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Scientists in the Netherlands have observed that fully fitted-toe clips in the hind feet that were so popular a few years ago have given way in their area of Western Europe to set-back, side-clipped shoes. Bernadette Spaak, an equine veterinarian at the Ambulatory Clinic for Animals in Utrecht, says weight distribution across the foot and differences in hind leg movement often lead to differing foot pressures.
She shod 10 sound warmbloods in standard toe-clipped shoes and then in standard side-clipped shoes or a modified prototype shoe with side clips and a mildly rolled toe. The shoes were changed every 2 days and data was collected on the foot’s force distribution at the trot with hoof angles by jogging the horses on a pressure-force plate on a concrete track. Results did not show any difference in breakover or stance time. With slide-clipped shoes, the pressure point position at toe-off tended to shift back. Adding a rolled toe on the modified shoe encouraged the toe’s movement through the stride and allowed the limbs to move more freely.
While it’s easy to think it’s unimportant, Gwen Nardi maintains farriers need to take full advantage of everything they can do to avoid accidents and injuries. “In my practice, I always wear ear protection and safety goggles,” says the 2009 Rising Shoeing Star winner from The Plains, Va. “I also keep a fire extinguisher mounted in my trailer and a first aid kit in…