Hoof Growth and Compression: Shoeing Considerations

Research has provided farriers with a better understanding of how weight-bearing and loading affect hoof wall growth.

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Hoof Growth and Compression: Shoeing Considerations
Breed is one factor that affects hoof shape. It's easy for farriers to see the differences in hoof shape between a Thoroughbred, Shire, and an Arabian. | Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse

Recent research by Simon Curtis, PhD, BSc(Hons), FWCF, a farrier based in Newmarket, England, has revealed how weight-bearing and loading affect hoof wall growth, compression, and overall hoof shape.

During a presentations at the 2017 International Hoof Care Summit,  held Jan. 24-27  in Cincinnati, Ohio, Curtis shared how farriers might apply his research findings and provided practical applications for trimming and shoeing adult horses. He encouraged the audience of farriers to help develop focused trimming and shoeing techniques based on his research outcomes.

Hoof Shape Change Overview

Curtis’ previous findings indicated that loading in foal feet varied among different parts of the hoof, whether medially, laterally, dorsally, or caudally. Wherever weight-bearing and loading was greatest, hoof growth was reduced and while more compression occurred

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Written by:

Sarah Evers Conrad has a bachelor’s of arts in journalism and equine science from Western Kentucky University. As a lifelong horse lover and equestrian, Conrad started her career at The Horse: Your Guide to Equine Health Care magazine. She has also worked for the United States Equestrian Federation as the managing editor of Equestrian magazine and director of e-communications and served as content manager/travel writer for a Caribbean travel agency. When she isn’t freelancing, Conrad spends her free time enjoying her family, reading, practicing photography, traveling, crocheting, and being around animals in her Lexington, Kentucky, home.

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