Horsin’ Around 10-18-10
October 18, 2010
The other day I visited a woman who has spent her life with horses, from barrel racing as a young girl to training race horses. Along the way she has made a study of how to keep their legs sound. Along with the visit, she blew my mind at what I did not know.
Gail Meisner is a member of the American Quarter Horse Association has served on the RMQH Board for 20 years, and has written many articles about keeping horses healthy by working with their legs. My first visit with her just blew my mind as she told me about wrapping the front legs of a horse and watching for signs of lameness.
The first thing was how to correctly wrap. I learned not to just use a vet wrap on a leg; you should place padding on first and then use a wrap to hold it in place. Then wrap it so that it will not slip down. When wrapping, be sure to wrap from the inside-out, and don’t start on the deep flexor tendon because this pulls the tendon around and can cause it to flex at an angle and cause soreness and damage.
I learned that we wrap for a number of reasons. One is to draw out soreness by using a poultice sweat, liniment or alcohol or to tighten the leg. But there are times when we need to cool the legs using mineral ice or a poultice. The poultice I observed Gail using was not wrapped but a special gradient that just stayed on when applied.
There is no way I could absorb all the information given to me in such a short time. Moreover, I would like to attend one of Gail’s clinics and take notes on what she used. The one thing I did remember was that the old cowboy way of treating my horse when I am finished competing is not a good way. The old cowboy way is to just get your horse out of the trailer, unsaddle and turn them out. I need to begin taking better care of their legs after a hard riding.
Gail’s clinics teach to locate early signs of serious injuries before they occur. How to safely wrap legs with polo wraps, standing wraps and running wraps. Race horse leg remedies to prevent injuries and to restore soundness. How to condition and warm-up to prevent injury. And behavior changes are usually due to early signs of injury and how to diagnose those signs.
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Gail hands out a sheet of paper with each class of things we need to know:
• We can bow a tendon from wrapping the wrong direction.
• We can blister a horse from improper sweating.
• We can bow a horse from using vet wrap without cotton underneath.
• Vet wrap should never be left on for a length of time.
• Vet wrap is good to stop bleeding, not for wrapping.
• Mixing leg paints can blister a horse, even from mixing medication on a wrap.
• If you need an Advil or Ibuprofen, your horse sometimes also needs something.
Gail Meisner had received many awards throughout her life. I have never been interested in race horses even though I understand the people in the business and good horse people. However, I am interested in leg health for competitive horses.
Prior to his retirement, Roger Thompson was a CHA certified instructor of advanced Western horsemanship and beginning English riding.