Equine Shipping Wraps and When to Use Them

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Do you use shipping wraps or boots? Some riders are deliberate about shipping wraps or boots to the point of wrapping their horse in bubble wrap, while others don’t think twice about leg protection. Before you hit the road, consider the type of trip you’re going on and whether wrapping legs is right for your horse. 

Credit: iStock Before you hit the road, consider the type of trip you’re going on and whether wrapping legs is right for your horse.

Credit: iStock Before you hit the road, consider the type of trip you’re going on and whether wrapping legs is right for your horse.

While shipping wraps/boots do protect your horses’ lower legs from trauma in the trailer, they are not always needed and can sometimes cause more negative effects. Some things to consider: 

What is the weather like? Hauling your horse on a hot day and applying shipping wraps may cause overheating issues. Riding in a trailer is an athletic event for a horse, so keep in mind the body heat he will produce while traveling. Wrapping legs may not increase his overall body temperature, but, according to some studies, the tissue under the wrap, along with tendons, can potentially overheat in hot weather. 

Do your wraps or boots fit your horse correctly? This is one, if not the most, important consideration. If you open your trailer door to find your horse in a tangled mess or notice the boots are on the other end of the trailer, you probably have the wrong size. With wraps, this can be extremely dangerous as horses can get tangled, loose their balance and have a traumatic trailer ride. Some horses have the memory of an elephant which means that last bad trailer ride could create a handful of issues the next time you decide to go anywhere. Be prepared. Ask your veterinarian about shipping boots – their size and how to wrap them to ensure your horse’s safety. If you aren’t sure about how to apply shipping wraps, forego them this time.

What kind of shoes does your horse wear? If the shoes look like a hazard; they probably are. If your horse has a hazardous-looking shoe, you can put bell boots over them for protection. Many have had great experiences with boots that fit over their horses’ shoes plus they come in all sizes.

What kind of a traveler is your horse? Horses that haul year-round are unlikely to injure or step on themselves. They’ve already been down that road and know how to be careful. Or, their owner has noticed they are the type that needs leg protection no matter the type of trip. If you have a fussy or inexperienced traveler, leg protection should be high on your list. A lot of horses cannot stand having leg wraps and will go into panic mode should you apply them. Watch for signs of discomfort, unnatural movements and play around with different types of leg wraps or boots. There is a lot of trial and error to be done before you find the perfect fit for your four-hoofed traveler. Or maybe he doesn’t need anything at all. Again, consult with your veterinarian so you can better make the call for each horse you take, and the type of trip.

USRider--in its 15th year of operation--is the only company to provide emergency roadside assistance for horse owners. Through the Equestrian Motor Plan, USRider provides nationwide roadside assistance and towing services along with other travel-related benefits to its Members. The plan includes standard features such as flat-tire repair, battery assistance, lockout services, and roadside repairs for tow vehicles and trailers with horses, plus towing up to 100 miles. As an additional service, USRider maintains a national database that includes emergency stabling, veterinary and farrier referrals.

For more information about the USRider Equestrian Motor Plan, visit www.usrider.orgonline or call 800-844-1409. For additional safety and travel tips, visit the Equine Travel Safety Area on the USRider website at www.usrider.org.

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