front leg support/injury prevention
I have a question regarding my 10 year old Welsh pony X TB. A little over a year ago, she went lame for the first time. It was very slight, in her front end, and only visible when she was being ridden. But it didnt go away after a week, so I had the vet look at her. To make a long story short, it took 3 vets and TONS of tests and in the end her diagnosis was "joint inflammation."
She is now sound, but every now and then she'll be off again. I want to be doing everything I can to prevent her from becoming lame.
I used to do polo wraps, but I heard so many controversial things about polos that I stopped, especially because I am not very skilled in wrapping and usually don't have someone around to help me.
I am thinking about buying some boots, but before I do, I wanted to get some information about my options. We do not jump and she has no problems with brushing or over-reaching. I want something that will provide support and protection to her fetlock joints. I was thinking either SMB Elites or Equilibrium's Stretch & Flex Training Wraps, but would love any advice.
Thanks for any suggestions or product recommendations!
The SMBs are a good idea. I can't afford them (maybe when my ship comes in, if it doesn't need repairs, lol), so I have some bootleg (no pun intended. Really) boots from TSC that I use for heavier riding or rough trails. I think that brand is Milepost. I've heard good things about Legacy boots as well, they have some kind of special fetlock support construction.
Personally, I don't like SMBs. I find they don't fit, and trap heat/dirt like nobody's business. I've heard good things about Pegasus boots though.
Also, most boots/wraps aren't going to provide that much support. Think about it. 1000lbs horse vs fleece wrap. Who's going to win?
That being said, I see nothing wrong with boots just in terms of protection. We usually use polos/dressage boots/open fronts when riding (sometimes with bell boots), depending upon what we're doing.
From Sustainable Dressage: ::: Sustainable Dressage - Tack & Auxillary Equipment - Gadgets & Auxillary Equpiment ::: (I suggest reading the bit on polos and boots)
"Some say that the bandages support the fetlock joint. The wrapping will stop the fetlock joint from overbending as the leg is loaded. But again we are talking about much greater forces than fabric can handle. It will simply stretch or compress the skin and the padding to allow the give that the weight of the horse will cause in the fetlock. Science has even tried to construct devices that can be scientifically proven to lessen the give in the fetlock. These devices are made from 1/3 inch thick neoprene, reinforced with nylon webbing and velcro fastenings, and are wrapped around the leg with fantastic effort. The wide velcro fastenings have to be extremely firmly tightened in a precise crossing position under the fetlock, to have any effect at all. So what will some semi-loose bandages do in comparison? Nada."
Adding: The biggest thing for your horse is going to be proper warm-ups and cool downs. Like always, you need to take great care in gymnastisizing your horse. Extra time should be spent warming up, and stretching the legs in order to get the blood flowing.
Barn Basics: Give Your Horse a Leg Up on Leg Protection - HorseChannel.com
Here's an article on boots. I personally don't think any of them provide the shock absorbtion they claim to. I just use them to prevent dings while jumping or out trail riding. The only thing I feel strongly about is not using SMBs if you're going to be going through water. If the boot holds the water, it can weigh down the leg and cause more harm than good.
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