Now that I have to wrap Tess’ legs to support her tendons for a while, I realized that I needed a refresher on how to apply leg wraps.
Since I needed to remind myself how to do this properly, I thought you might, too…
(I originally wrote this in 2010 when I was taking care of Norma Jean, my donk.)
WHY YOU NEED TO KNOW THIS
It never really occurred to me that I should hone my standing wrap skills. But, believe me, I wish I had paid some attention.
The reason I should have bothered to learn this technique is because when the vet asks you to apply a standing wrap, you know it is important. And, when you have no idea what the vet is talking about and your animal is sick and you are beginning to sweat – your learning ability is cut in half and becomes even less formidable as your stress level rises. Thus, it is highly impractical to learn while your horse (or donkey in my case) is upset, hurting, wanting to do anything but this and generally making the whole thing difficult ON TOP OF you not knowing what you are doing.
Welcome to my world. Standing Wraps 101 and my test subject is a foundered, very unhappy and stubborn donkey. Good times.
WHAT IS A STANDING WRAP?
Well, they are different than the polo wraps (fleece) in that these wraps are made of different materials and have two parts. The under wrap is called a ‘quilted wrap’ and it is exactly like it sounds. It can also be medical cotton. This quilted part goes on first.
The over wrap is a stretchy, elastic nylon type of wrap that will stretch and hold much better than the fleece. The inside wraps are usually white and the outside wraps can be any color.
People use these wraps to support a horse who has exerted himself and may be stocking up or is swelling. It can helps a horse who is confined to a stall. And in my case, it helps support the tendons of a foundering donkey when you include the fetlock in the wrap.
Here is a link to a great article on how to apply the standing wraps.
There are many ways to wrap as you will see if you venture onto the internet. To me, the obvious differences are old school versus new school. Old school has the under wraps made of medical cotton which they cut or tear to fit the size of the bone from knee down to fetlock. They use acrylic or stretchy bandage material as the over wrap. They start the over wrap as a tuck under the last flap of the medical cotton and do start the elastic wrap from mid to upper center. At the end, they fasten the elastic wrap to the cotton wrap with a safety pin.
This is just easier. The quilted fabrics are created as bandages and you can purchase them in different lengths depending upon the length of bone on your horse/pony/donkey. The standing wraps themselves now have velcro fasteners at the end so you don’t need pins. –Seems easier but some people still do it the old way.
Here are two videos. If you put them together they would be just about what I was told to do. (As with most things, there are several ways to do something but some key elements are universal.) As you can see, it looks fairly simple. These wraps go on in a matter of seconds. Easy. Nothin’ to it…
WHY IS IT SO TOUGH TO DO? IT LOOKS EASY.
Famous last words, lemme tell you. I even said those words myself last night as my friend was showing me how to do the standing wrap. Yes, it looks easy when a pro is doing it. But, it feels like rubbing your belly while patting your head when YOU have to do it.
This is why I suggest to you that you borrow some wraps from a friend and become an aficionado while your horse is healthy so that when the time comes to show your finesse, you aren’t struggling.
And, more importantly than your ego, wrapping the leg correctly can really help and is worth knowing. Also, wrapping incorrectly is a bad thing so again, another reason to know how to do it right.
LOOK AT MY UGLY APPLICATION…BUT IT WORKED!
But, I gotta tell you, this donkey would not stand this morning. She finally got up and let me wrap her legs. By noon thirty today, she was standing in her stall peacefully with those gawdawful wraps. But, she was STANDING. So, I’m telling you, nothing else was different — therefore, I think a few hours of the wraps did relieve her in some way. I think the support eased the pain. And, for that, I am grateful.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN WRAPPING
1. Start under the knee with the quilted wrap. Wrap from the inside of your horse’s leg to the outside, and from front to back. (This wrapping direction is debatable. Many say to wrap the way that is most comfortable for you. As long as the wraps are smooth and the stretch happens across the front and not the back, they say you can wrap any way.)
2. Once you have the quilted wrapped around the leg, don’t let go! (This is the tricky part…) Start the elastic bandage in the middle, wrap down first, and then back up and finish at the top. (Again debatable. Many say to start at the top as long as you make a complete wrap from top to bottom and back up.)
3. Be sure to overlap the elastic generously to ensure that the bandage stays in place (Most pro wrappers say cover 50% per lap.)
4. Pull tight across the front, just be firm around the back. (No debate here. This part is very important.)
5. DO NOT apply extra pressure as you go around the tendon in the back (Correct. But, you do want the wraps to not be loosey-goosey)
6. Make sure your pillow wraps and outer standing wraps are smooth and unwrinkled (Yes!)
7. If you need to include the fetlock for tendon support, make sure to include it in your wrap
8. Do not leave on for longer than 24 hours without removing and re-wrapping (Yes!)
9. Practice, practice, practice! (For sure.)
The person who taught me how to create a standing wrap also told me that the initial “preparation” roll of the bandages, before you actually apply them, is just as important as the wrap. And, she was right. You want to make sure that you have your quilt rolled in the way you need to apply it (the inside of the quilt rolled on the outside). You also need the stretchy wrap to be rolled correctly. To pre-roll the stretchy wrap you have to:
1) Unroll it and put the velcro tab and receiver at the top, on your thigh, facing up at you.
2) Tuck the velcro wrap onto itself and start to roll it top over top, tightly. You will roll right over the velcro receiver
3) Tug and stretch the bandage as you roll it up your leg. You pull then wrap, pull then wrap… the idea is to have the wrap bound tightly as you go along. Make sure to use a long wrap so you have plenty of wrap to go up and down the leg.
4) If you do this, the wrap will unwrap tightly which makes it easier to apply AND you will have the velcro where you want it in the end
GOOD LUCK AND REMEMBER, PRACTICE THIS OR YOU WILL BE CAUGHT THE FOOL LIKE I WAS TODAY!