#MasterclassMonday is a collaboration between Horse Network and NOELLEFLOYD.com to empower equestrians. Every Monday we’ll bring you a new lesson from a leading trainer or professional to help you troubleshoot your training, master your mindset and up your game. This month’s instructor: Olympic groom Max Corcoran.

Polo wraps. Do you love ‘em, or hate ‘em?

Knowing the benefits and disadvantages of a polo versus a boot, and how to wrap a proper polo, will always come in handy.

The good thing about polo wraps is how versatile they are. You’ll see these wraps used in just about every discipline, not to mention in every color, pattern, and texture you can imagine. Because you are physically wrapping the polo to the shape of the horse’s leg, you’re able to mold the protection of the tendons and ligaments more accurately than with a boot. 

However, since polos are made of a soft material and are secured with velcro, they do not offer the protection that a boot will. Another reason you might opt out of using polo wraps is due to poor weather conditions. Because of their material, if polo wraps get wet, you run the risk of them sliding down or causing irritation since they are not meant to wick away moisture. This also means that you should not use polos for something like cross-country. 

Despite their inability to serve as an all weather option, polos are great for everyday schooling and are most popular in dressage. While you’re down on the ground applying polo wraps to your horse, it’s a great time to check your horse’s legs for any swelling, bruises or cuts. The last thing you would want to do is accidentally wrap over something that can cause more damage in the long run. 

When wrapping your polos, make sure you are wrapping against the cannon bone, never against the tendon. You also want to make sure you’re not tugging, but instead trying to be evenly snug around the whole leg. Equate it to us wearing a sock—you want it to fit just right, be able to stick a finger in a few places, and not too tight. This can cause uneven pressure or pinching. 

This is an excerpt from Max’s Equestrian Masterclass, Leg Protection, 101. To access the course, as well as a full library of courses from the likes of Ian Millar, Anne Kursinski and more, go to equestrianmasterclass.com

Starting from just under the knee, focus on wrapping snuggly around the leg with no wrinkles, around the fetlock, and then coming back up, securing the velcro just below the knee (where you started). It can be a tendency to pull tightly at the end to secure the wrap, but there is no need for that. Secure the last leg of the wrap just as snug as the rest so as to not cut off the horse’s circulation. 

Another way to up your polo game is by adding a polo wrap liner, which feels like a quilt or towel material and looks similar to a standing wrap, but much thinner.

These wraps are used under a polo wrap for added support and still offer as much flexibility as a polo wrap alone can. These are especially common if a horse has a splint or you can wrap them lower if the horse needs added support around the pastern. 

Polo wraps are often underrated in their unique ability to support the leg while maintaining its freedom and flexibility. They require a lot of practice and trial and error for what works personally for you and your horse. Try new things, practice, and don’t be afraid to ask for help!

Want to learn more? Check out Olympic groom Max Corcoran’s Equestrian Masterclasses: Horse Care for All Seasons, and Leg Protection 101.