Dr. Rebecca A. McKee, bodyworker and Rock Tape ( rocktape.com) clinician and educator.
Taping philosophy: “The stickiness and stretchiness of the tape allows the hair to be lifted off the fascia, which wraps the muscles and connective tissues in your horse’s body and helps bring more circulation to that area,” McKee says. She advises that the stretch in the tape is for your horse’s range of motion; not for wrapping tightly against the skin. “With your horse, less stretch is more. That’s because your horse has an extra muscle layer known as the panniculus, which allows him to feel things—like flies— and move his skin to get rid of them. It also means he’s more sensitive to touch.”
How it works: “Th is equine tape is similar to the tape swimmers use, so it’ll stay on when you bathe and ride your horse; it’ll even stay on if your horse needs to use a water treadmill,” she says. “Once you apply the tape to your horse, you’ll want to activate the adhesive by rubbing the tape with your hand.” Typically, you can leave the tape on your horse for up to five days, as long as it’s not beginning to peel. “After you remove the tape, I recommend leaving it off for a couple of days so you can evaluate how he’s moving,” McKee shares.
circulation and possibly have the infection spread.”
Practitioner advice: “Look for a professional equine practitioner who’s been trained and certified to tape your horse,” Ruder explains. “We train practitioners such as equine veterinarians, chiropractors, massage therapists, and acupuncturists who are looking to expand their toolbox of offerings to customers.”
EXPERT Insight #3
Linda Delker, project manager for Kinesiotaping ( kinesiotaping.com).
Taping philosophy: “Taping works naturally with the body,” Delker says. “By putting tape on your horse’s hair, you’re actually simulating the hair follicle—which originates in the second layer of skin—lift ing it up, and bringing blood flow to areas to help with pain or stress. It’s an alternative if you want to support your horse naturally. Taping gives him support and pain relief. It’s also a great way to bond with and care for your horse.”
How it works: While tape made for humans can work on your horse, the equine tape is designed to work directly with the horse’s hair. “The equine version of this tape is stickier than tape designed for humans,” Delker says. “You can leave the tape on for days; you can even bathe your horse with it on.” However, Delker recommends that if you encounter tape that doesn’t remove easily, it’s best to let the skin and hair rest before you re-tape the area to avoid any irritation. What to avoid: “Don’t use any type of oils, liniments, or fly spray before you apply tape, because it won’t stick properly,” she says. Also, don’t wrap the tape all the way around the leg. “There should always be a gap between the two ends of tape to avoid cutting off your horse’s circulation.”