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ou prob­a­bly no­ticed ath­letes at the 2016 Rio Olympics wear­ing tape on dif­fer­ent parts of their bod­ies when they com­peted for gold. But did you know that your horse can ben­e­fit from the same tape these ath­letes use? While hu­mans have been us­ing dif­fer­ent tap­ing meth­ods for sev­eral decades, it’s only now start­ing to be­come a pop­u­lar al­ter­na­tive ther­apy for your equine part­ner. There are sev­eral strate­gies that can be ap­plied to tap­ing your horse, and each has dif­fer- ent re­sults. You can tape your horse to help with mus­cle sore­ness and mus­cle re­lax­ation, and when ap­plied prop­erly it can even re­duce swelling in an in­jury. Al­ways con­sult your vet­eri- nar­ian fi rst when an in­jury is in­volved, and then dis­cuss with your prac­ti­tioner what tap­ing can achieve. While tap­ing is con­sid­ered a safe al­ter­na­tive ther­apy, and you can pur­chase tape on your own, hire a cer­ti­fied prac­ti­tioner to ap­ply it to your horse to en­sure that he’s taped prop­erly for the best re­sults. If you’re plan­ning on tak­ing your horse to a show, take time to learn and un­der­stand the rules re­gard­ing tap­ing your horse if he’s com­pet­ing—or even rid­ing around—at an event. For ex­am­ple, at FEI events your horse can’t com­pete or wear tape while rid­ing. How­ever, you can tape your horse when he’s un­sad­dled and in the sta­ble area. To learn more about ki­ne­si­ol­ogy tape, we asked ex­perts from three tape man­u­fac­tur­ers to ex­plain what it is, and to share their ad­vice on how to be suc­cess­ful when us­ing it.

chi­ro­prac­tor and founder/de­vel­oper of Equi-Tape ( equi-tape.com).

Tap­ing phi­los­o­phy: Tap­ing doesn’t en­hance your horse’s abil­i­ties; it al­lows your horse to be more com­fort­able at the level of rid­ing he’s de­signed to per­form, and it’ll help im­prove his phys­i­cal stamina. “Tap­ing lifts the skin and helps feed the area in­creas­ing cir­cu­la­tion and im­prov­ing oxy­gen flow, while help­ing re­move edema and lymph,” Ruder ex­plains.

“Tap­ing works, de­pend­ing on how you ap­ply it,” Gor­don shares. “If you want to de­crease swelling, you’ll ap­ply it dif­fer­ently than if you want to sup­port a joint or mus­cle. The tape also al­lows full range of mo­tion be­cause of its stretch,” she says.

How it works: “It’s all about ap­pli­ca­tion; coat length doesn’t re­ally mat­ter. Be­fore you ap­ply any tape, clean the area and make sure the hair lies flat,” Ruder shares. “De­pend­ing on what part of your horse you’re tap­ing, you can leave tape on for sev­eral days, but length of time doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean bet­ter re­sults,” he says. “The tape won’t have the same amount of re­coil in a day or two that it did when you first ap­plied it, so it isn’t as ef­fec­tive as times goes on.”

What to avoid: “The tape won’t ad­here well when there’s dust, de­bris, and oil on the hair,” he shares. “Make sure you clean the area you’re ap­ply­ing tape to, and use a dish soap to clean oily spots and break up the grease be­fore you tape any­thing.” Pay care­ful at­ten­tion to keep­ing the taped area clean. “If de­bris or for­eign mat­ter gets un­der the tape, it can be ir­ri­tat­ing and can pos­si­bly cause sores.” To avoid this, Ruder rec­om­mends ap­ply­ing a polo wrap or sup­port wrap over the tape to pro­tect the ap­pli­ca­tion when pos­si­ble.

“Don’t tape over open wounds, be­cause you don’t want the ad­he­sive on bro­ken skin, po­ten­tially caus­ing ir­ri­ta­tion to your horse,” Gor­don adds. “How­ever, you can put gauze over the wound be­fore you tape it. Avoid tap­ing over an ac­tive in­fec­tion, like cel­luli­tis, be­cause you don’t want to in­crease

TOP: Al­ways have a cer­ti­fied prac­ti­tioner ap­ply tape to your horse to en­sure that he’s

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