Horsin’ Around 11-1-10
Fort Collins, Colo.
Last time I interviewed Gail Meisner about maintaining soundness in horses. As I stated, she not only grew up showing horses and training them but also then went into the race horse business and spent 20 years studying and keeping them sound. As I have said before you must keep your horse sound to stay in competition. There is an old poem that goes like this: “For the lack of a nail a shoe was lost. For the lack of a shoe a horse was lost. For the lack of a horse a battle was lost. For the lack of a battle a war was lost, and for the lack of a war a nation was lost.”
I am not in heavy competition any more because my age seems to be telling on me and I can not hold up as I did before, but I still like to get into the cow sort competition. So while studying Gail’s work I called her about wrapping my horse’s front legs. I have done this for years just because every one else did it. But I really did not know the need for this kind of care. But after reading about Gail’s leg wrap I went by to talk with her because I wanted to know if the boot I was using was really working.
When I took in the boot she told me that they were very good when competing. That they protect the horse’s leg and deep flexor tendon much like a standing wrap on a race horse. But not to leave them on for too long. She advised that she has seen barrel racers and other competitors leave them on all day when at a show and that has a chance to blister the leg. This was new to me and I will change my habits.
I have put them on while saddling and leave them on all day and I intend changing that the next time I haul a horse. I just thought it would be good to put the boots on to haul and keep injuries down. The other thing I learned was that you should wrap like you do when using a regular wrap. I have only noticed one person wrap the wrong way, but I have never been watching for that.
However, I’ll repeat what Gail told me about running wraps, which is to start at the cannon bone, wrap across, and back around the deep flexor. Start at the top and wrap down, overlapping about 3-inches in order to give even support down the leg. When using Vetrap, start just below the knee and wrap counter clockwise. Stretch it all the way out then let it come back to half its stretching potential and wrap. This is to keep it from constricting the tendon and causing more harm than good. When you get down to the ankle we should make a figure eight to support the ankle. The figure eight allows for normal movement of the fetlock.
This is why I like the boot that extends over the fetlock because it is easy and fast to apply and take off. However the one thing Gail told me was to be sure to scrub the inside of the boot to get rid of dirt and caked on mud on the inside of the boot because this can cause blistering of the skin. I had never been told that and the old cowboy way of using the equipment just wasn’t good for my horses. I learn something new all the time.
Prior to his retirement, Roger Thompson was a CHA certified instructor of advanced Western horsemanship and beginning English riding.
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