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

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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.


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.


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.


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.


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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