Researchers Study Horseshoes and Traction on Concrete

Researchers in Louisiana examined the effects of five different types of horseshoes with different amounts of traction (plain, low and high surface area calks, thin tungsten carbide wash and steel-insert plastic composite) compared with being barefoot on the distribution of forces at the ground surface when a horse was trotting across a concrete force plate.

Five saddle horses (four Quarter Horses, one Tennessee Walking Horse) were used with each type of shoeing randomly applied to each horse on successive days. The same shoes were applied to all four feet. Approximately 24 hours after the force plate testing was done, different shoes were applied, followed by another 24-hour waiting period.

The distribution of weight did not change between treatments. The steel-plastic composite shoes produced the greatest increase in peak vertical force in the forelimbs, which was higher than the barefoot condition, as well as the other four types of shoes. These same steel-plastic composite shoes, followed by tungsten-carbide coated shoes and low profile-high surface area calks produced the greatest increase in peak braking force in the hind limbs.

For the forelimbs, the coefficient of friction was lowest for the barefoot treatment and did not differ significantly for the five types of shoes. The steel insert-plastic composite shoes also had the highest coefficient of friction on the hind limbs. The mean braking time was longest for the plain shoes and barefoot treatments, and the mean propulsion time did not differ significantly for any of the six treatments.

Although it was not specifically…

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Albert Kane

Albert J. Kane, DVM, MPVM, Ph.D.

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