Monday, April 3, 2017

DIY Horse Body Armor

Remember Casey's bizarre injury from December? And then how she reopened it again in January? Well since then she has continued to maul her upper front legs doing who-knows-what. My best guess is that she is rolling too aggressively and so is smacking her front legs with her back legs. The other leading theory is that she is doing something weird when she is trying to eat the grass on the other side of her paddock fence.
Casey's leg injury

Although her continued mauling has yet to result in a another vet visit, it is terribly frustrating, because generally I don't like my horses to have open wounds. So I looked into horse wraps, shoulder guards, and everything that I thought might work to protect her legs, but nothing actually would cover that spot (because according to my internet research, she might be the only horse with this problem).

Since nothing I could buy would serve the purpose I needed, I decided to craft it myself. I bought a Sleazy shoulder guard, 2 yard long strips of fleece, and some velcro strips. I will outline the steps that I took to make the "horse armor" with some poorly drawn Paint pictures.
Sleazy shoulder guard layout

Step 1: Fold the fleece in half so that it would be double-lined. Hand-sew the top corner of the fleece to the Sleazy.
Step 1

Step 2: Get two foot-long strips of velcro and line them up parallel to each other (facing the same direction) on the fleece.
Step 2

Step 3: Hand-sew the velcro onto the fleece. I sewed each edge and then sewed loops across the middle of the velcro.
Step 3

Step 4: At the other end of the fleece (on the other side), place one more strip of velcro (the other side of the velcro) across the length of the fleece.
Step 4

Step 5: Hand sew the velcro on the fleece. Again, I sewed the edges and then sewed loops across the middle. The fleece could then wrap around and the velcro would make it stick.
Step 5
Step 6: Do the same thing to the other side of the Sleazy, so that you have two shoulder wraps (one of each side).
The final product
One shoulder wrap per side

This horse body armor so far appears to be working. Casey has had it on for about a week and no stitches have pulled, her wounds are able to heal without being constantly reopened, and she doesn't appear to be in discomfort wearing it. I was really worried about the potential durability of this "suit," but Casey is a pretty destructive horse and hasn't ripped through it yet.
Left side
Right side

This whole thing took about $45 and 3 hours to make. It wasn't a super easy project, because velcro sucks to hand sew (I stabbed myself with needles many times), but it didn't require any special tools and is doing its job. So if anybody out there has a horse with the same bizarre injuries, this could be something that works for you too!
She looks a bit like a toddler in a crop top in my opinion
No impaired neck movement here!
Posing in her new "armor"

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