Q: We currently own two Quarter Horse fillies and a Thoroughbred colt. We were wondering at what age it is safe to begin using wraps (stable, shipping, polo) on a young horse and if using wraps too early can cause problems. All three horses are 3 years old.
A: A healthy horse's legs do not need to be routinely wrapped. Horses do injure themselves at work, at play or while traveling but there are many fine protective boots made for these situations that are safer and more durable than wrapping.
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The routine use of "stable" bandages provides none of the support or preventive benefits intended and can even delay recognition of minor work strain and injuries. Wrapping over a liniment or brace can blister the skin or damage the hair follicles, giving your horse's leg hair a permanently "wavy" appearance. Although there is no minimum age for protecting legs, I would recommend that you use boots when needed and avoid wraps unless directed by your veterinarian for a specific treatment.
Matthew Mackay-Smith, DVM
Founding Medical Editor, EQUUS
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