How to Enhance Your Riding Arena

A large outdoor arena with white dressage letter cones and tan arena footing. There is a white fence around the perimeter of the fence.

It’s December, time for extra merriment and fun! Our thoughts have turned to ways we can spruce up our riding areas to keep our horses’ environments attractive, engaging and stimulating. As this gift-giving season, too, who knows? Some of these ideas might make perfect presents for your favorite rider.

By incorporating thoughtful decorations, practical obstacles and appealing elements, you can transform any riding arena or area into a captivating space that promotes learning, mind and body conditioning, concentration and enjoyment.

  1. Add dressage cones. No matter your riding discipline, dressage letters are a simple way to expand on or create training exercises. While you guide your horse through patterns, figures and transitions based on letter locations, you can hone your aids and improve your horse’s suppleness. Dressage letter towers can hold flowers or plants—a great opportunity to add seasonal color year-round. Choose non-toxic plants or plastic varieties for horse safety and weather resistance.
  2. Install attractive and functional obstacles. Whether you add ground poles, Rail Razors, cavaletti, Jump Blocks or fences, introducing obstacles to your riding arena enhances visual appeal and offers mental and physical stimulation for your horse.

  3. Turn on some music. Install speakers around the arena to play calming music or natural sounds, which can help relax and focus both you and your horse. Prefer a lively experience? Upbeat music—as long as it isn’t too loud—just may inspire your horse’s cadence.

  4. Enhance the surroundings naturally. Consider planting (non-toxic) flowers or ornamental grasses around the perimeter of your outdoor ring. These natural elements can add vibrancy and tranquility to your arena space.

  5. Incorporate wall décor. Consider hanging equestrian-themed photographs, banners or flags. The entrance to your arena is a perfect spot for a customized sign with a welcome message or a stable name. Such decorative touches create a sense of pride and attachment to the space.
A white dressage letter cone the the letters M and G on it with colorful artificial flowers coming out of the top.
A set of four jumps stacked in ascending order. The front jump has a green gate with white and red jump standards. The jumps behind it are completely white.
Blue jump blocks are stacked one on top of the other on either side with white poles in the middle to make a jump.

While you create an equine oasis for you and your horse to enjoy, remember to keep an eye on safety aspects. Allow plenty of space to move around obstacles and be sure to introduce your horse to new things with care.

Shop our wide selection of jumps and arena equipment here.

Is your arena #goals worthy? Share your photos with us on Instagram and Facebook by tagging @doversaddlery!

What Will You Choose: Tasty Holiday Treats for Horses & Ponies

Four containers of horse treats are lined up on a wooden surface. From left to right the horse treat brands are Uncle Jimmy's Squeezy Buns, Mrs. Pastures Cookies for Horses, The German Horse Muffin, and Manna Pro Nuggets.

Because gift-giving season is almost here, we’re thinking of ways to delight the horses and ponies in our lives. The obvious choice? Surprise their taste buds with delectable concoctions, perhaps from a brand they’ve never tried before. To help you choose from all the treats available today, here are some thoughts you might like to consider.  

Best-Selling Treats

If your horse likes to follow the herd, he or she will love these popular favorites. These treats are produced from partners that are among our favorites, too, as they stand behind their high-quality products.

  • German Horse Muffins: Made by Equus Magnificus in the USA, German Muffins are decadent, sweet and chewy treats. Fresh grains, molasses, vitamins and more are mixed to perfection and formed into gourmet bite-size muffins. They can also be used to disguise pills.  
  • Manna Pro® Bite-Size Nuggets: Offered in a variety of flavors, these crunchy treats fit into pockets easily and pack a great value for your dollar. They’re made in the USA from wholesome ingredients, fortified with vitamins and minerals, and horses find them irresistible!
  • Uncle Jimmy’s® Squeezy Buns: These wonderfully soft treats are individually wrapped to preserve freshness and to eliminate mess. They are made in the USA from all-natural, nutritious ingredients, and horses simply adore them.

Seasonal Flair

Looking for something with distinct holiday appeal? Check out these fun brands!

  • Mrs. Pastures® Cookies: Offered in festive holiday packaging, these all-natural horse treats have been enjoyed by horses since 1986. Made in the USA, these cookies are dehydrated rather than baked, so they won’t crumble or fall apart in your pocket.
  • Stud Muffins®: Filling a transparent candy-cane container for easy gift giving, these chewy treats are handmade from nutritious ingredients and fortified with extra protein and flaxseed.
  • Kelcie’s Horse Treats: These treats come in Pumpkin Spice, which is as perfect for seasonal festivities as pumpkin pie! Naturally low in sugar, starch and carbohydrates, they’re made in a unique extrusion process and designed to deliver healthy benefits.

Small Bakery Support
If you love to support small, entrepreneurial businesses, any of these treats will please both you and your horse.

  • A to Z Horse Cookies: Appropriate for horses with metabolic conditions, these soft, flavorful treats were originally designed to be used as pill pockets to hide medicines. They’re low in carbs, low in sugar and made in the USA from human-grade, organic ingredients.
  • NickerDoodles: These gourmet horse treats are handmade in the USA for discriminating horses and their picky owners. They’re soft, tasty, easily digestible and just six simple all-natural ingredients.
  • Daybreak Farm Horse Muffins: These “Muffins with a Mission” are offered with candy centers or with limited, all-natural ingredients as a healthy option. While the muffins make your horse happy, they serve a higher purpose: they’re created in a special working farm in Pennsylvania, where individuals with special needs find meaningful work, vocational job training and socialization.

Does your horse have a favorite cookie or treat? Share your photos with us on Instagram and Facebook by tagging @doversaddlery!

Dover Saddlery® Sponsors 2023 Komen Vermont Ride for The Cure® at Green Mountain Horse Association

With many women and families in the equestrian community impacted by breast cancer, we at Dover Saddlery are proud to support Susan G. Komen® through sponsorship of the organization’s 14th Annual Vermont Ride for the Cure. The horseback ride will take place at the beloved GMHA showgrounds in South Woodstock, Vermont on October 9th. The event is being held in honor of the life and legacy of Ride founder, Lois Steele Whidden, who died of breast cancer in April 2023.

Registered horseback riders at GMHA will enjoy a scenic five- to nine-mile-long trail ride. Riders in other areas can participate in the event virtually by choosing to “Ride Where You Are” and can then also choose their own ride mileage. New this year, cyclists and non-horseback riders can also enjoy virtual participation!

Susan G. Komen leads the way worldwide in spreading awareness about breast cancer, raising funds for research and providing support and guidance for people fighting the disease. Komen’s events always celebrate breast cancer survivorship and honor those who have lost their battle with the disease.

Funds raised from the Ride for the Cure will support patients through Komen’s Patient Care Center and will help advance cutting-edge research, as well. Anyone impacted by breast cancer can call 1-877-GO-KOMEN to speak to a trained professional who can offer emotional support and patient navigation services. Additionally, qualifying individuals can receive financial assistance or be connected to resources in their communities. Together, we are fueling the best science, boldest community and biggest impact in the fight against breast cancer.

To register for Ride for the Cure at GMHA or your own location, or to donate to the cause, click here. Thank you for your consideration—your participation gets us closer to the cure.

Understanding the Five-Year Helmet Replacement Guideline

A young girl wearing a black helmet, navy show coat, white show shirt and black riding gloves is hugging the neck of a brown horse. The horse is wearing a green fly bonnet and a brown leather bridle.

Safety week is a perfect time to address customer confusion concerning the widely publicized and accepted five-year replacement guidelines for riding helmets. Quite a few customers have contacted us having noticed the manufacture date stamped on the interior label of their new helmets. They’ve been concerned that the date is an expiration date—and this is not the case.

The inside of a Samshield riding helmet shows 5 different stickers regarding the make, model, size and safety information of the helmet. A rectangular white sticker outlined in red with black text notes the production date and series number of this particular helmet.

The date and the series number stamped inside your helmet is required by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), which has verified your helmet meets the current required standard. This information is attached to the helmet in case a product defect is discovered or the need for a recall arises.

The five-year replacement guideline for equestrian helmets begins at the time of purchase and depends on frequency of use. (Keep the sales receipt for any helmet you buy as a reference for the age of your helmet. You may also need it to participate in a crash helmet replacement claim.) This five-year guideline is not a gimmick retailers and manufacturers use to sell helmets; it exists for the benefit of riders.

With use, helmet safety materials degrade, and the ability of the materials designed to protect you decreases as well. Perspiration, heat, hair spray, insect spray, exposure to sunlight, travel conditions and improper storage all contribute to a slow degradation of a helmet. Every time you wear a helmet, its materials heat up and expand. Every time you take a helmet off and let it cool and dry, the materials contract. That’s why the five-year plan is a guideline only, and common sense on replacement time should always apply to your situation. You can help maximize the life of your helmet by storing it in a protective bag or carrier, out of direct sunlight and in a temperature-controlled environment.

As an added note, within any five-year period, newer, better technologies and production methods are usually developed to boost coverage, safety and comfort provided by equestrian helmets.

When to replace your helmet:

  • You have worn it for five years.
  • You ride in it once or more daily, every day, for a year or two.
  • Your helmet starts to feel too loose or too tight.
  • You change your hairstyle drastically if you tuck it into your helmet.
  • The helmet’s harness loosens during rides, or the clasp doesn’t secure properly.
  • You had a crash and hit your helmet.
  • You dropped the helmet on a hard surface.
  • The helmet was stored improperly, such as in frigid conditions (frozen barn aisle) or in the excessive heat (backseat of a vehicle).

Please use common sense when considering helmet replacement and err on the side of caution.

Shop our wide selection of riding helmets and helmet accessories here.

What is your favorite helmet brand to wear? Share your photos with us on Instagram and Facebook by tagging @doversaddlery!

The Secret to a Winning Show Look: The Fit of Your Show Coat

A row of five riders and their horses are lined up with their backs facing the cameras in an outdoor riding arena. The horses are of varying colors and all riders are wearing black helmets and show coats with tan breeches. They also all have white cards with black numbers tied around their lower backs.

As the calendar flips to August, some of us experience a few flips of the stomach—or full-blown cases of The Butterflies! That’s because for riders who show, the time for regional championships and medal finals draws near.

If you’ve qualified for your year-end competition, congratulations from the Team at Dover Saddlery! Qualifying is a major accomplishment about which you can be proud. To help you calm your show nerves and give yourself a confidence boost, here’s our favorite tip for putting your best foot forward in competition: check the fit of your show coat.

A beautifully fitted show jacket does more for your appearance than any other aspect of your personal turnout. Your coat helps hide flaws and enhances your silhouette in support of excellent rider marks.

To double-check the fit of your existing coat or find a new coat that flatters your body:

  • Try the coat on over the show shirt, breech and the type of sports bra, if you wear one, that you wear in competition. These garments will affect the way a coat falls on your body.  
  • Check the shoulder fit first. Shoulder seams should line up with the edges of your shoulders.
  • Fit the torso second. The fabric of the coat should lie flat across your back, lapels should lie flat on your chest, and closed buttons should not create puckering down the front. Some coats have a hidden zipper under the button placket, and this can create your smoothest look. The waistline of the coat should appear to sit at your natural waist; change your breech to one with a higher rise if you have trouble achieving your smoothest look at the waist.
  • Sit in a saddle to see how the coat falls, making sure the hem does not cover your cantle or interfere with your seat.
  • Put your arms in riding position to be sure you can move freely. The sleeves should end at your wrist bones with your arms bent as if to hold reins.

Finding a perfectly fitting show coat off the rack is challenging for most riders. A good tailor can usually alter a riding jacket to create your most elegant look at minimal cost. The body can be taken in and sleeves can usually be lengthened or shortened. Again, start with achieving a good fit in the shoulders.

Most of all, good luck and have fun at your finals!

Do you have a winning show look? Share your photos with us on Instagram and Facebook by tagging @doversaddlery!

Outfitting a Horse Trailer

A woman with blond hair in a pony tail is leading a brown horse wearing navy blue shipping boots and a sheepskin shipping halter up a ramp and into the back of a black horse trailer.

Congratulations—you just got a horse trailer of your own! You and your horse are looking forward to new adventures together. If your trailer isn’t outfitted already with everything you might need for your horse’s safety and comfort, here’s a list to help you get started.  

It’s a Tie: Breakaway Trailer Ties

A black trailer tie made of nylon and Velcro with gold colored fasteners at either end

If you plan to use trailer ties, consider a breakaway Tie Safe™ Trailer Tie or attach a regular tie to your trailer’s wall using a loop of twine. A tie should have the ability to release if your horse slips and falls.

Comfort Food: Hay Bags & Hay Nets

A black hay bag holding hay with black nylon at the top and black mesh at the bottom is hanging on a wooden fence.

Horses feel comforted when eating hay. Plus, hay consumption keeps a horse occupied during travel and helps keep the digestive tract moving. Choose a hay bag or hay net that can hold an ample supply of hay for your trips. Fasten it securely at a height at which your horse cannot get a leg entangled in it.

A blue and black pitch fork is being used to dump shavings into a large green plastic bucket with yellow handles.

Clean as a Whistle: Manure Fork, Muck Tub & Broom

To keep your trailer clean, odor-free and less inviting to flies, you’ll need a manure fork, muck bucket and possibly a broom and shovel. Places you visit will love it if you clean up after your horse, too!

Keep Hydrated: Water Jugs & Water Buckets

A blue water jug with black cap

When you get where you’re going, or if your vehicle breaks down, you’ll want to offer your horse water she or he is familiar with drinking. A water jug is a must-have item! Our favorite Water Can has an extra handle and spout for easy pouring. Take along a water bucket and a second pail if you plan to sponge your horse after riding.

A collection of medical supplies make up a first aid kit including scissors, gauze syringes, first aid ointment, saline solution, a thermometer, and bandages.

Just In Case: Medical Supplies

Pack a medical kit that includes supplies for horse and human use. You can buy a preassembled kit or select a case of your choice and fill it with your preferred supplies. Be sure to add cohesive wraps, gauze pads, cold packs, scissors, a digital thermometer, Betadine®, rubbing alcohol and a set of leg quilts and stable bandages. Also pack an extra halter and lead line in case your primary ones break.

Trouble in Paradise: Roadside Breakdown Supplies

A pair of light up safety traffic triangles at night

Pack a fire extinguisher designed for dousing electrical fires and a Trailer Aid® or suitable jack for changing trailer tires. Better than flares and orange cones, BriteAngle Road Safety Triangles light up and provide strong reflective properties to help make you and your rig easily spotted by oncoming traffic.

A white trailer is covered with a light blue trailer cover. The side door to the trailer is open and the trailer cover is rolled up to allow access.

Protecting Your Investment: Trailer & Tire Covers
You’ll need a tire chock for your parked trailer, and you might want to cover your trailer’s spare tire to protect it from sun and harsh weather. Between trips, a hitch cover can prevent water from seeping into the electrical system, and a trailer cover for long-term storage helps protect your investment.

Is your trailer fully stocked and ready for travel? Share your photos with us on Instagram and Facebook by tagging @doversaddlery!

LeMieux Merino+ Half-Lined Saddle Pads: The Unsung Hero of Pads

White quilted dressage saddle pad (left) and close contact saddle pad (right) with natural color wool and a black LeMieux logo.

While most horses can wear any saddle pad their rider places on their backs, some horses aren’t so lucky. They experience the agonies of extra-sensitive skin, seasonal hives, allergies to manmade textiles, seasonal or year-round hair rubs, abrasions from friction, thin hair, excessive sweating under a saddle or a host of other challenges, including collagen bumps and fungal issues in follicles.

If you ride one of these horses, a Merino+ Half-Lined Dressage Square or Close Contact Square could be the solution to your horse’s troubles. Merino+ pads have proven so beneficial to horses that we’ve come to think of them as the Unsung Hero of pads.

A Thoughtful Approach to Wool Fleece
Across disciplines, natural wool is known to be the best option for a horse’s back. It offers softness and cushioning, superior breathability, helps maintain temperature and regulates moisture. It also naturally controls the breeding of bacteria and viruses and helps prevent bruising, scarring, chaffing and pressure sores.

The problem with traditional wool fleece pads is the hide hidden inside them. Even with the best care, the hide eventually becomes warped, misshapen or brittle. LeMieux took a thoughtful approach to solving longevity issues experienced with traditional sheepskin fleece pads; with the Merino+ line, no hides are involved. The pads use top-quality WoolMark accredited Australian merino wool and beautifully engineered fabrics. The resulting saddle pads remain soft and withstand daily wear and machine washing.

With Merino+ pads, lambswool is removed from skin and integrated with a unique backing fabric that expands and contracts while retaining its inherent stretch. This fabric aids wicking and moisture control, with each fiber holding up to 30% its weight. The effect of this fabric alone helps keep a horse’s back cooler and drier, and temperature variations are minimized. Add to this all the natural benefits of merino wool, and you’ve got an amazing saddle pad.

Cushioning & Shock Absorption

The consistent density of springy Merino+ wool fleece provides a perfect fit against a horse’s back in every ride. Its soft surface and resilient nature let the fleece mold to a horse’s contours without adding bulk. The fibers help absorb impact, distribute pressure and provide cushioning.

Hypoallergenic & Gentle on Skin
The lambswool, dyes and fabrics used in Merino+ pads are tested to human medical standards by a Swiss laboratory, so they work in harmony with even sensitive skin and are far more stable. The fluffy fibers free the horse from saddle-pad friction, naturally resist static and naturally resist odors.

Thermoregulating & Moisture-Wicking
Some folks look at the wool panels and think, “That’s going to be hot against my horse.” Nothing is further from the truth. Merino wool naturally wicks moisture and promotes airflow. Whether the weather is hot or cold, the wool helps maintain a comfortable climate under the saddle. (Try wearing merino wool socks in summer to prove this point. Your feet won’t sweat, and they won’t stink at the end of a long day.)

Close Contact Feel
Merino+ fleece is placed in panels only under the saddle. The flaps of the pad aren’t lined with fleece, so they feel to a rider just like a “standard” quilted saddle pad. With the fleece panels at the top, most riders with an appropriately fitting saddle have no need to use a half pad.

Quick Drying
The fleece panels dry quickly between rides and after washing. Dirt, hair and dried sweat brushes away. Usually, a freshly laundered pad is ready to use next day.

Other Points to Note

Now that we’ve covered all the irresistible problem-solving benefits of Merino+ Half-Lined Saddle Pads, we must point out a few more must-have features.

  • Finer and shorter wool lines the pathway of the spine, providing comfort for spinal processes and allowing airflow. A swept-up wither cut relieves pressure over the shoulders and base of the neck.
  • LeMieux’s signature layered girth-loop system ensures a perfect fit adjustment with every girth on every horse. The top layer acts as a normal girth loop. The inter-locking layer underneath can be used to secure either or both saddle billets in an ideal position.
  • Timeless style, a classic quilted top, conservative colors and fleece-trimmed withers mean this pad is always appropriate in any ring.
  • The pads generally require less laundering when used on a groomed horse. Simply brush hair away from the fleece fibers!

LeMieux’s Merino+ Half-Lined Dressage Square fits most dressage saddles perfectly and creates an elegant look worthy of competition. The Half-Lined Close Contact Square suits most jump saddles and includes the iconic, swept-up back to avoid interference with the rider’s legs over fences.

Shop the LeMieux Merino+ Half-Lined Close Contact Square

Shop the LeMieux Merino+ Half-Lined Dressage Square

Already have a LeMieux Merino+ Pad? Share your photos with us on Instagram and Facebook by tagging @doversaddlery!

Our Dream Fly Sheet: Why & How We Made It

A dark brown horse is running in a grassy field. The horse is wearing a brown leather halter and a white fly sheet with black front and belly buckles.

When beaming hot sun and insects team up, time outside can become uncomfortable for horses. Flies buzz at them almost nonstop, and ultraviolet rays burn skin and bleach hair. That’s why our product developers, also horse owners, got together to create a fly sheet ensemble of their horses’ dreams. The result? Our new, multitasking Dover Saddlery® Fly Combo Sheet complete with removable neck cover and matching fly mask! And it’s arrived just in time for fly season!

A brown horse is standing in a grassy field wearing a white fly sheet, neck cover and fly mask with black trim and black buckles.

With this lightweight and breathable mesh sheet, two-tier construction protects against both insects landing on your horse and ultraviolet rays. A top mesh panel has an ultraviolet fabric treatment to block UV rays. The silver color also helps deflect the sun to keep your horse cooler. The bottom mesh portion, including the belly band, is treated with 12% permethrin to repel insects before they can even think about landing on your horse.

A dark brown horse is wearing a white fly mask with black trim. The fly mask covers the horses ears and nose.

For versatile coverage, the UV-blocking neck cover is easily removed on milder days. Similarly, the UV-blocking fly mask can be used alone or attached to the neck cover for complete protection all day.

We added deep shoulder gussets to ensure a horse’s natural abilities to move. We lined key areas with smooth fabric to protect hair and padded the withers with fleece. We extended the tail flap to help protect tail hair from sun damage and create a deep barrier to keep flies out.

Our horses are currently enjoying the benefits of our dream Fly Combo Sheet—and we expect yours will, too!

Shop the Dover Saddlery® Fly Combo Sheet here.

Is your horse already sporting our latest design? Share your photos with us on Instagram and Facebook by tagging @doversaddlery!

All Wrapped Up: An Overview of Exercise Wraps for Horses

In March we provided an overview of two common types of wraps: standing wraps and shipping wraps. This month let’s discuss the use and benefits of exercise wraps.

An exercise wrap is made of a polo bandage or polo wrap, most correctly applied over an exercise liner. Exercise wraps help protect a horse’s lower front and hind legs from interference during work—when a horse’s own hoof strikes an opposing leg, causing a cut, bruise or splint.

The material of a polo bandage (generally 9 to 11 feet long and 4 to 4½ inches wide for horses) is synthetic fleece that is inherently cushiony, slightly stretchy and easily conforms to the horse’s lower limbs. Polo bandages secure with hook-and-loop fasteners.   

While a polo bandage can be applied directly against a horse’s leg, a proper exercise wrap has an exercise liner applied to the leg first. This low-profile layer offers added protection from knocks without adding bulk. It also provides just enough padding to help protect against pressure points from the polo bandage. As an added benefit, most exercise liners are made of materials that wick moisture and promote airflow, which in turn helps keep tendons, skin and hair cool. Exercise wraps are used only while a horse is being ridden or lunged—never in turnout or in place of standing or shipping wraps.

Polo bandages are primarily sold in sets of four wraps. They are a traditional, inexpensive and long-lasting alternative to horse boots, easily machine washable and extremely quick to dry. White is the most traditional color, followed by black, but polo wraps can be found in every color of the rainbow and in the trendiest seasonal hues. Exercise liners also commonly come in sets of four.


  • If you have a new set of polo wraps, consider washing them once before you use them. Washing makes the wraps slightly easier to handle.
  • Also, be sure your wraps are rolled tightly before you begin to wrap your horse’s legs. The tighter you roll your wrap, the easier it will be to apply to your horse.

Cautionary Notes:

  • New to wrapping? Hands-on training from a knowledgeable instructor is a must for your horse’s safety. Wrapping of any kind must be done correctly to avoid common bandaging mistakes that can cause both temporary and irreparable damage.
  • Exercise wraps should always be applied over dry, clean skin and hair, and they should be removed promptly after work.
  • Stable bandages are not safe substitutions for fleece polo bandages and vice versa.
  • Consult your horse’s veterinarian in the presence of any lower leg injury or unprecedented or chronic swelling/edema.

Shop our wide selection of horse leg wraps here.

Are you a leg wrapping pro? Share your photos with us on Instagram and Facebook by tagging @doversaddlery!

All Wrapped Up: An Overview of Wraps & Bandages for Horses

A picture of a white roll of fleece against a white background.

One of our Product Advisors mentioned recently that a customer was confused about wrapping terminologies. New to horses, this customer wanted to know what constitutes a wrap and what constitutes a bandage. What should she have on hand, and why?

We realized that the equestrian industry, Dover Saddlery included, tends to use the terms “bandage” and “wrap” interchangeably when referring to both the “ingredients” of wraps and the types of wraps. No wonder this customer was confused! So this month we will cover two of the three types of wraps we commonly find in active performance horse barns regardless of discipline: standing wraps and shipping wraps. Next month, we’ll cover exercise wraps.

Two human hands are shown wrapping a horse's leg with a white pillow wrap and green standing wrap. The horses legs are white with black hooves.

Standing Wraps
Undoubtedly the most important type of wrap any horse owner can have the materials to create, standing wraps are a significant tool in treating leg issues and concerns. Standing wraps are worn by a horse when it is stabled (standing). They can be used to help protect an injury or add support, hold wound dressings in place, reduce or prevent “stocking up” (edema) after a strenuous workout or a long haul, and they can be used to cover a poultice while it draws heat and inflammation.

A picture of a white roll of quilted cotton and fabric against a white background.

A standing wrap consists of padding topped by a stable bandage. The padding may be called a leg quilt, leg wrap, combo wrap, pillow wrap or No Bow wrap, or it can be comprised of layers of cotton sheeting. The padding is intended to cover a horse’s leg from just below the knee or hock to the bottom of the fetlock joint. As such, leg quilts and leg wraps are offered in widths from 10 to 18 inches. They are usually sold in pairs because most ponies and horses require shorter wraps on their front legs and longer wraps on their hind legs.

A plastic bag is shown filled with white cotton sheets. The packaging says BB Satin Star 12's in large red font. There is also a black silhouette of a person petting a horse above the letters.

The type of padding used depends on personal preference for the materials and thickness. The person applying the wrap must feel confident and skilled in its feel, because seams, bindings, wrinkles and bunching can cause serious damage to a horse’s legs. If cotton sheeting is chosen for padding, it requires multiple sheets (6 to 10) stacked neatly for sufficient thickness. It will need to be folded lengthwise or widthwise to achieve an appropriate height. When applied correctly, any kind of padding helps distribute pressure and conforms to the horse’s legs.

Four royal blue standing wraps are shown against a white background. The standing wraps have blue Velcro on the ends.

Stable bandages are applied over the padding. Most commonly, stable bandages (sold in sets of four) are made of tightly knit synthetic fabric that offers little stretch and is designed to support. These bandages are generally about 12 feet long by 5½ inches wide for horses and about 6 feet long by 5 inches wide for ponies. Hook-and-loop closures keep them in place. The fun part about stable bandages is they come in all sorts of colors, and you can make yours unique easily with embroidered monogramming.

Two rolls of white standing wraps are shown against a white background. The wraps are made of fleece and have white Velro at the ends.

Traditionally, stable bandages are made of cotton flannel. This type is still favored by some people. Flannel bandages can be a good choice for use when a young horse or one unfamiliar with wearing wraps needs to become accustomed to their feel. Cotton flannel is more apt to tear and release the wrap rather than bind and tighten if a horse chews or pulls on it.

To prepare for a wound or injury, every horse owner should have the materials for standing wraps on hand. Even if the owner is not skilled at wrapping, a veterinarian may request the materials in an emergency. Standing wraps are usually applied in pairs (both front or both hind legs, if not all around) so the horse will not favor one leg and thereby stress the opposite leg.

Shipping Wraps

Shipping wraps are the tried-and-true method of protecting a horse’s legs during travel. Like standing wraps, shipping wraps are comprised of padding and stable bandages. They simply cover more of the horse’s lower legs, right down to the hooves so that the pasterns and coronary bands are protected. Commonly, shipping wraps are used with bell boots to further protect the horse’s hooves. Typically, shipping wraps require wider leg quilts than a horse needs for standing wraps. 

Shipping boots are the easiest, quickest way to cover a horse’s legs during transport. However, for long trips, many professionals prefer the security, support and stability provided by shipping wraps.

The four legs of a light brown horse are shown wearing navy blue plaid shipping boots. The boots extend from the horse's knees and hock joints and cover their hooves.

Cautionary Notes:

  • New to wrapping? Hands-on training from a knowledgeable instructor is a must for your horse’s safety. Wrapping of any kind must be done correctly to avoid common bandaging mistakes that can cause both temporary and irreparable damage.
  • Consult your horse’s veterinarian in the presence of any lower leg injury or unprecedented or chronic swelling/edema.
  • Fleece polo bandages are not safe substitutions for stable bandages and vice versa.
  • Standing wraps should be checked periodically for shifting and for swelling in surrounding areas of the leg. They should be removed after twelve hours maximum unless otherwise directed by a veterinarian.
  • Wraps should always be applied over clean, dry skin and hair.

Shop our wide selection of horse leg wraps here.

Are you a leg wrapping pro? Share your photos with us on Instagram and Facebook by tagging @doversaddlery!