Researchers at Utrecht University in The Netherlands studied changes in the load distribution pattern of the hoof over the course of an 8 week shoeing cycle.
The center of pressure (CoP) was measured at the trot for 18 clinically normal warmblood horses using a force plate. These measurements were obtained 2 days after shoeing and again 8 weeks later. Changes in the location of the CoP that occurred during the shoeing cycle were examined and compared to predictions based on observed changes in hoof shape to evaluate the horses’ ability to compensate.
When freshly shod, the CoP was located in the mediodorsal and laterodorsal quadrants of the ground surface for front and hind feet, respectively. After 8 weeks there was a tendency for the CoP to shift toward the palmar/plantar half of the foot. In the front feet there was little mediolateral change, however, in hind feet a stronger tendency toward the laterodorsal quadrant was observed. Also, observed values were closer to predicted values in the front feet compared with hind feet, indicating a greater capacity to compensate for changes in hoof shape (ie. remain closer to starting values) in hind feet.
The authors attribute at least part of this to a substantial lateral shift in the unloading pattern of the hind feet during the 8 week period and…