Opinion on Polo Wraps for leg protection and support?? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 18 Old 02-26-2013, 11:38 AM
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NO piece of neoprene or piece of fleece is going to support a 1200lb animals leg.
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post #12 of 18 Old 02-26-2013, 12:04 PM
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Correct me if I'm wrong, because I may be. I'm just throwing it out there since I heard it but I never backed it up with research.

From what I heard, the foam in SM boots contorts around the horse's leg and eventually molds to it. The first time the horse wears the boot, its basically useless other than to protect the leg from outside injury. The more the boot is worn, the better it will mold to the horse. I heard that SM boots need to be a "one horse" type deal because no horse will have the same leg shape as the other and once the boot is molded to one, it won't fit another one.

Can you put them on other horses? Yes, it won't hurt them. But it won't help them either.

I chose polo wraps because I like them better. Not because of what I mentioned above. I can change colors, mix and match, and just have fun with them.

The polo horses I worked with used polo wraps for support and galloping boots over those polos for added protection against outside concussion (another horse slamming into them, or a mallet).

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post #13 of 18 Old 02-26-2013, 12:07 PM
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I like polo wraps because they fit tighter. I think wrapped correctly they can be more supportive of the tendons than a boot. But neither is going to keep a horse from being injured if something worse than overreaching happens. They protect my horses legs just fine from hitting himself, here more people are using polo wraps than boots now.
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post #14 of 18 Old 02-26-2013, 12:13 PM
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This is just my 2 cents, and it's what a vet/chiro told me when I was running (a long time ago). Polos offer minimal support (if wrapped correctly), there's to much give in the material. They are best suited for protection against abrasions. If you are doing light work (i.e. walking, some trotting, no serious turning or stopping, etc.) Polos are a good idea. They offer just enough support, but not to much.

If any "hard" work is involved boots are a good idea MOST of the time. While nothing is going to give 100% protection/support to a 1200lb animal, boots are designed / made to have less give and more structure than polos.

BUT, she gave me a serious warning. To much of either can be a bad thing, and she explained it this way. If you wear a knee brace for support, unless you excersise the knee WITHOUT the brace, it will never be strong enough to be used without it. Your body adapts to it being there, and uses other muscles accordingly. It's the same with boots / polos. If used EVERY SINGLE TIME, you are losing the ability to strengthen muscles without support. So the second you don't have them on for whatever reason, you run a greater risk of causing an injury.

I actually did this as an experiment for high school science class (it was a semester long project). I had a knee injury back then. So I went 2 weeks wearing an ace bandage all the time. Then 2 weeks with nothing ever. Then 2 weeks with using it just with strenuos activity. Then repeated the same using a pro-choice knee brace. How I determined which was working best, I just kept track of a daily pain scale (1 being no pain - 10 being the worst) and averaged the results. This is what I found. With the ace all the time, it helped but I was still in some pain (a 6). No ace, sort of the same, but a little more pain (a 7). With activity a 6. With the brace on all the time was a 2 or a 3, But no brace was up to 8. Only with activity was around a 5, but towards the end the pain kept getting less and less. So what I learned was that an ace helped, but not a lot. A brace helped A LOT until I took it off, but when used only when needed I got better faster.

And from my experience she's right in regards to horses. The horses that I see that are ALWAYS worked in boots or polos without an exception are the often the ones that most often come in from the pasture limping. The ones that wear them only in certain footing or conditions are the ones that seem to hold up much better than the others.

So that's just what I've noticed. It's not right or wrong, either way

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post #15 of 18 Old 02-26-2013, 12:25 PM
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It really depends on the type of boot. A brush boot is used to help horses who interfere with themselves while naturally moving, so they aren't hurt if they kick themselves. Open front jumping boots, cover the tendon to help prevent any injuries should a hind hoof make impact with the front legs, but leave the front of the horse's leg bare (this way if he hits the pole, it hurts and he learns to pick his legs up more). SMB boots, wrap around the ligament and support the fetlock (minimally, but they do help) and a properly wrapped set of polos function like SMB boots but do not provide as much support. True SMBs are the only protective boot to have extensive scientific research, the tests showed that horse's will favor legs with the boot on to take pressure off unprotected ligaments. SMBs, like any other boot, only offer support or protection if they are used properly and are proper footing. There is no replacement for responsible and safe horsemanship for preventing injuries.
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post #16 of 18 Old 02-26-2013, 12:30 PM
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*proper fitting, not proper footing (but proper footing does help make a horse's job easier :)...)
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post #17 of 18 Old 02-26-2013, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Endiku View Post
I will say that I'm not educated in the barrel world, so I'll take your guy's word. However, I really fail to see how polos can really give all that much support- but maybe I've never seen the really expensive, thick ones you guys are talking about. I've only seen them in the tack store. And since most people DONT correctly wrap, I think they often do more harm than good unfortunately.

Do you guys have any articles or anything that might explain how polos are just as effective as boots that that they really do give a lot of support? Don't get me wrong, I love polos and use them sometimes to keep my mare from scratching herself up or accidently overreaching and cutting herself, but I've never looked at them as actual support braces, nor have any of the people I've ever worked with. Of course I don't tend to use boots or anything at all, unless I'm working a cow horse that I need to 'dig' into the dirt when we're on the job. Enlighten me please! :)
I made a thread comparing polos vs sport boots about a year ago, which includes an study from Professional's Choice. Here's the link: Boots vs Polos .... Here is the Professional's Choice SMB study from 1998 ...

Neither polo wraps nor sport boots give the amount of support that a company claims. That's why I actually got a physical copy of the study from Professional's Choice to see for myself. On their website they claim the sport boots absorb up to 45% of energy, but actually reading the study it really can be as little as 4.7%. That's why I never put much credibility into a company's claim because they will twist the end result to say what makes them sound good.

That said, a sport boot will support more than a polo wrap. Studies have proven it. But again, does it really make a difference when you're talking about a difference of a mere 2% to 4% of shock absorption on a 1,200 pound animal between a polo and a boot? No, not really.

I use Sport Boots more with the idea of coverage and protection in mind, rather than support. Sure, that small amount of support is there and helps a little bit, but it's not a huge factor.

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post #18 of 18 Old 02-27-2013, 03:32 AM
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if i were you i would just stick with the boots. at least until you know how to properly wrap. if you dont know how to wrap them correctly you can do so much damage to your horses legs then helping them. and contrary to what the other person said, yes they do supply support for the legs. the only thing i would be afraid of is the polor wrap coming undone while you were running. boots just fly off if they come undone but because the wrap is such a long piece of material theres more of a chacne of your horse tripping. usually polo wraps are used for schooling.
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