Wrapping It Up: The Differences Between Leg Wraps and Boots

August 31st, 2016 10:01 PM | No Comments

2016-memorial-day-mane-event_md_33-copyPolo wraps, standing wraps, track bandages, the list goes on and on!  You want to protect your horse’s legs, but where should you start?  Do you need wraps or boots?  We’re here to give you the lowdown on the differences and purposes of each to “unwrap” the mystery of leg protection and care.

  • Polo wraps- Usually made of stretchy polar fleece, these are most commonly used during exercise to protect legs from bruising, cuts, and scratches.  Care must be taken to make sure they are properly wrapped, otherwise they can damage the tendons.  Also, if wrapped too loose, they may slide down or come unwrapped during riding or exercise.  Since they aren’t waterproof, it is advised not to use them during trail riding or cross country riding.
  • Standing wraps- Also called stable bandages, this isn’t so much of a specific wrap, but a basic method of wrapping legs.  Simply put, it is used for certain medical purposes, and consists of a quilted or cotton base held in place with a leg wrap.  Topical medications may or may not be used underneath.  Standing wraps can be used to help support a leg, aid promoting circulation, and even as a poultice to help decrease swelling.
  • Track bandages- Track bandages are often used as the wrap over the cotton padding layer in standing wraps/stable bandages.  They consist of stretchy, knit materials and don’t provide the exercise protection of polo wraps.
  • No-bow bandages- A special quilted bandage used in stable bandages and in trailering, the design of these prevents wrinkling and uneven pressure that can cause tendon damage.  No-bow bandages like Back On Track’s take it a step further and not only offer support and protection, but also help increase the circulation with their state-of-the-art Welltex fabric which is infused with ceramic powder to reflect the horse’s body heat back into the muscles and other soft tissues.  
Back On Track No-bow Wraps

Back On Track No-bow Wraps


  • Splint Boots- Splint boots are much easier and faster than wrapping legs, and are used during exercise to prevent bruising and other injury to the cannon, fetlock, and tendons from impact from your horse’s legs.  
Splint boots work well for protecting against impact during exercise. [photo credit: Kirstie Marie Photography]

Splint boots work well for protecting against impact during exercise. [photo credit: Kirstie Marie Photography]


  • Sports Medicine Boots- Coming onto the market in the 90′s, sports medicine boots provide both protection from impact, scratches, and cuts, as well as support for crucial ligaments and tendons during exercise.  Usually made of neoprene, sports medicine boots are quickly and easily applied, and conform to the horse’s leg.  Several decades of science have helped the sports medicine boot evolve to be even more efficient and supportive for our equine athlete’s needs.  Not only have many brands altered the shape over the years to make for a better fitting boot, Back On Track has taken it a step further with their Welltex fabric to make the boot do double duty to not only protect your horse’s legs but also stimulate circulation during exercise.



  • Open Front Jumping Boots- Almost used exclusively for those horses working over fences, these boots differ from splint boots and sports medicine boots by the open front (hence the name).  This provides protection for the back of the leg, but the open front encourages jumpers to be more careful if they hit a pole.  

Fortunately, over the years sports medicine has made great strides in protecting and supporting our horses most vulnerable extremities.  Never before have there been as many options as there are now, and we hope we’ve been able to decipher the differences between the most common types of wraps and boots.

This post was sponsored by Back On Track USA, but all opinions are those of Pleasurehorse.com.

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