Bruce Lyle

Step On It!

High-tech pressure mat system gives this Texas veterinarian new information for evaluating and tailoring shoeing


Bruce Lyle, a veterinarian, marks an X-ray as a client looks on at Aubrey Equine Clinic in Aubrey, Texas. Lyle doesn’t rely on radiographs alone for footcare imagery. Since 2006, he has been using a Matscan pressure management system.

Shoeing horses can be very challenging sometimes, especially with one of those horses that doesn’t go completely sound no matter what you try. You might find yourself studying all aspects of that horse’s mannerisms, his feet, your shoes and anything else to find that clue that will tell you what he really needs. Opinions and options on what to do will often be as varied as ice cream flavors at your local supermarket.

Technology can provide some of the clues and objective data you seek, says veterinarian Bruce Lyle, who focuses much of his practice on footcare at Aubrey Equine Clinic in Aubrey, Texas. He’s been using a 28-by-60-inch Matscan pressure measurement system to analyze footfalls in his clinic since late 2006, and finds it useful for a wide range of cases.

How Does It Work?

The basic idea is simple: You walk a horse over the mat, which contains many sensors that generate a map of pressures over time to show you where the horse is loading his feet the heaviest (seen on your computer, which is connected to the mat with a standard USB connection). The program also creates a center-of-force icon that follows the sum of forces from first contact through stance and lift-off.

The resulting imagery shows…

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Christy West

Christy West is a freelance writer and the Web site editor for The Horse. She is also a former editor of American Farriers Journal.

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