Look, Ma–No Shoes!

Study examines changes in toe angle and proximal hoof circumference without shoes.
Share
Favorite
Close

No account yet? Register

ADVERTISEMENT

Just in time for winter–a time when many owners opt to pull their horses’ shoes for the season–a team of researchers has released results from a study examining the effects of normal gaits on hoof wear in barefoot horses.

Six horses of varying ages and weights were exercised at a walk, trot, canter, and gallop on a treadmill for three exercise sessions a week for four weeks. Scientists measured the strain on the hoof walls using strain gauges and evaluated proximal hoof circumference and toe angle at various points in the exercise period.

Study author Maria Célia Ramos Bellenzani, PhD, a large animal surgery instructor at the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, in Minas Gerais, Brazil, and colleagues, found that in most cases, the horses’ front hooves landed with the outside edges on the ground first, and shift the weight toward the toe and inside of the foot. They noted that the hoof deformation pattern did not change between horses, conformation types, or gait. The amount of strain in the medial and lateral quarters increased with speed, which could indicate a redistribution of weight at quicker gaits from the toe to the quarters, they said.

Bellenzani noted that both changes in climate and exercise type can have an effect on the amount and degree of hoof and toe angle changes. She added that the amount of strain measured in the study are within physiological limits and not related to potential injuries to the normal hoof wall

Create a free account with TheHorse.com to view this content.

TheHorse.com is home to thousands of free articles about horse health care. In order to access some of our exclusive free content, you must be signed into TheHorse.com.

Start your free account today!

Already have an account?
and continue reading.

Share

Written by:

Natalie Voss is a freelance writer and editor based in Kentucky. She received her bachelor’s degree in equine science from the University of Kentucky and has worked in public relations for equine businesses and organizations. She spends her spare time riding her Draft cross, Jitterbug.

Related Articles

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with

FREE weekly newsletters from TheHorse.com

Sponsored Content

Weekly Poll

sponsored by:

Has your veterinarian used SAA testing for your horse(s)?
101 votes · 101 answers

Readers’ Most Popular

Sign In

Don’t have an account? Register for a FREE account here.

Need to update your account?

You need to be logged in to fill out this form

Create a free account with TheHorse.com!