By Sally Spickard on Feb 9, 2015 9:00 am
Growing up in a barn where we were taught to do things the correct way (or else!), one particular experience stands out in my mind. I was untacking my horse after a fun cross country school, and my trainer came up and reminded me to wrap her with liniment to ensure her legs would recover 100% from the galloping and jumping.
I’d put on standing wraps many times, so this wasn’t out of the ordinary for me. I quickly applied some liniment gel and wrapped all four legs without much though. I failed to notice my trainer coming up behind me on the last leg and observing my wrapping technique.
Not two seconds later, I was being told to unwrap all four legs and rewrap them under her watch. My trainer was not a mean or harsh person, but she insisted on things being done correctly, and she’d watched me wrap my horse incorrectly. To me, the wraps looked fine, so what gave?
Turns out I was putting too much pressure on the horse’s tendons, which in a standing wrap (and any wrap, for that matter) can have devastating consequences. My teenaged self hadn’t realized the consequences of an incorrect wrap job, so suffice to say I learned quickly that day that standing wraps are to be treated with the utmost respect.
This lesson has stuck with me for many years. I inwardly cringe when I think about how close I came to possibly injuring my horse, and how it would have been 110% my fault if that had happened.
I can’t be the only one in this situation, right? There are absolutely situations in which you need immobilization, when a standing wrap is necessary. But I couldn’t help but wonder if there was another solution out there that I was missing.
That’s when I saw a different product making its rounds on social media: Equiflexsleeve. I clicked around the website and was highly intrigued by the product, which featured the same general functions as a standing wrap, without the margin for error. Simply put them on so the label is facing up, and you’ve got the correct fit? Sign me up.
When I received by Equiflexsleeves, I was immediately impressed by the quality of the fabric. The sleeves are made with multi-tensioned fibers, enabling them to provide compression without becoming too tight or stretching out. The fabric was soft to the touch, but also gave me the impression that it would be tough and able to withstand movement without ripping.
I decided to use my sleeves after a particularly long hack up the road and through the field, as my horse is young and I like to use liniment after a longer work. I rubbed some liniment on and re-read the instructions for putting Equiflexsleeve on. As an aside, the sleeves do come in different sizes, from Pony all the way up to Draft, so I trust that just about any horse will find that there is a sleeve that will fit them.
Then came time to put the sleeves on my horse. I’ll admit, I was a bit apprehensive about it, as my horse likes to wiggle his leg around when I hold it. Each sleeve comes with a plastic protective sleeve to put over your horse’s hoof to prevent snags on rough edges – definitely a thoughtful inclusion! After putting the plastic on, I was able to easily slide the sleeve into place, quickly enough that my horse hadn’t even decided to start dancing around yet! Small victories, guys.
I left Equiflexsleeve on overnight on all four legs and went out to the barn the next day to check. I was so impressed that the sleeves had stayed in place, and my horse was comfortably munching hay, not at all bothered. In the past, I’ve come out to the barn to find standing wraps ripped or unraveled, or at the very least a grumpy horse who has been walking like a martian for the past 12 hours. I found none of these issues when I used Equiflexsleeves, just a comfortable horse who could still move around freely.
I decided to take a few minutes to chat with Mary Liebold, the creator of Equiflexsleeve, to find out her inspiration for designing these wraps.
“I designed them for my own horse, who had degenerative suspensory issues,” Mary said. “His fetlock had started to drop, and he was in standing wraps for longer than any horse really should be in them. There just really wasn’t anything else to use.”
Mary decided to experiment, and came up with some prototypes for what would later become the Equiflexsleeve, wanting her horse to have mobility while still keeping the compression and support factor consistent.
“I put the prototypes on him, and he literally just sighed from relief,” Mary recalled. “I was trying to eliminate the ‘cast’ effect. I didn’t want to immobilize the leg, he just needed the straight support. I also wanted the leg to be able to breathe, and included anti-microbial fabric to help with any negative effects.”
Mary believes that her design helped her horse enjoy a better quality of life for much longer than the standing wrapswould have allowed. But she wasn’t planning on turning her idea into a new business.
“Everyone in the barn started stealing my prototype!” Mary said with a laugh. “One of the vets came out and asked about it, and it honestly just took off from there.”
Now, Mary’s product has taken flight, to the point of having a handful of sponsored riders and a title sponsorship at this year’s Rolex CCI4*.
Needless to say, Equiflexsleeve has endless benefits when it comes to a wrapping and support solution for your horse. Mind you, it’s not meant to be an across the board replacement for standing wraps. There are many cases where standing wraps will still be necessary, such as a freshly bowed tendon or another situation where a “cast” effect is necessary.
However, for non-emergent situations where you are in need of support without worry, Equiflexsleeve may just be the fit for you. I was quite pleased with how my horse took to the wraps, and I was also relieved to know that I was able to correctly apply Equiflexsleeves with every try. I have always had a shred of self-doubt when it comes to standing wraps, and it was a nice reprieve from the worry to use Equiflexsleeves.
Equiflexsleeves retail for $40.00/pair, and you can find out more information by visiting our website.
Source Article: Eventing Nation – Feb 9, 2015 by Sally Spickard.
We are so excited about this review and the great things that are happening for our friend and colleague Mary Leibold. But quite honestly, we have to say that the EquiFlexsleeves are a really great Product.
Why we, at Brandenburg Equine Therapy, love the Equi-Flexsleeves.
We travel all over the USA doing equine sports therapy. And one of the biggest problems in the sport horse industry is swelling and fluid build up in the horse’s joints and legs. For years people have been using polo/standing wraps to help alleviate the swelling and to support the joints, tendons, and ligaments of the horse’s legs. However, the uses of polo/standing wraps have a couple shortcomings. Two of these drawbacks are:
1. The time it takes to wrap and unwrap the horse’s legs.
2. And most significantly is human error.
Let me expound upon the second point. If the leg is wrapped too tight or does not have constant/consistent pressure then there is a very big chance of doing damage to the horse’s tendons. I have been using equi-flexsleeves in my business for a few years and a lot of my clients are also using them with great results. They take very little time to place on the horse but more importantly they take human error out of the equation. The sleeves provide constant pressure and cannot be over tightened like polo/standing wraps can be. Hence, there is no chance of doing damage to the horse’s tendons. In conclusion, I find that the EquiFlexsleeves are a safe convenient alternative to the old school of polo/standing wraps. We recommend them to all our clients.