it multiple times around the leg. Always start your wrap from the inside, wrapping front to back.

Step 3:
To make sure that your wrap is snug, you should always give it a gentle pull each time you go from the cannon bone back towards the tendons. Never pull it tight from the tendons towards the front of the leg! Make sure your wrap is smooth without any creases, wrinkles, or folded areas and the top and bottom of the wrap are equally aligned overtop of each other.

Step 4:
Using the outer wrap (often called a standing bandage or track wrap), which is the thin knit bandage with hook-and-loop closures on one end, start in the center or one-quarter of the way down the leg with the tail tucked into the open edge of your bottom layer pillow wrap by a few inches. Keeping everything smooth, wrap with the bulky part of the wrap facing away from the horse, from front to back just like you did the first layer. Wrap from inside to outside, front to back in a counter-clockwise direction, never pulling on the back of the leg where the tendons are.

Step 5:
This part takes the most practice as you learn how to properly space out each rotation of the outer layer evenly so that the bandage covers from the center, down to the bottom, and back up with it ending at the very top where you will secure the wrap with hook-and-loop closure or safety pins. You want the length of the standing bandage you use to be suited to the size horse you are wrapping. If your bandages come up short, you can start wrapping them a bit lower down the horse’s leg. If you have a lot of excess bandage by the end, you can start wrapping higher up the horse's leg, going down and back up to finish.

Step 6:
You should have this outer layer be tight enough that the bandage feels snug so it won’t slide down or twist, without having wrinkles or seeing the shape of your horse’s leg appearing. That is a sign that your wrap is too tight! Most horse owners like having about ¼” to ½” of the underlayer bandage still showing at the very top and very bottom of the wrap when you are all finished. However, if you have a horse that likes to chew on its wraps, covering any of the underlayers to help keep your horse from pulling the quilt up or down can reduce the chance of wrinkles or creases happening.

What Are Horse Standing Wraps Used For

What Are Standing Wraps Used For?

In general, horse standing wraps reduce swelling, inflammation, soreness, or bruising, and can prevent stocking up and fatigue when a horse is stabled for long periods of time or even during trailering. There are a few different ways you can wrap a horse’s legs with a standing wrap depending on the ailment you are trying to treat or prevent:

Regular Standing Wrap

Simply wrapping with only the bandages on dry legs. This is a great option for trailering and preventing a horse from stocking up while in the stall or standing for long periods of time.

Standing Wrap with Liniment

Applying a horse liniment, rubbing alcohol, or witch hazel to your horse’s legs in a brisk, downward motion, until well-absorbed, then covering with a regular standing wrap can enhance your wrap as a brace or supportive wrap. This can help increase blood flow, soothe swelling or soreness, and reduce fatigue and inflammation. Be sure to check the label on any liniment products you use as some are not designed to be used in conjunction with bandages.

Standing Wrap with Poultice

First add a thick layer of poultice clays or Epsom salt poultice directly onto the legs, followed by a layer of damp poultice paper to keep your wraps cleaner but also prolong the effects of the clays so they don’t dry out too quickly. Use your regular standing wrap as a final layer. This method can draw out bruising and swelling to cool down and tighten the legs.

Standing Wrap as a Sweat Wrap

If your horse has excessive swelling from conditions like cellulitis or they are really stocked up, you can create a sweat wrap by applying products like a poultice, DMSO (dimethylsulfoxide), Nitrofurazone ointment, or mineral oil, then covering the product with lightweight household plastic wrap, like Saran wrap, to hold the heat in, finishing off the sweat wrap with your regular standing wrap on top. This type of wrap is not suggested for open wounds or new injuries and should not be left on for longer than 12 hours at a time.

How Long Can You Leave Standing Wraps On?

Standing wraps should typically be taken off or at least removed and re-wrapped no longer than every 12 hours. Standing wraps can shift, wrinkle, fall down, or become too damp from sweat or products like a poultice, liniments, or sweat wraps. You should always start with clean, dry, leg quilts, “No-Bow Leg Wraps”, and standing bandage wraps.

What Happens If You Wrap a Leg Too Tight?

If you wrap a horse’s leg wrap too tightly, or in the wrong direction which causes the wrap to pull on the tendons at the rear of the leg, you can bow a horse’s tendon and cause significant injuries to the sensitive tendons and ligaments on their leg.

You are well on your way to becoming a seasoned leg-wrapper! Remember, practice makes perfect, and learning how to correctly wrap a standing wrap bandage for your horse’s legs is a skill you may find yourself using more often than you think if you spend any amount of time around horses!

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