Horse Hoof Sole Packing Reduced Impact Vibrations in Pilot Study
Some work on hard surfaces can help increase the loading rates of a horse’s internal structures, but too much or repetitive hard-surface work can lead to musculoskeletal damage. Ideally, horses should work on a variety of surfaces with minimal hard-surface exercise, most researchers agree. But sometimes, that’s not an option.
“Police horses spend a majority of their time on city streets and other hard roads, for example,” said Amy L. Barstow, MRCVS, PhD candidate, of the Royal Veterinary College in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, the U.K. “So do leisure horses sometimes, especially in periods of drought like the U.K. is having right now. Not all owners have access to soft arena surfaces. So, finding a practical solution to this problem was necessary.”
Barstow and colleagues recently investigated a pour-in polyurethane sole packing materials for that purpose. They found that it helps reduce certain forms of vibrations and forces in the hoof, at least in their introductory study. The theory is that when the polyurethane absorbs the shock from the hoof impacting the ground, it prevents it from traveling further up the musculoskeletal system where it could cause wear and tear injuries
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