Effects of Trimming on Shape and Dimensions of the Hoof Capsule as Well as on the Phalangeal Alignment

Focus should be on biomechanics, the horse and its environment

Farrier Takeaways

  • The influence of hoof trimming on the biomechanics of the equine distal limb cannot be seen isolated from horse management, including feeding, keeping and use.
  • A straight hoof pastern is an ideal and might be associated with even load distribution and efficient weight bearing. However, this ideal is difficult to realize in each horse by routine trimming.
  • The focus of trimming should be on biomechanical principles and whether these approaches fit the demands of the horse, its owner, its management and environmental conditions, which all affect the animal.

No other routine procedure carried out on horses has more impact on soundness and performance than hoof trimming and shoeing.1

The main goals of hoof trimming are to promote the soundness of the hooves and the limbs, to support the biomechanical efficiency, and maintain functionality of the equine foot.1,2 However, there is no agreement on how to achieve these goals. A wide range of trimming methods exists, and no other topic is so controversially and emotionally discussed as how to ideally trim the equine hoof.3–5 This might be related to the fact that very limited scientific studies directly focused on the effect of hoof trimming on the biomechanics of the equine distal limb exist.

Literature shows that some studies have examined the effect of trimming on kinematic, kinetic, and morphometric parameters.6–8 However, comparative studies, directly examining the influence of different trimming methods on static and dynamic mechanics of the equine toe, are missing. Moreover, no comprehensive…

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Jennifer hagen 5

Jenny Hagen

Jenny Hagen, DVM, PhD, CF, is a veterinarian, re­searcher and certified farrier. She is in private practice for equine ortho­pedics and chiropractic. She is a mem­ber of the faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Leipzig University in Ger­many.

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