By Becky Shipps
Every time I read a comment online that says something to the effect of “polos are dangerous,” I feel my blood pressure rise slightly. I have to stop myself from replying “only in the hands of the incompetent” and opening a can of polo-shaped worms.
But today, I’m going there.
As horsemen (and women), I strongly believe there are certain skills we must master to competently care for our horses. It seems to me that there’s far fewer people learning the type of horse-care skills that one might learn in pony club. Skills like taking a horse’s vitals, giving a shot, pulling a shoe, or how to standing wrap a leg are bare necessities that every horse owner should know. There are additional skills that every rider has to master, like the proper use of certain tack and how it works on the horse.
“It seems to me that there’s far fewer people learning the type of horse-care skills that one might learn in pony club.”
Not everyone needs to use polos, but I do think wrapping a leg is a skill every horse owner and rider should master. I learned to polo and standing wrap when I was nine years old. My trainer taught me, supervised me until I was competent, and I’ve been doing it for the past 27 years. I have never bowed a tendon or had a leg injury from wrapping. I’m not some sort of wrapping genius – I just take my time and make sure my wraps are done properly. I have also never been afraid to redo any wrap that doesn’t look up to my standards.
Every single piece of tack and/or equipment we put on our horses has the potential to harm them if used or applied inappropriately. An inanimate object is only as dangerous as the hands holding it. An ill-fitting saddle pad can rub a horse’s back raw, a noseband too tight can hurt facial nerves, and a martingale that’s too loose can cause a very serious trip and fall. Polos and standing wraps have the potential to do harm just like any other piece of tack.
So to anyone that says polos or leg wraps are dangerous, my answer will always be “then go back to basics and learn to apply them properly”.