FIGURE 1. The main events in the stance phase: landing, midstance and breakover.
The search for answers to these questions has launched a series of studies on conventional trimming and shoeing by the faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Utrecht University in The Netherlands.
While times have changed throughout the centuries, farriery has basically remained an empirical craft based mainly on personal observations and individual interpretations rather than becoming an evidence-based science
In a time when Nike and Adidas fill the human market with specific shoes for each sport, most horses still perform on shoes that are essentially the same as those that were invented by members of early-day religious orders more than 2,000 years ago.
With today’s equine athlete, we’re balancing on a thin line between maximum performance, overload, loading of limbs and the loading capacity of the limb. With training, footing and feeding we increase the loading capacity of horses while the load on the limb is directly influenced with trimming and shoeing.
Although it seems obvious, it has proven difficult to measure what the farrier does to a horse, mainly because of the speed with which events occur and the subtlety of the changes that are induced. To measure the effects of normal trimming and shoeing, extremely sensitive measurement equipment is required.
For this reason, most intervention studies have relied on severe exaggerations in the form of extreme changes in trimming or the application of wedges. Therefore, the little available scientific knowledge is more about the effects of…