If you’re anything like me, your horse is getting pampered above and beyond what you’d do for yourself. She gets a pedicure every month and a half while your nails collect barn dust and grime; your breeches have hand-sewn patches and repairs but she has new saddle pads and ear bonnets. She gets massaged and linimented and chiropracted while you hobble around the barn, half-crippled.
My own mare even has compression socks.
Yes, you read that correctly — compression socks for horses.
In the fall, The Mare was kicked pretty badly (twice in the same relative area … didn’t learn her lesson the first time apparently…). Luckily, she escaped any major injury other than a cellulitis that resulted in a lot of persistent, general soft tissue swelling in her hind leg. We spent several months on stall rest with an exhausting schedule of wraps (plus or minus a variety of poultices, sweats and other topical medications). Initially, she was wrapped from the stifle down; we graduated to mid-gaskin down, and as the swelling (very slowly) resolved, down to a normal standing wrap.
As a precaution/because I am a worrier, I kept her good leg wrapped with a normal standing wrap for support in case she started favoring the swollen leg in any fashion.
This whole process meant that I was going through a ton of expensive wrapping material at the get-go (elasticon, good cotton rolls and other wrapping supplies adds up fast!). Once we were down to just the standing wrap, it meant I was changing wraps every day — and with an active horse on stall rest, keeping the standing wraps on her as snugly as I’d like, as well as keeping them clean, became a struggle. Over three months of near-daily use, our wraps were starting to look a bit rough.
Enter the Equiflexsleeves!
I had seen these when I started looking to potentially just buy another set of standing wraps so I’d have more wraps to rotate through, and figured they would be worth a shot. They are meant to be able to replace standing wraps, while allowing more uniform compression, and allow better dissipation of heat.
Upon receiving them, they look pretty unassuming, but I’m willing to try just about anything once.
The Equiflexsleeves have a variety of sizes for front and hind legs (and they now also have pony sizes, and are working on draft sizes), so they have a size chart to measure several locations on your horse’s legs. I found the size chart to be very true to size.
They also come in a variety of colors, but I chose black for The Mare.
The sleeves come with a plastic bag to aid in putting the socks on (it’s nothing special, any plastic gallon bag would work, if needed). You put the bag on their foot, slide the sock on over top, and then adjust the sock down the leg so the hair lays flat, and the horses in the logo face upward, and so there are no wrinkles in the material.
The socks definitely fit snugly, but I wasn’t sure how well they would stay up.
The majority of the swelling in The Mare’s leg ended up localizing to just below her hock, and because of how the Equiflexsleeves fit, they are able to cover that spot of swelling, all the way down to below her fetlock.
While that spot of swelling was still fluctuating and resolving, I definitely noticed a positive difference/more definition in her leg when she had the socks on, as opposed to when she didn’t, or even as opposed to traditional standing wraps.
The Mare was agreeable to putting the socks on and off (although a less tolerant horse may be more difficult to apply these to), and I have never had issues with the socks sliding down, wrinkling, twisting or falling off. They wash very easily and come out of the washing machine looking brand new.
According to their website, you can apply liniments underneath the sleeves, as well as medications to cuts/scrapes (although they recommend covering the spot with gauze and then applying the sleeve). The Equiflexsleeve is not recommended for use during exercise or turnout, for applying poultice underneath, putting on over a fungal infection, or for trailering.
Although I tried these sleeves with a healthy skepticism, I definitely am a fan of the product and have seen the benefit of even compression for stocking up, cellulitis and generalized edema.
If you would like to learn more about the Equiflexsleeves, you can check out their website here: https://www.equiflexsleeve.com/