Farriers got an eyeful of what the future might hold for them at the highest levels of equestrian sport at the American Farrier’s Association (AFA) Convention, held in March 2004 in Rochester, New York. This future is specialized video monitoring of horses at work to help make adjustments to their shoes for better performance.

Courtesy Haydn Price, DipWCF

The new Equinalysis system, which uses markers to quantify the movement of particular anatomical structures, can be used to help make adjustments to athletic horses’ shoes and improve their performance.

Haydn Price, DipWCF, of Wales shared videos from the new Equinalysis system, developed with sports medicine funds from the British Lottery and the United Kingdom’s World Class Performance program for international athlete development. He showed how he could improve dressage horses’ movement with minor shoeing modifications.

Working with the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) to monitor horses which might represent Great Britain at the 2004 Olympic Games, Price and BEF team veterinarian John McEwen, BVMS, had brainstormed with biomechanics expert Mark Johnson, BSc, MPhil, to develop a system to use in the field. Additional testing was conducted at the University of Bristol’s equine sports medicine laboratory.

The system helps overcome subjectivity when veterinarians and farriers assess horses at work, and could be used for purchase exams. Individual horses’ stride length, breakover distance, and carpal (knee)/tarsal (hock)/fetlock flexion can be measured, archived, and comp