During locomotion, the equine hoof’s job is quite complex. It creates contact with the ground while absorbing concussion and funnels weight bearing and traction between the horse’s body and the ground.

Dr. Jeff Thomason, a professor of biomechanics at Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph, delivered a lecture on the biomechanics of the equine stance Thursday at the Northeast Association of Equine Practitioners Symposium in Norfolk, Va.

“Part of my mission is to start getting farriers to think about things in a different way,” Thomason says. “Farriery starts with good observation and you interpret what you see. To achieve this in an accurate manner, you integrate your level of training, experience, skill, ability and communication with owners, veterinarians and current science.”

Thomason, who also spoke to attendees at the 2014 International Hoof-Care Summit in Cincinnati, discussed the critical biomechanical stages of the horse’s stance, demonstrated their potential for injury and identified the kinds of challenges each presents to the farrier while tending to the equine foot.