Researchers from Australia, Brazil and Canada measured hoof strain in a normal and a toed-in horse, then applied the data in a mathematical model to investigate the influence of this conformation on hoof loading and movement patterns.

Strain measurements were obtained from three locations on the hoof wall while hoof flight and loading patterns were also obtained from video recordings of the horses working at a trot.

On the hoof of the toed-in horse, measured minimum strains were much lower on the medial side of the hoof compared with the normal horse. Compared with the lateral landing and breakover at-the-toe patterns observed for the horse with normal conformation, the center of pressure for the toed-in horse showed a lateral landing and lateral breakover pattern of movement. In addition, the toed-in horse moved in a plaiting or rope walking manner with the right front hoof landing in front of the left front hoof at the trot.

When the data was entered into the finite element (mathematical) model, the results were similar, validating the parameters of the model and suggesting that this approach may be useful to further study the relationship between the material properties of hooves, loading and movement of the hoof and lower limb.

— Shahkhosravi NA et al. J of Biomech 2021;128:110715

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