Have you ever wondered why some horse folks think polo wraps are awesome, while others think they’re useless? They’re certainly an inexpensive alternative to tendon boots, but are they best?
Read on as Horse Journal Contributing Veterinary Editor Grant Miller DVM discusses their pros and cons:
The use of wraps and boots is controversial, but overwhelmingly, riders seem to gravitate toward using them. Polo wraps are one of the oldest types of athletic wraps for horses and are commonly used in polo and dressage especially. There are benefits to using polo wraps:
1. Polo wraps protect the cannon bone region and the tendons and ligaments in that area. Horses that play rough (like polo horses) often step on each other and get tangled up in one another’s legs. Devastating lacerations and bruises can occur if they aren’t wearing protection. Polo wraps offer a decent padded barrier to help protect the leg from these insults.
2. Polo wraps protect a horse from itself. Forging, cross-firing, and striking are all interferences in which a horse is hitting itself with a wayward hoof. These gait abnormalities can lead to splints and bucked shins, among other problems. Polo wraps are a simple, inexpensive way to help stop this collateral damage.
3. Polo wraps are versatile. They are stretchy and conform nicely to a horse’s leg, which allows them to stay on during movement. For instance, dressage horses, polo ponies and cutting horses make intricate turning, twisting movements that can cause boots to slip.
To specifically answer your questions: Are they that great? Well, for the reasons stated above, this veterinarian likes polo wraps and can justify saying some great things about them.
However, as for their efficacy in “supporting” the tendons and ligaments . . . well, there’s no way that polo wraps are providing any kind of structural support. So, do they protect the leg? Yes. Do they provide structural support? No.