Shoeing sound Warmblood horses with a rolled toe optimises hoof-unrollment and lowers peak loading during breakover

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Abstract

Reasons for performing study:

Overload injuries in sport horses commonly occur; shoeing techniques are believed to be important in prevention of these injuries, but there is a paucity of scientific information identifying the potential connection.

Objectives:

To test a horseshoe with a modified rolled toe designed to ease the process of breakover and decrease loading of lesion-prone structures of the distal limb.

Methods:

Twenty clinically sound Warmblood horses trotted over a track containing a pressure/force measuring system and 6 infrared cameras. The horses were measured with 2 types of shoes, standard flat shoes and shoes with a rolled toe. The shoeing procedure was randomised and horses had 2 days between measurements to adapt to the shoes.

Results:

Limb placement and timing characteristics, e.g. breakover duration, did not change significantly. There was an improvement in the ease of movement to roll over the toe in the shoes with a rolled toe, due mainly to a smoother hoofunrollment pattern. The peak indicative moment decreased substantially at the onset of breakover in the shoe with the rolled toe.

Conclusions:

With a rolled toe the process of hoof-unrollment is smoother, which improves the coordination of this process, and lowers peak loading of the distal limb during breakover.

Potential relevance:

This study stresses the importance of proper shoeing in sound horses, showing that shoe modifications can optimise the loading characteristics of the distal limb and therefore might be a means to prevent sport horses from overload injuries.

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