Researchers Study the Effects of Trimming on the Impact Phase of the Hoof

Researchers at the veterinary college of California’s Western University of Health Sciences used a force plate to investigate the effects of hoof trimming on the impact phase of front and hind hooves at the walk.

Using nine clinically sound Arabian horses, the authors compared the force, contact area, contact pressure and peak contact pressure before and after routine hoof trimming.

Few significant differences were found except for a 35% increase in contact area after trimming of the right front hooves, as well as a 21% increase in force and a 18% increase in contact area of the left hind hooves. Qualitatively they noted that while some toe first landings were observed, typically hooves either landed first on the lateral side of the hoof or flat. Trimming tended to increase the percentage of flat landing except for the right hind where lateral hoof landings increased to about 70% following trimming.

The authors discussed that the left-right differences observed may be due to the handedness of the farriers or the horses as a reflection of the horses’ functional contralateral conformational or movement asymmetries. The authors noted the uniqueness of this study examining kinetics during the landing phase as opposed to more commonly studied midstance phase of the stride, and suggest further study is warranted to better understand the effects of trimming on hoof kinetics.

— Faramarzi B et al. JEVS 2022:103935

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Albert Kane

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

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