How Uneven Feet Affect a Horse in Motion
It comes as no surprise that when a horse’s feet aren’t even, neither are the forces placed on those important structures. But exactly what effects do uneven hooves have on horses in motion?
A team of European researchers recently investigated whether unevenness influences loading patterns during movement and whether foot conformation or the difference between feet is more important in limb loading. Sarah Jane Hobbs, PhD, the research lead in equine biomechanics at the University of Central Lancashire in England, presented her team’s study results at the 2017 Annual International Hoof-Care Summit, held. Jan 24-27 in Cincinnati, Ohio. She worked alongside Willem Back, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ECVS, Cert. KNWvD, Spec. KNMvD, and his students from Utrecht University, in the Netherlands, and Sandra Nauwelaerts, PhD, from the University of Antwerp, in Belgium, on the project.
In previous studies, researchers found a connection between uneven feet and pain avoidance as well as postural and loading preferences when standing. In one study of elite performance horses, researchers revealed that horses with uneven feet typically retired earlier than those with even
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