Briefings

Does Trimming Impact A Horse’s Movement?

While researchers at Great Britain’s Royal Veterinary College found routine farrier care had little impact on the overall movement of horses, it did demonstrate a few asymmetrical differences with 30 Irish sport-type horses trimmed and shod at 2- or 3-week intervals. Each horse was evaluated while the old shoes were still on, after shoe removal, after trimming and after being reshod.

While routine farrier work had little influence on symmetrical movement with these horses, changes between the shoeing stages revealed significant differences before and after trimming. However, no differences were found between using old and new shoes in this 2- or 3-week shoeing cycle.

Collapsed Heels Impact Hoof-Loading Ability

Also referred to as underrun heels, collapsed heels often lead to serious hoof deformation issues, says Peter Day, a farrier with The Royal Veterinary College in London, England. He points out that galloping horses can withstand forces up to 2 1/2 times their bodyweight due to changes in the shape of the shock-absorbing hoof capsule. However, horses with underrun heels don’t cope as well in terms of hoof loading as horses with normal heels, which can lead to an increased injury risk with other musculoskeletal structures.

In a study with a dozen cadaver legs with collapsed heels or normal heel conformation, Day found vertical hoof deformation was much different. The feet with collapsed heels had less hoof deformation, which decreased the shock-absorbing impact and likely increased the load on the navicular bone, tendons and ligaments.

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