The Equine Bodywrap

TTEAM Body Wrap
I saw this photo on Facebook today and was intrigued by the training aid. While this one was used in a dressage lesson, the idea of the Figure-8 or body wrap is a technique suggested by Linda Tellington-Jones to encourage self carriage.

Here’s an intriguing tool that can be used to encourage your horse to step under himself and engage his hind end. The “bodywrap” can be made out of two polo wraps tied together. It focuses the horse’s attention at the base of his neck and his hindquarters and suggests to the horse to engage his abdominal muscles and lift his back.

Here’s how to tie the wrap along with a few tips from Desert Horse Equestrian Services.

Tying the wrap
Photographs of tying the wrap from Desert Horse Equestrian Services. Click on the image to go to the page.

If you’re going to try the TTEAM bodywrap on your horse, first be sure he is comfortable being touched all over his body, including under his tail and on his back legs. If not, you have some desensitization to do. When you put the first polo wrap on around the neck, be sure to use a knot that won’t slip and get tighter as the horse works. Experiment with different adjustments of this loop — you can tie it so it rides at the front of the withers, the base of the withers, or anywhere in between. Likewise, experiment with the tension of the second wrap (or pair of wraps if your horse is large or long-bodied). A snug fit just where the butt ties into the hind legs has a different effect than a looser loop that floats along at the top of the hocks. Just be careful that the horse can’t get a foot caught in the larger loop. In case I need a quick release, I use the hook-and-loop fasteners when possible and tie slipknots for the rest of my connections.

Here is a link to an article by Linda Tellington Jones on the BodyWrap. She writes:

It is very interesting to notice the subtle and dramatic changes that occur with the Body Wrap. For instance, a strung-out horse or one who is camped under suddenly takes on a more balanced stance, having “a leg at each corner.” Or a horse’s topline may change so that he looks “rounder.” Or you may see more movement and engagement in the hindquarters.

I think I may need to try this with Zelda.

Note: Before riding your horse, it is important to make sure he or she is comfortable with the placement of the wrap, so lunging first is a good idea. Also, be careful to tie the wrap so that it doesn’t fall down too low, which can lodge under your horse’s hocks or even get stepped on.

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