A few years ago, French researchers developed a dynamometric horse shoe—essentially, a pressure-sensitive shoe they hoped would provide useful information about how footing affects our horses’ health. And there’s good news from those researchers: The shoe has done just that.

At the 2016 International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) conference, held June 23-26 in Saumur, France, the Sequisol research team was back to share what their dynamometric shoe, complete with high-speed kinematic filming, is revealing.

“We have demonstrated that training on a hard track does increase injury risk, as seen by correlations between injuries and the various forces and angles of the lower leg during movement across the surface,” said presenter Nathalie Crevier-Denoix, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVSMR, of the Equine Biomechanics and Musculoskeletal Pathology department of the Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire d’Alfort and the French National Institute of Agronomic Research.

While this might seem intuitive to many riders, the injury risk related to hard surfaces has not previously been shown in a prospective study, Crevier-Denoix said. And no research team has ever been able to show the biomechanical “how” and “why” of these injuries until now.

To collect their data, the team places the dynamometric shoe on selected fore or hind hooves of a ridden or driven horse. The shoe provides critical information about maximal forces and loading rates (in all three axes—longitudinal, transversal, and vertical) at each in