Shear Forces Vary with Arena Surfaces, Study Finds

Shear forces between the hoof and the ground surface affect hoof kinetics and kinematics, as well as the development of injury to the lower limb. Researchers at the University of California, Davis and the University of Kentucky measured shear ground reaction forces on 12 show jumping arena surfaces and examined the impact of surface material type, as well as management and environmental conditions on those forces.

Surprisingly, dirt and synthetic surfaces had similar shear properties. However, higher fiber content was correlated with decreased soil adhesion and increased coefficients of friction. Maximum shear force was greater on surfaces with thicker cushion layers and higher moisture content.

Fortunately, these results suggest arena managers can modify arena footing conditions without installing different surfaces by adjusting surface fiber content, moisture levels or both.

— Rohlf CM et al. The Vet J 2022.105930

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Albert Kane

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

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