9. Leg care and bandaging
The legs of a horse require routine observation for lacerations or swelling. Everyday care involves brushing the legs with a brush to remove dirt and mud. A currycomb is generally not used below the knees. It is common to have excess hair trimmed from the fetlock to prevent excess accumulation of mud and moisture that may lead to skin problems. Many riders wrap the horse’s legs with protective boots or bandages to prevent injury while working or exercising. After a ride, it is common for a rider or groom to hose off the legs of a horse to remove dirt and to ease any minor inflammation to the tendons and ligaments. Liniment may also be applied as a preventative measure to minimize stiffness and ease any minor strain or swelling. If the horse has been overworked, injured, or is to be transported, a standing bandage or shipping boot may be placed on the horse’s legs for protection, to hold a wound dressing, or to provide support.
Wrapping legs requires care and skill. A too loose bandage will fall off, potentially tangling in the horse’s legs, causing panic or injury. A too tight bandage may cause injury to tendons, ligaments and possible circulation problems. Commercial boots for riding or shipping are simpler to apply as they attach with a hook and loop fastening, or, less often, with adjustable buckles. Leg bandages require more attention. A bandage is usually applied over a protective padding of roll cotton or a premade quilted pad. The bandage is started on the outside of the leg, in the middle of the cannon bone, then wrapped down to either the fetlock or the hoof, depending on the purpose for which it is used, then back up to just under the knee, then back to the center of the cannon just above the starting point, ending on the outside of the leg. Most of the time, a left leg is wrapped in a counter-clockwise direction, and a right leg wrapped in a clockwise direction, starting on the outside, moving front to back. Legs may be bandaged with either disposable stretchable wrap that sticks to itself, or with washable fleece or cotton wraps that are reusable and fasten at the ends with a hook and loop closure. Bandages may also be taped with medical tape to help them stay on.
10. Veterinary care
There are many disorders that affect horses, including colic, laminitis, and internal parasites. Horses also can develop various infectious diseases that can be prevented by routine vaccination. It is sensible to register a horse or pony with a local equine veterinarian, in case of emergency. The veterinary practice will keep a record of the owner’s details and where the horse or pony is kept, and any medical details. It is considered best practice for a horse to have an annual checkup, usually in the spring. Some practitioners recommend biannual checkups, in the spring and fall.
To be continued ………..
Click here to read Part 1: /how-to-care-for-horses-part-1
Click here to read Part 2: /how-to-care-for-horses-part-2
Click here to read Part 3: /how-to-care-for-horses-part-3
Click here to read Part 4: /how-to-care-for-horses-part-4