How to Apply Horse Polo Wraps

How to Apply Horse Polo Wraps & What You Should Know About Them

The primary focus of this Old Gray Mare article is to describe the correct way to apply polo wrap bandages to your horse’s legs. But first, a few pros and cons regarding the use of polo wraps.

The Pros: Here is the short list – to protect the lower legs, to add modest stability to the tendons and ligaments, to prevent injury during workouts, to maintain leg warmth and blood flow.

The Cons: incorrect and possible damaging application of polo wraps; using them while horse is turned out; on cross country and trail rides; jumping solid obstacles. Use polos when dry only – never leave on wet polos for any reason.

What Are Polo Wraps?

Polo wraps are soft, stretchy 9′ lengths of fabric, most often cushy fleece or heavy weight polyester. Nowadays they fasten with 2″ Velcro closures. Mostly, they are five inches in width and come in a brilliant array of colors.

Care of Polo Wraps

Polos get soiled with every use. If you can shake them free of excess shavings, grit and sand, you can reuse them and keep them clean and rolled and ready for the next application. It is best not to reuse soiled and gritty wraps; wash them often, even between each use if necessary.

Machine-wash and dry the wraps. The Old Gray Mare suggests you place each set of two or four wraps into a drawstring-type bag. Otherwise they may become entangled. Overdrying lessens the lifetime of the fabric so tumble dry and remove from dryer.

When polo wraps lose their stretchy quality, discard them.

The Correct Way to Apply a Polo Wrap

Use correct technique! To haphazardly put them on the horse’s legs has the potential to cause damage. Remove them immediately after exercise or training.

1. Be sure your polo wrap is ready to put on the horse-the Velcro closure/tab should not be visible. Newly purchased wraps must first be rewound so that the Velcro is inside and last to be applied.

2. Start with the left front leg. Position the edge of the polo on the inside of the top of the canon bone, holding firm as you bring the rolled-up polo around the back of the leg to the front of the leg. Secure the start of the bandage with another wrap and begin to swirl downward. It is important to maintain steady, even stretch and pressure for each turn as you work the bandage down. Each wrap should cover approximately 50% of the previous pass.

3. Tighten the bandage on the bone, never the tendon.

4. Do not lose the even and consistent pressure as you work. Permit no wrinkles to form.

5. Continue down the leg and under the fetlock joint. Make a “sling” with the wrap directly under the fetlock and turn to spiral back up.

6. Continue to apply the same amount of even, firm pressure as you work your way to the top.

7. Use up the entire bandage. You should be close to your started point. If you have too much bandage left, the wrap may be too tight. Likewise, if you run out of bandage before you are near the top, your wrap might be lose.

8. Secure the wrap by fastening the Velcro hook and loop firmly in place. Generally the Velcro holds for a training session. Just to be certain there is no loosening or slippage of the polo wraps, secure the Velcro latch with a four inch piece of duct tape.

9. Be prudent about the safety of your horse. If you are uncertain about your handiwork, take the time to unwrap the leg and start again.

10. Wraps that are wrinkled or applied too tightly may cause tendon injury and impede blood flow.

11. Proceed to the right front leg, and then to the rear legs. Use the same technique for each leg.

12. Wrap the four legs yourself for uniformity and best results. No two people wrap the same way.

13. Remember to safeguard your horse’s legs. Certainly you want to protect him from possible nicks and cuts and hoof overreach; however, you do not want to damage tendons. Do this job properly because your horse’s legs depend on it!

It is always safer to apply polo wraps when exercising your horse than not, provided they are put on properly.

Warning: Never leave wet polo bandages on the horse. Do not apply too tightly. Do not permit the bandages to bunch up.